If you haven’t been in an airport lately you have missed the experience of waiting for your flight and hearing the announcement that they have overbooked the flight and they are looking for volunteers to give up their seat.
Now, like most of us you may be wondering how an airline can overbook a flight that has a set amount of seats on it. Unfortunately, it is perfectly legal for airlines to sell more seats than they have. According to an article published in Condê Nast Traveler, by Barbara Peterson, nearly 600,000 passengers with confirmed reservations were left at the gate through no fault of their own in 2012. Most gave up their seats willingly in exchange for case or travel vouchers, but approximately 59,000 passengers were involuntarily bumped. This was a 40 percent increase from 2011.
Read her article on the Condê Nast Travel website by going to: http://www.cntraveler.com/daily-traveler/2013/06/travel-vouchers-bumped-from-flight-062513. It details your rights as a passenger when it comes to being bumped, either voluntarily or non-voluntarily and gives you some points to think about as you book your air travel this year.
Bottom line is know your rights as a traveler. Most airlines may “fail to mention” what you are entitled to as they bump you and try to offer you a voucher for your tickets.
You can learn your rights as an air traveler by visiting the Consumer Guide to Air Travel at http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website.