Family Makes $11,000 Getting Bumped From Flights This Weekend

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Great story on Forbes this morning (h/t: Amanda) about a family who found themselves at the right airport with the right (flexible) travel plans. When does getting bumped from your flights three days in a row make for the best travel weekend ever?

When you can make $11,000 in gift cards and have your original tickets refunded. Laura Begley Broom and her family were flying Delta from New York to Florida for a long weekend and found themselves in the aftermath of the airline’s mid-week flight cancellations.

After hours of delays, Delta Airlines started offering money for volunteers to give up their tickets on our overbooked flight, which had 60 (sixty!) standby passengers hoping to get a seat. I didn’t flinch. My husband and daughter and I were headed to Fort Lauderdale to see our relatives, and — as far as I was concerned — nothing would hold us back.

When the compensation for volunteers got to $900 a ticket in gift cards (American Express, Target, Macy’s and so on), my husband convinced me to consider the offer. I thought it was too low, but I said I was open to the idea. My husband approached the gate agent and offered to give up our seats for $1,500 apiece. She countered: $1,350 each.

They gave up seats on their Friday flight, then again on their Saturday flight, and finally offered to cancel the trip entirely on Sunday for a full refund. Cha-ching indeed!

The article is a great read and offers 10 spot-on tips for increasing your chances of getting bumped. I wish my own luck were better — it seems like flights are only oversold on the trips where I don’t have flexible travel plans.

And remember, if you ever wind up with flights so delayed that the trip has become pointless — a wedding, a funeral, a weekend trip where you’re now scheduled to arrive on Sunday night and have to come back on Monday, etc — you can still invoke Trip in Vain to get a refund. Not quite as awesome as having the airline pay you to cancel, but at least you get your money back and/or a chance to rebook for better dates.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world.


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