A flight attendant shares the reasons you can get bumped from a flight and the best ways to avoid it

We asked flight attendant Celessa Dietzel the reasons someone would be bumped from a flight and the best way to avoid it from happening. Following is a transcript of the video.

There’s a lot of reasons people can be bumped from flights.

Of course, the one we’re all hearing about in the news right now is when flights are oversold. There’s also involuntary bumping or denied boarding for reasons that are not anything to do with overselling the flight.

And those reasons could be operational. Sometimes we have an aircraft that has 200 seats. At the last minute, they find out there might be a mechanical issue so they switch out that aircraft for smaller aircraft. Maybe it has 180 seats. And unfortunately just to keep the operation going it would take too long to bring in another plane. They’re going to have to bump 20 people.

Safety reasons, security reasons, or health or comfort reasons. As people are boarding we’re on the lookout for possible reasons why a passenger should not be on that flight. If we do see something that seems like it shouldn’t be on the aircraft for everyone’s safety and security we would call the captain and we would call security personnel.

Airline crews that need to be repositioned, we call it dead heading, and that often happens very last minute. It’s very rare but unfortunately if that happens the crew members will be, I guess allowed priority boarding and once in a while passengers are bumped for that reason.

So, a couple things I always tell people whenever they’re afraid they might get bumped is I ask them, “OK, well how did you find your ticket?” Search engines like Expedia and are great for finding good deals but when it comes to buying the ticket I really recommend going to the airline’s website. If you can go to the airline’s website and communicate directly with that company to purchase your ticket that’s the best idea.

Some of the general areas that they look for are the lowest fare tickets, those who checked in last, non-refundable tickets, tickets that are bought through a third-party website.

Check in 24 hours ahead of time. Right at 24 hours, as soon as you can. Folks who have not checked in and have no seat assignments may be some of the first to be bumped. If you’re not at the gates often within 10 minutes of departure time that’s when they start giving away seats to whoever’s on the standby list, maybe folks who’ve been bumped from the previous flight. And this is just general, it’s not specific to every single airline.

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