Getting bumped off a flight sucks, despite the increased compensation you’re entitled to. And while you can’t predict when it will happen, you can take some precautions to avoid it happening to you.
Here are 11 ways to avoid getting bumped off a flight.
1. Check in early
Some airlines bump those who paid the least for their tickets, but many simply go with those who checked in last, or showed up to the gate last. Don’t let that be you.
2. Board when your row is called
Don’t wait around or get in line for an Auntie Anne pretzel. If you’re not there when your row is being called, they might think you’re a no-show and give away your seat.
3. Be a member of the airline’s frequent flyer programs
If it was a hierarchy, those who paid the least for their tickets would be at the bottom, effectively being the airline’s lowest priority. Those who paid the most and those who have some sort of elite status are much less likely to get bumped, as airlines are reluctant to bump their loyal customers/cash cows.
4. Avoid peak travel times
Obviously, the busier the season — think national holiday — the more likely it is that a flight will be overbooked.
5. Also avoid peak travel days
The least busy days to fly, and thus your best bet for not getting bumped, are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you fly on a Friday or Sunday — the busiest days — there’s a much higher chance of your flight being full.
6. Don’t take the last flight out
Even if your flight isn’t overbooked, earlier overbooked flights can cause a backlog that ends up making your flight to be too full. Plus, fewer people will volunteer their seats when it’s the last flight of the day, as they’d have to spend an extra night where they are.
7. Get a seat assignment when you book
Passengers without one are easier to bump than those with assigned seats, though this is by no means a guarantee. If the airline won’t assign you a seat as you’re booking, take it as a warning sign that the flight will probably be overbooked, and that your chances of getting bumped are high.
8. Fly JetBlue
9. Avoid airlines that are notorious for overbooking
You can check The Department of Transportation’s latest Air Travel Consumer Report here to see which airlines bump people on the regular.
10. Avoid connections if you can
This is a no brainer: the more layovers and connections you have, the higher your chances of getting bumped on one of them.
11. Pay for first or business class — if you can afford it
First and Business Class passengers rarely get bumped, and, like we mentioned, those paying the lowest fares are also often the first to get axed.
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