Of course you’ve heard by now about the overbooking scandal that took place on a United Airlines flight to Louisville in Kentucky, from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Several days ago, a 69-year-old Vietnamese-American doctor David Dao was asked to leave the plane without any question. He was aggressively removed from his seat, moreover dragged and screaming by Chicago Aviation Security officials as passengers shockingly looked on in horror.
This was released on the internet and watched millions of times, yet, what was really surprising was how United Airlines reacted to the situation. Instead of apologizing to the passengers for the inconvenience, the company was very protective towards their employees and their attitude.
The CEO praised his workers for following protocol and in a summary of the events, cited United Airlines’ “involuntary denial of boarding process”. His explanation was that the plane was flying later to Louisville so the aircraft became overbooked because four UA employees needed to board, and that led to David Dao’s distressing eviction from United Airlines flight 3411.
Meanwhile, a travel editor named Laura Begley Bloom was flying from New York City to Florida. She was kicked off her flight on Friday morning. But later on, Laura revealed that her young family traveled to Florida the next day, in first class which cost $11,000.
Laura Begley Bloom as a travel editor is spending a great deal of time in the air. She has been “loyal Delta customer for years”.
Due to a thunderstorm in Atlanta, Delta Airlines was forced to cancel 4,000 flights over five days causing delays for many travelers. The airline would profit around $125 million as a result, and Delta CEO Ed Bastian apologized sincerely for the inconvenience, saying that there’s “fertile ground for improvements for the future”.
Laura’s flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport was delayed.
Being stuck in New York for several hours, Delta employees suggested volunteers that would give up their seat in order to board 60 extra passengers, and offered benefits to any passengers willing to be displaced. The staff was offering up to $900 a ticket in vouchers, and this is when Laura’s husband decided to make a deal.
Her family was traveling to Fort Lauderdale to see relatives for a family vacation. Her husband convinced her regarding the compensation that volunteers were to receive ($900 a ticket in gift cards, American Express, Target, Macy’s and so on). It was a delay, but their plans were flexible anyway. They received $1,350 for each ticket.
But the next day, though, they found the exact same thing happening with their flight, and that Delta was offering even more cash.
The company was offering money to volunteers again…$300…$600…$900…$1,000…$1,300. Therefore they earned more. The airline ended up giving them two gift cards at $1,300 each and (surprise!) a third at $1,350. Delta also threw in lunch ($15 each) and round-trip taxi fare (worth about $50). In total is was more than $4000!
However, the Bloom family was being recognized in two ways, as well as the vouchers they were thanked for releasing their seats.
As the Bloom family waited for a compensating flight, Delta Airlines tried their hardest to get another booking for the following day. It was then that the family had an idea: how much could they get for canceling the trip altogether?
The offered the gate agent to give up their seats again, and again went home with $3000 regarding the compensation. Maybe they missed their vacation, but they made a great deal.
Contrary to David Dao’s infamous emission from a United Airlines flight, Laura’s story demonstrates that an overbooking of seats can be handled professionally.
A recent study by MileCards.com found Delta Airlines to be the most likely flight provider to compensate people who were bumped, with around 10 in every 10,000 passengers getting paid for volunteering to give up their seats.
When a flight is overbooked for any reason, it’s not uncommon for airlines to have mandatory removal procedures written into company policy, but when the scandal surrounding United Airlines 3411 happened, these processes should probably have been called into question.