We all know what happened to the passenger dragged off of United flight 3411 earlier this week so I won’t rehash it here. If you don’t know what I’m referencing just google ‘United scandal’ as you’ve been living under a rock–there’s already a wikipedia page about the event that will go down in Public Relations textbooks around the country.

In light of recent events, reader Julie Miller felt compelled to share her story getting “kicked off” an overbooked Delta flight.

With all of the recent press about a paying passenger being forcibly removed from a United flight, I decided to share my story of volunteering to give up my seat and the amazing deal I got in return from Delta. 

After a spring break trip to Rome and New York City, I was returning home to Cleveland, Ohio.  As I got to the departure gate at JFK International, the flight attendant announced an overbooked flight and asked for four to five volunteers for either a $400 Delta voucher or $400 preloaded American Express cards.  Seeing that it was a Saturday night, and my two teens and I didn’t need to be at school and work until Monday, I jumped up out of my seat, and headed toward the counter.  The three of us were the first to volunteer to give up our seats in exchange for the vouchers, free hotel, and transportation.

To my amazement, no other passengers volunteered.  About 15 minutes later, the flight attendant again asked for more volunteers and announced an increase in the voucher to $500, plus free overnight hotel, and transportation.  Again, no one volunteered. This same flight attendant in 15 minute increments asked for volunteers and raised the price again. This went on thru $600, $700, and even $800.  My kids and I were talking about the future trips we could take with this money or the purchases we would make with this money.  Finally, when the flight attendant announced a jump to $900, two other female passengers volunteered to give up their seats. 

So, to give up 3 seats on a roughly one hour flight from JFK to CLE, Delta gave us $900 for each seat in preloaded American Express cards to be used within 6 months. For those of you that are a little mathematically challenged, that’s $2,700 worth of merchandise or future travel!  We were also given a hotel voucher for a free room for the night, free transportation to and from the hotel, and 3 seats out on the next flight on Sunday morning.  The hotel also served free breakfast, so I didn’t have to shell out any additional money for food.  I was very happy with the deal Delta offered us and won’t hesitate to fly them again.

And that’s how it’s done folks.

I may rag on Delta for the constant devaluation of their frequent flyer miles, AKA SkyPesos, that make Argentina’s economy look healthy in comparison. But Julie’s experience is certainly an example of how an airline should handle a situation with too many people and not enough seats.

Thanks for sharing Julie!

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