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Getting Bumped - United Airlines

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Getting Bumped - United Airlines

My daughter and I are traveling on UA this summer, and will be returning from Rome (through Munich) to Chicago and finally home. When we booked the tickets, our time was more limited than it is now, and we'd love to stay in Rome longer! I did look into changing our tickets, and it would be about $1000 to do so (ouch). I have heard that UA often overbooks their flights... we would love to be the ones chosen to get bumped, either on the Rome leg or even in Munich. Are there any ways to better our chances on being chosen to move to another flight? Any other wisdom regarding getting bumped?


Chiang Khong...
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1. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines


the days of hopeing and planning on getting bumped are long gone

I used to book my Christmas flights home in the summer for the busiest travel day at Xmass

3 yrs in a row I got bumped and enough flight vouchers I didn't have to pay for a flight the rest of the yr plus hotel and food but that was 15 yrs ago

I haven't been bumped or even close to being bumped in 10 yrs

South Pole
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2. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines

dont do OLCI and turn up as late as 'legally' possible for your flight.

Detroit, MI
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3. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines

You really cannot plan on a bump, or extending your vacation even if you do get lucky enough to get one. If you take the bump, it is not a sure thing until the flight closes and they process your voucher and give you your new ticket, so you have to be at the airport and ready to fly to begin with. That new ticket will be anywhere from an hour to a day away, but I don't think they would allow you to fly several days later. There are actually many cases of people getting to their destination faster on a bump when a quick reroute avoids a delay.

About the only way to rebook for free is if there is a major event like a massive snow storm. Airlines will usually waive charges to rebook then, but of course those are pretty tough to predict - and rather rare in summer.

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4. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines


I'll add a few things.

Remember that largely there is no law or regulation that specifically says who can or can't and who should or shouldn't be bumped, nor the order or criteria that a carrier must or may use to decide who will be a bump.. Largely so long as they ask for volunteers and compensate/reroute those who are bumped, they have huge discretion in choosing.

As noted a later (but still legal) check-in person is more likely to be bumped....

I all add that carriers also give consideration to the following:

A) Are you a 1-of-1 or part of a larger group? If the carrier needs only 1 bump, there're less inclined to bump a person who is a part of a 2+ person booking..

B) Bags.. While most folks on long(er) haul international have them, they do give consideration to the question of how many bags does the passenger have? Each bag takes time to find and retrieve from the baggage container or aircraft (if non ULD movement) and for the carriers, the fewer bags a prospective bump has, the easier it is to bump them from a ground handling perspective, and the more likely it is that can complete the bump process and still make on-time departure.

C) Where are you going? Since carriers have to still get you there, they do give consideration to your final destination. They're more likely to bump someone who can be rerouted easily - like a large(r) city that may have multiple flights of multiple routings that will get you there reasonably quick. In the same vein, they are less willing to bump someone who is going to a city that has few(er) flights like 3x weekly and with few or no, alternates.

Item "A" also plays into this as if they bump a party of 2+, they have to find space for both..

My suggestion is if you want to be bumped, let the counter agent and/or gate agent know. They're the ones (more the gate agent) who will be aware of and administering the bump process itself.

Travel Safe,

Portland, Oregon
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5. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines

One other piece of information. If you check in at a United kiosk at the airport, IF the flight is in an oversold situation, you are informed then - at check in - and made an offer if you would like to be voluntarily bumped. As GOPBI says. that doesn't guarantee that you'll be the volunteer(s) selected, but it's one of the ways to get on the VDB list.

That said, when I've been presented with this (and the last time was at SFO last Saturday), the offer presented wasn't particularly good, and certainly not enough to tempt me. If you don't accept the (potentially not great) offer, then I would assume you're not going on the VDB list, unless when you get to the gate there still aren't enough volunteers signed up.

Though I recall one of our regulars (LeicsLad) came up trumps last summer with VDB'ing for several days in a row and getting a free hotel every night. But that was during last summer when United had many flights delayed and canceled due to the "merger mechanicals", which are happily a thing of the past (mostly) - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i10702-k5724321…

Edited: 11:14 pm, April 26, 2013
London, United...
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6. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines

Do the olci and do turn up on time, but when you get there, ask if you can be bumped if its an option, as the airline first has to seek volunteers before it forces people, at which point the late arrivals are first for the chopping block. As you intend to volunteer then it's not applicable.

Not doing olci and getting there late, will just ensure you get a crap seat. Sorry lien.

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7. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines

Any other wisdom regarding getting bumped?


Yes, it sounds as if you are imagining you can fly several days later and get a nice extended holiday, instead you may be put on another flight in a few hours time, possibly involving additional connections, and definitely lots of hanging round airports including for your original flight in case of last minute no shows, in which case your allocated seats have gone and you'll end up with the worst seats on the plane.

Even if its the same flight the next day you are put on, you'll have to get back to a hotel which will be of their choosing, may be out of town, and inconvenient for sightseeing.

South Pole
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8. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines

"Not doing olci and getting there late, will just ensure you get a crap seat. Sorry lien.

not if u already have seat reserved,

Fredericia, Denmark
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9. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines

Is United even the operating carrier on the Rome-Munich leg?

Washington DC...
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10. Re: Getting Bumped - United Airlines

Those days are over. I've never seen anyone getting bumped except for standbys. Slight chance if you're a premium member of their club but odds are against it.