Delta to Flyers: Bid to Get Bumped

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Travelers line up to check in with Delta Airlines at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia

REUTERS/Tami Chappell/Files

Want to recoup the money you spent to check your bags? If you play your cards right and don’t mind an airport wait, you could make big bucks on Delta Airlines.

When flights are overbooked, many airlines ask passengers to volunteer to take a seat on a later flight in exchange for a voucher for future flying. In an interesting experiment, Delta now lets passengers start bidding wars for a bumped seat.

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While a passenger checks into an overbooked flight at a counter or a kiosk, he or she can name the amount they’d be willing to take to be bumped. Delta would then consider the lowest bids first. Smart betters could walk away with a free flight. But the system could threaten newbies who bet too low out of ignorance or just too much enthusiasm.

Cutting costs is the main motivation behind Delta’s move, since competition would bring down the cost of vouchers. It also cuts down the time employees currently take to wade through a large group of volunteers. And since some frequent fliers delight in the free flights they get from volunteering, bidding could get intense. (via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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