While United deals with the aftermath from the bloody removal of a passenger when no volunteers could be found to give up their seats, one woman flying Delta raked in $11,000 over the weekend for her family. Delta of course was hit hard by an Atlanta storm last Tuesday that’s impacted their entire operations (though there are many rumblings of multiple IT system failures as well including their scheduling systems) as they’ve been extremely slow to recover. Over the weekend, one Forbes contributor shared her story of how she obtained about $11,000 for her family of three who were scheduled to travel from New York to Fort Lauderdale to visit family members. She gave up seats for the three of them on three different flights – the original Friday flights and then rescheduled ones on Saturday and Sunday. They received compensation in the form of AmEx gift cards (definitely more valuable than flight coupons) as well as a full refund of their original tickets.
When the compensation for volunteers got to $900 a ticket in gift cards, my husband convinced me to consider the offer. I thought it was too low to delay our vacation, but our plans were flexible, so I said I was open to the idea. My husband approached the gate agent and offered to give up our seats for $1,500 apiece. She countered: $1,350 each.
The airline started offering money to volunteers…$300…$600…$900…$1,000…$1,300. Bingo! We took the offer of $1,300 per person. The airline also threw in lunch ($15 each) and round-trip taxi fare (worth about $50). Do the math — that’s almost $4,000 for a family of three. The airline assured us that we would get confirmed seats on Sunday.
We found out Delta flights to Florida were fully booked until Tuesday. We were drained, and suddenly our long-weekend trip was looking far less appealing. When we suggested to the gate agent that we might be open to volunteering our seats again by cancelling the trip altogether, the offer was met with smiles and another $1,000 per person in advance compensation. Delta sweetened the deal by refunding the cost of the three plane tickets.