Bidding For Delta’s Voluntary Denied Boarding Vouchers


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Delta often compensates passengers for taking a later flight when the current flight is oversold. This is called a voluntary denied boarding situation. Delta has a pretty slick bidding process for customers that are willing to take a voluntary denied boarding voucher. It is automated and gives the passenger complete control over the bidding process.

In certain situations, passengers can be involuntarily denied boarding (IDB). In instances where you are prevented from getting an assigned seat and are denied boarding, make sure you know your rights. You should be compensated based on the involuntary rights afforded to you. Knowing these rights will be especially useful around the holiday season when flights are jam packed. Back in 2009, Delta was fined by the DOT for violating disclosures during denied boarding of passengers.

Delta’s Automated Voluntary Denied Boarding Process

When you check-in with a Delta kiosk or on Delta.com, you’ll see a “Got Time? Get Rewarded” message if your flight is in an oversold situation. Delta will begin seeking volunteers at this point. Their obvious hope is that a non-elite will want to change their flight and take this as a free opportunity to change their itinerary. For Delta Elites, changing a flight using the same-day confirm process is free for Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members. To learn more about the same-day process take a look at Delta’s Same-day Travel Benefits.

Next, you’ll be prompted to enter your desired compensation should you wish to volunteer for a bump. Entering in a number like $10,000 isn’t a way to increase your chances of being bumped. But a guy can dream can’t he?

Once you enter a realistic bid, you’ll be notified your bid has been received. You can proceed to the gate or a nearby friendly Delta SkyClub, to relax before your flight. The gate agent will call your name if your seat is needed and will provide you with the compensation from your bid.

Be aware that the vouchers have new rules prohibiting anyone other than the “owner” on the voucher from using the ticket. You can now only use 1 voucher per ticket instead of three. So if you receive a voucher, you’ll be the one that has to use it. Hat tip to Delta Points who posted the full terms and conditions in this MP post.

Bottom Line

Knowing that your flight is oversold is the first step to getting voluntary denied boarding vouchers. You can either take your chances with the automated approach or use the good old fashioned way of speaking to the gate agent. Also knowing your involuntary denied boarding rights can make sure you don’t get taken advantage of during an IDB situation.

Have any of you successfully received a bump from the automated “Got Time, Get Rewarded” process?

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A reader gets to spend more time with family and gets paid $400 from Delta to do it

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

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Comments

  1. Grant – that is the reason why it’s not always the best idea to use the kiosks. Without knowing what your rebooking options are, it’s really tough to gauge what value you place on your time.

    Savvy flyers will probably be monitoring fare buckets for alternative options, but the regular flyer will be left in the dark.

  2. I have signed up for this before, but every time I’ve been a volunteer they have given me a standard amount: either $300 or $400. So it’s unclear to me when this bidding process ever goes into effect. I’m thankful it hasn’t applied to me though, as I don’t want to have to compete with someone willing to accept $50 or some other ridiculous amount. The day that starts happening, I’ll be one step closer to changing allegiance (I’m already pretty close right now).

  3. I don’t know why you consider this “slick”, other than to say the process is automated . . .

    Also, more stinginess from Delta . . . “Be aware that the vouchers have new rules prohibiting anyone other than the “owner” on the voucher from using the ticket. You can now only use 1 voucher per ticket instead of three.”

    Why does Delta care who uses the voucher? What difference does that make?

    Overall, given the competitors approach to Denied Boarding Compensation, Delta just comes up short.

  4. Why would you change airlines because they accept someone else’s $50 bid to get bumped than your $300 bid? You still get on your flight as originally scheduled. That doesn’t even make sense.

  5. @Grant, Bryan

    By entering an amount, your not committing to anything. You’re just saying that you’re interested. When you get to the actual gate, if they need someone (which they may not even though they asked for ‘bids’) then they’ll give you rebooking options.

    In my experience, the system is broken. You enter an amount and either a) no volunteers are needed, or b) the gate agent just announces to everyone that a volunteer is needed.

  6. @ Ken Y… Because I want vouchers! And I think everyone gets screwed (except Delta) if they give away ridiculous compensation to people instead of something fair. So if I can fly a different airline with a more generous/fair voucher system, that makes a difference. Sure, I get on my scheduled flight. BFD.

  7. I’ve never seen Delta actually use the bidding list for anything. AFAIK, volunteers are still taken and compensated the old-fasioned way.

  8. When you enter a bid it only ensures you are placed on the volunteer list. The gate agents don’t see (or may be they just ignore) your bid. If they really need one or more seats, they start calling the folks from the list in the order they were entered and give them the standard voucher amount.

  9. I’ve been flying off from the same $303 round trip ticket I bought two years ago. It just so happened they needed two volunteers. My daughter and I took them up on it for $600 a piece in flight vouchers plus a night in a hotel in NYC! On the next flights we booked, the needed two more volunteers. My daughter and I gave up our seats willingly, and they gave us each $1000 in flight vouchers. I’m hoping will continue as I family across the country that enjoy visiting.

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