ATLANTA- Delta Air Lines (DL) found themselves in a situation where they overbooked a flight, a common occurrence. To address this, they typically offer passengers gift cards in exchange for giving up their seats and taking a later flight.
In this instance, a passenger who had already boarded the flight in Atlanta (ATL) accepted the airline’s initial offer of $700. However, upon disembarking the aircraft, Delta refused to honor their commitment.
Delta Seat Surrender Offer
It’s important to note that the passenger had cleared the flight as a standby, which should not have been allowed by Delta in the first place, given that they were already facing an overbooking situation, reports ViewfromtheWing.
Despite the initial offer of $700 to voluntarily deplane, the airline, following an appeal to a manager, offered only a meal voucher.
The reason for this heightened sensitivity around deplaning passengers is related to a past incident where David Dao was forcibly removed from a United Express flight, resulting in physical injuries caused by airport police.
This incident led to a widely accepted principle that once seated, passengers should not be removed from the aircraft to accommodate others. In essence, once a passenger is seated, their seat should be secure for the duration of the flight.
After being removed from the plane, the passenger filed a complaint with Delta. Initially, Delta offered 5,000 SkyMiles, which they declined.
Eventually, after further discussion with a Delta representative over the phone, the passenger was offered either $200 in compensation or 20,000 miles “for the miscommunication.”
Generous Compensator in the US
Delta Airlines stands out as the sole major U.S. airline that continues to provide exceedingly generous compensation to prevent involuntarily removing passengers due to overbooking.
Their willingness to offer significantly more than the legally mandated 400% of a passenger’s one-way fare, capped at $1,550, showcases their commitment to avoid the practice of “bumping” passengers.
An example of their generous approach can be seen when an agent urgently pleaded with passengers to accept $1,300 in cash (not just travel vouchers) in exchange for surrendering their seats and taking a later flight.
This situation arose when more passengers arrived than the airline had available seats. This offer was made for a domestic flight, where $1,300 might exceed four times a one-way fare’s cost.
Following the David Dao incident, Delta took steps to empower gate agents to offer compensation of up to $9,950.
Nonetheless, Delta has been known to present an offer and subsequently renege on it. For instance, on Christmas Eve, Delta initially extended offers of up to $8,000 per passenger, only to later backtrack on these offers by canceling the flight.
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