Loyalty schemes, the cost of a ticket and even where you store your luggage can all have an effect on how valuable your seat is to staff
EARLIER this week, United Airlines caused outrage after footage showed a doctor being dragged from one of their flights that was overbooked.
While the manner in which the man was removed was shocking, the fact that he was taken off a overly-full flight was not – most airlines overbook flights, some by as much as 100 percent.
So what can passengers do to make themselves less bumpable from an overbooked plane than the next person?
A number of things actually.
From loyalty schemes to full-price tickets and even where you store your luggage, they can all have an effect on how valuable your seat is to staff.
Read on to find out more…
Fly on a charter airline like Thomson and Thomas Cook
Charter airlines like Thomson and Thomas Cook are far less likely to overbook flights than scheduled and low-cost airlines.
This is because people heading off on a package holiday are highly unlikely to miss their flight.
So if you really want to lower your chances of being bumped, fly with a charter.
Pay full price for your ticket
According to the experts, paying a low ticket price makes you more likely to be chosen for another flight.
Travel as a family
Most airlines will not choose to break up a family.
So if you are a parent travelling with your children, you can probably rest easy, knowing you’ll get to your destination.
Sign up to an airline’s loyalty scheme
Flyers are less likely to get bumped if they are frequent travellers with the airline they are travelling with, so sign up for a frequent flyer program.
According to NBC, United Airlines takes into consideration how long it will take for passengers to reach their destination on a later flight when choosing who to bump.
Having a connecting flight also reduces your chances of being bumped as the airline will have to book you on two separate flights.
Buy a First Class or Business Class seat
Joseph Lorusso, a Colorado-based aviation attorney told Market Watch: “Typically the hierarchy goes from back to the front.
“Without knowing the exact protocol, you’re going to be safer in first class or even business than if you’re just flying economy.”
While some airlines choose who to bump based on how much they paid for their ticket, others work on a first come, first served basis.
So check-in early and avoid being booted off the plane, or show up late and chance it.
Weekend flights are usually the most popular, so they have more chance of being overbooked.
If you want to lower the risk of being bumped, fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Check in your baggage
It is much harder to remove a passenger from a flight if their luggage needs to be found among every other suitcase in the hold.
Staff will take that into consideration when choosing which passengers to bump if no one volunteers.
Choose an uncomfortable flight time
Those choosing to fly early in the morning versus later in the evening are less likely to board an overbooked flight as less people will have booked seats.
Also, if you choose the evening flight, you risk it being full because of earlier overbooked flights.