Tweaking bumps on Delta Air Lines – I am always learning and thinking bumpertunities

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oversold delta jet

I have covered bumping quite a bit on the blog and on the rookie Wednesday posts. That information is all valid, but after my bump yesterday I really stated thinking about the process I go through when it comes to bumps and when I ask if they need me.

no expert flyer delta

Now I know, if I am a diligent bumper, I should ALWAYS ask the gate agent (GA) if a flight is oversold. 10 seats open on the Fly Delta APP? I should still ask if they need volunteers. Why? Things are changing all the time and we do not have access to the true picture of the live situation (even more so now that Delta blocks Expert Flyer).

For example, did a flight before this one cancel and a flood of passengers are about to fill up those seats? Also by letting the GA know you are interested, good things can happen. You can mention if things change you are happy to help out (on an international flight, if coach is oversold but not business, you may just find yourself upgraded free – but not bumped, for example). Or the other way can happen too. A bunch of folks who were to be on your jet do not make it because of a late flight or change, for whatever reason, to another flight or route.

ask delta assist if oversold

A simple alert that your flight is oversold is that you see there are NO seats on the jet like you see in the example at the top of the post. But this is not 100% foolproof and the seat map may not be correct.

If you have no seat assigned, a seat will be assigned at check-in or at the gate prior to boarding Delta Air Lines

There may be seats blocked that can open up or there may be seats sold but not yet assigned. It is a pain and extra work, since we can not really check ourselves, but you can tweet to Delta assist and find out if a flight is oversold (btw, please use twitter if you don’t already). Some reps will give you lots of data like: “Yes, over by 5” while others, like in my case, just that it is sold out. Still data is data.

check are there seats for sale on delta-com

Another quick way to get some data is to search for a “Y” class or full price coach seat for your flight. If your flight does not even show up as an option, it is a safe bet your flight is oversold.

When it comes to negotiating the value of the bump, don’t be afraid to ask for more. For example, if I were offered $200 I would just say NO. That is too little to bother with. But if I were offered $400 I would ask for $600 and so on. All they can do is say NO and you can decide if you want to take their offer or just take your seat on the jet. Also, if they start “walking” the offer up, that is, they start at $400 and the final offer is $800 to get someone off the jet – you 100% can DEMAND the final offer to the last passenger.

Lastly, if you really want to be a pro at this, and it is worth it to you, then check out flights ahead of time that you would be willing to switch too. Are there flights that you could take later or the next day that are just about sold out? If you can switch to those, your chances are good for yet another bumpertunity. – René

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  1. Rene I was fortunate to score the double bumper last week on the same day … thank you spring break! But even though I have learned so much from your blog and follow your instructions completely I really messed up! When I checked in online (for the second time to check the upgrade list) the screen appeared that asked how much I would offer to give up my seat and I clicked on $400. I thought that the gate agent could override that low bid and give me more. NOT! The first bump resulted in a $400 for a MSP – JFK flight which seems low, Could I have received more? As you have said status means tons so volunteer at the gate and it may override any low offers!

    The second flight later that day was also oversold which meant a night in MSP and snow … but I went for it. I was the only one chosen because I was the first to volunteer. When asked how much I would accept I commented to the gate agent that I really wanted to help out and what was the best offer? She said $400 and I said I guess … BUT another gate agent arrives to handle the flight. The new GA gives me $500 even though the info on the computer screen said I agreed to $400.

    I need to start using twitter more to see if that will help because looking up seat maps on a smart phone is very frustrating at times.

    I guess I should not be greedy thinking I could have scored more than $900 that day … my original trip only cost $193. Oh and plus the $85 for burgers and beer after the last minute call to my bro in law who did not know I was in town …

  2. I don’t think it’s always been this way, but I know for FACT in the last two month on three different flights Delta was oversold, but DL was still selling M fare tickets.

  3. Does anyone know what kind of fare is this: S? I know about Y,B, M but have never seen S.

  4. Rene –

    I enjoyed your article this morning. We had 4 award tickets from DTW-IAH tonight for spring break.

    Checked in online and saw that they were in an oversold situation. Arrived at the gate T-60 and indeed they were oversold by 7.

    By the time all was said and done, we received $1,300 travel vouchers … each … for giving up our seats!

    Back home for one more night of sleep and we will try it again tomorrow. Now, where to go for $5,200?

    Not a bad start to our vacation!

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