PHOTO: Megan Keaveny was offered more than $A4000 for her seat
A 30-year-old New York City real estate broker was paid $A4400 by Delta Air Lines to give up her seat on an overbooked flight just before it took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York last week.
Megan Keaveny paid just over $A500 to fly Delta from LaGuardia to West Palm Beach, Florida, according to CNBC Make It.
“While we were boarding, a gate agent announced, ‘We need 22 people to get off this flight. We’re offering $US1300 to any volunteers’,” Keaveny told the site.
She told her boyfriend and friends who were also boarding that she would be willing to give up her spot for no less than $US2000 ($A2933).
Moments later, after she boarded the plane, the agent then said the airline was willing to pay $US2500 ($A3665) to anyone ready to give up their seat.
After several passengers took up the offer and deplaned, the agent upped the offer to $US3000 ($A4400).
“I almost broke my neck sprinting down the aisle,” Keaveny said. She ended up flying to Fort Lauderdale on another flight and hired an Uber for $50 to drive her to West Palm Beach.
Keaveny told CNBC Make It that she probably could have pocketed even more money for her rebooked flight to Fort Lauderdale, but declined because she was on a timeline.
“We could have done it again that day and made more money in LaGuardia,” Keaveny said.
Experts said it is common for airlines to overbook flights during the busy summer months.
Federal law requires airlines to compensate travellers who are bumped from flights.
Anyone removed from a flight and whose rebooked flight is set to depart in less than two hours would be entitled to twice the amount of what the passenger paid for the ticket – with a cap of $US750 (A$1100).
If the rebooked flight departs later than two hours, the airline must pay four times the fair – up to $US1550 ($A2272).
Airlines will often offer more than what they are legally required to pay in order to maintain customer satisfaction and to expedite the process of removing passengers so the flight would depart on time.
Megan Keaveny, 30, said she ‘sprinted up the aisle’ to take the offer.
Last week, Delta passengers said they were offered $US10,000 ($A14,660) each to voluntarily get off an overbooked flight.
Jason Aten, a technology columnist at Inc. magazine, wrote that he was waiting for takeoff on board a Delta flight from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Minneapolis early on Monday when a crew member announced over the plane’s PA system that the flight was “apparently oversold” and the airline was looking for eight passengers to give up their seats in exchange for $US10,000 each.
“If you have Apple Pay, you’ll even have the money right now,” Aten quoted the flight attendant as saying.
In April 2017, Delta Air Lines sent its employees an internal memo announcing that it was authorising them to offer compensation of up to $US9950 ($A14,586) to travellers who agreed to give up their seats on overbooked flights.
The policy change came after a scandal involving Dr David Dao, who was forcibly dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight to make room for a crew member. The traveller suffered a concussion and broken teeth, and the incident turned into a public-relations nightmare for United.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post
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