Would you give up your seat on a plane for $10,000? That’s the dilemma some passengers reportedly faced this week.
Passengers on an overbooked Delta Air Lines flight from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Minneapolis were reportedly offered as much as $10,000 to give up their seats.
Passengers flying on Delta flight 3550 operated by SkyWest from Michigan to Minneapolis were patiently waiting at the gate when the crew and a customer service agent announced that the flight was oversold.
They bid an opening of $5,000 cash for eight volunteers to give up their seats and hop onto a later flight. Unfortunately, there weren’t any takers, and Delta increased its bid to $7,500 once boarding began.
By the time most passengers boarded, the airline had upped the bid to a whopping $10,000 each for eight volunteers, letting the offered ring through the almost filled cabin through the passenger-announcement system. That’s a hefty $80,000 for inconveniences caused to a handful of passengers.
One of the flight attendants had even announced:
“If you have Apple Pay, you’ll even have the money right now.”
It’s a true story. I was on that flight! Unfortunately, I could not take advance the offer, as I was flying with my wife who has very limited eyesight. She has to have me nearby when traveling
— Todd McCrumb (@ToddMccrumb) June 28, 2022
Inc. magazine technology columnist Jason Aten who first shared the bidding said in a follow-up tweet:
“Yes, all six of us are still on the flight I don’t want to talk about it.”
Daily Wire also reported an incident that happened back in April 2017 wherein travelers who agreed to give up their seats on overbooked flights will be given compensation:
In April 2017, Delta sent employees an internal memo giving them authority to offer compensation of up to $9,950 to travelers who agreed to give up their seats on overbooked flights, the Post reported.
The news comes as summer travel gets more chaotic amid high gas prices, weather cancellations, overbooked flights, and airline staffing shortages. Some of this is residual from the pandemic, with more pilots taking early retirement. Also more people are traveling this year than in 2020 and 2021.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian apologized for recent flight delays and cancellations in a LinkedIn post on Thursday.
“If you’ve encountered delays and cancellations lately, I apologize. We have spent years establishing Delta Air Lines as the industry leader in reliability and while most of our flights continue to operate on time, this level of disruption and uncertainty is unacceptable.”