In a shining example of what customer service really means (sorry, United Airlines) Delta kindly asked a family if they'd be willing to give up their seats — and offered $11,000 for the inconvenience.
Needless to say, the family decided that the inconvenience of delays and transfers were well worth the compensation.
Condé Nast Traveler reports that Forbes contributor Laura Begley Bloom rerouted and changed three reservations after Delta asked for volunteers to reschedule their trips on an overbooked flight. While some may see getting off the plane, hoping for a new flight the same day (or next), and rearranging a vacation or return trip as an unquestionable act, Begley Bloom decided to take Delta up on its offer and raked in $11,000 worth of gift cards for her trouble.
Don't expect it to be 100% turbulence-free, however, and don't think that $11K is the usual deal for something like this. In her piece for Forbes, Begley Bloom said that she and her husband negotiated every step of the way to get the maximum payout. She also adds that her family — 4-year-old daughter included — spent almost two days in an airport waiting for their rescheduled flights.
"Passengers were screaming at the staff — and each other. It got a bit nasty," Begley Bloom told CNT of the initial flight. "Part of the reason we volunteered our seats on Friday was because there was a chance the flight wouldn’t take off at all and we wanted to get our child out of that situation."
Begley Bloom told the magazine that she took American Express gift cards as her compensation, forgoing airfare vouchers and other gift card options, since AmEx gift cards are more widely accepted. Vouchers expire, she added, and gift cards are only redeemable at one specific place. For anyone looking for more tips, Begley Bloom says that she always asked for the most compensation possible for her situation (it can vary) and to make sure that she had a confirmed flight and seat for her rescheduled trip. No standby and no second chance of rescheduling.
Walking away with $11,000 seems like a pretty sweet deal, even with a two-day airport stay. It's certainly better than what happened on a United Airlines flight, where officers dragged a man from his seat after he refused to get off an overbooked flight in Chicago. United offered passengers $800 if they took a flight the next day, but nobody took up the offer.