Hoping to avoid a repeat of the nasty incident (and subsequent PR fiasco) United Airlines endured recently, in which a 69-year-old passenger was physically removed from a flight to make way for UA employees, Delta Air Lines has upped the maximum compensation it will offer travellers who give up seats to nearly US$10,000 (AU$13,160).
The new offer is more than seven times the previous maximum US$1,350 (AU$1,790) Delta supervisors were allowed to offer passengers; the amount gate agents can offer has also risen from a limit of US$800 to US$2,000, Associated Press reported.
Airlines often overbook flights as a way of keeping airfares low, and do so under the assumption that some passengers wont turn up for their flights. But when a situation arises when there aren’t enough seats for passengers, carriers will offer cash bribes for those willing to give up their place on a flight.
Last year, thanks largely to the higher incentives it was willing to pay out, Delta enticed more passengers to give up their seats on overbooked flights than any other major American airline. As such, forced bumpings were lowest at Delta.
"If you offer enough money, even the guy going to a funeral will sell his seat," retired United pilot Ross Aimer told AP.
Over at American Airlines, the rules have been updated so that no passenger who has already boarded a plane can be removed to give their seat to someone else.
Meanwhile, United Airlines has amended its rules relating to overbookings, now requiring employees seeking a seat on a plane to book at least an hour before departure. The new law means any overbooking issues can be sorted out at the gate rather than on board an aircraft.
How much would it take you to give up your seat?