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A Lawyer on TikTok Explains How to Cash in if You're 'Bumped' From Your Flight

News Airports + Flying
by Olivia Harden Dec 30, 2021

Catching a flight is often stressful enough, getting to the airport two to three hours before takeoff, checking luggage, and making your way through security. But once you arrive at the gate, it should be smooth sailing. All that’s left to do is board and take off — most of the time. However, in the age of COVID-19, missing your flight at no fault of your own is becoming more and more common. Another common practice in the industry is “bumping” passengers due to overselling seats—but there’s a way to be compensated if that’s the case. TikToker Erika Kullberg is an attorney and personal finance expert who “reads the fine print so you don’t have to” explaining what to do if you get bumped.

@erikakullbergWhat airlines don’t want you to know about getting “bumped” 🤯 ##lawyer ##travel ##money♬ original sound – Money Lawyer Erika

There are some stipulations to this according to the US Department of Transportation. First off, to be eligible for this compensation, it’s important that you have a confirmed reservation, checked in to your flight on time, and arrive at the departure gate on time. If a flight is overbooked, the airline will begin asking people to voluntarily give up their seats for compensation, whether that be in the form of cash,  a discount, or a free seat. You’re welcome to negotiate with the airline then, on what the compensation will be. But if not enough people decide to give up their spots, you could be involuntarily bumped.

If that happens, the amount of compensation you receive is based on a scale. The airline is not required to offer you any compensation if you will arrive to your destination within an hour of your original arrival time. If the delay is between one to two hours, you are entitled to 200 percent of the one-way fare, up to $775. If the delay is over two hours, you’re entitled to 400 percent of the one-way fare. Your compensation should be in hand once an agreement has been reached and no later than 24 hours afterward.

Unfortunately, you’re not always entitled to compensation. If there’s an operational or safety issue that causes an aircraft change, a weight and balance issue for a flight with less than 60 seats, your scheduled flights holds fewer than 30 passengers, or if you’re taking a chartered flight that is not part of an airline’s regular schedule, you’re simply out of luck.

So, if you’ve done everything right to make sure you make your flight, but things are still going wrong, at least there’s a silver lining.

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