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Yes, airlines may be required to pay you cash for bumped flights

Airlines are required to pay you cash for bumped flights if the arrival time is delayed by more than one hour. However, all other criteria must be met.

AUSTIN, Texas —

The question

Can you get paid cash if the airline bumps your flight?

The sources

The answer

This is true.

Yes, airlines are required to pay you cash for bumped flights if the arrival time is delayed by more than one hour. However, all other criteria must be met.  

What we found

A social video claims you can make hundreds of dollars if you’re bumped from your flight. It reached more than 800,000 people.

A bumped flight is when you are denied boarding. It happens when the airline oversold seats. This is not for incidents like weather delays.

“It’s a rare practice – less than 1% of passengers are impacted, but occasionally airlines do have to bump passengers because a flight is oversold. That’s the key component here is your flight oversold," Daniel Armbruster, spokesperson for AAA Texas, said.

The Department of Transportation’s website shows airlines must first ask for volunteers in exchange for compensation. You can negotiate it, so make sure to get all the details.

“An airline is required to compensate you after involuntarily bumping you from an oversold flight in certain situations. However, there are many situations where you are not entitled to compensation,” the website shows.

Bumped passengers are NOT eligible for compensation in the following situations:

  • Aircraft Change - A smaller plane is substituted for the larger one the airline originally planned on using due to operational or safety reasons.

  • Weight and Balance - Weight or balance restrictions that apply to planes with 60 or fewer seats for operational or safety reasons.

  • Downgrading - A passenger is downgraded from a higher class of seating to a lower class.  In this case, the passenger is entitled to a refund for the difference in price.

  • Charter Flights -  A flight contracted for a specific trip that is not part of an airline’s regular schedule.

  • Small Aircraft - Scheduled flights on planes holding fewer than 30 passengers.

  • Flights Departing a Foreign Location - International flights to the United States.  However, some airlines on these routes may provide compensation voluntarily. Also, the European Commission has a rule on bumping passengers from flights that apply to passengers departing from a European Union member state; ask the airline for details, or visit this page.

Situations when bumped passengers ARE eligible for compensation:

  • If you are not bumped from a flight for one of the reasons above, you qualify for involuntary denied boarding compensation if an airline requires you to give up your seat on an oversold flight and:

    • You have a confirmed reservation,

    • You checked-in to your flight on time,

    • You arrived at the departure gate on time, and

    • The airline cannot get you to your destination within one hour of your flight’s original arrival time.”

The amount of money you are able to receive depends on the delayed arrival time. If the arrival time is less than an hour of the original arrival time, no money is provided. One to two hours after the original arrival time, airlines pay double the one-way fare with an allowable cap at $775.  

If the delay is more than two hours, airlines pay 400% of the one-way fare with an allowable cap at $1,550. 

Let us know if you see something questionable online. Email verify@kvue.com.

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