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What if your flight is oversold?

Tips to keep in mind if your flight is oversold.
/ Source: The Associated Press
  • Know your rights and the maximum compensation if you're bumped, which depends on how quickly the airline can put you on another flight. You aren't compensated if the airline gets you to your destination up to an hour late. You receive up to $400 if you're scheduled to get there between one and two hours late, and up to $800 if you're scheduled to arrive more than two hours late.
  • Airlines are required to ask for volunteers before bumping anyone, and will offer travel vouchers or other goodies. Before you accept an offer, ask when is the next flight that the airline can confirm your seat.
  • There are exceptions, especially on smaller planes operated by regional airlines. Bumping rules don't apply to planes with fewer than 30 seats, or when passengers are bumped to meet total weight limits including people and bags on planes with 30 to 60 seats.
  • If you don't want to be bumped, get to the airport early. Some airlines bump the passengers with the cheapest tickets, but some will bump the passengers who checked in last.
  • You may lose your right to compensation if you show up late. You're usually required to arrive at the gate between 10 and 30 minutes before your scheduled departure. Late arrivals can be stripped of their confirmed reservation.