Money-saving tip: Take the bump to cash in on airfare
Published: April 28, 2013 at 12:42 PM
We fly Southwest since they have nonstop to Orlando from my home state, plus, if you book early and pay attention to prices, they are the most affordable. But every year Southwest airlines overbooks their flights, plus, they sell standby seats.
So on our journey home, as expected, Southwest makes the announcement: "We are looking for seats on Flight [your flight number here]. We are offering $300 per ticket, plus the amount of your flight." Well, since we were going from Orlando to connect in Baltimore [BWI], we would have been stuck in BWI from 10am to 10pm if we'd taken that deal. So we passed on that offer.
We left Orlando at 7:45am and landed in BWI at 9:40. I took a long walk around the airport with my daughter to check out the shops and foods offered. Bought an Aunt Annie’s pretzel, grabbed a yogurt from Pinkberry, coffee from Starbucks. When returning to find my bride after the walk-around, she tells me they are asking for seats again. My brain starts to churn. Well I can drive to my home state from BWI which is about 400 miles away. I am guessing about five-and-a-half hour drive. I tell them what I'm thinking. They agree -- we can drive, and they would not mind.
So off to the Southwest counter I go. Many flights were oversold and they were looking for seats for several flights. The woman never looked up at me as she was very busy on her computer. I patiently waited. Finally I said, Are you still looking for seats on Flight [whatever]? She said "Yes, we need a bunch of seats." Still she did not look up. I said I will give you three seats. Finally I had her attention. She looked at me and asked for my info.
In return we received $300 per ticket for three tickets: $900. And since the flights were sold out from Orlando to BWI -- also sold out BWI to my home state and they needed the seats so badly, Southwest gave the flight amount from Orlando to my home state for another $886, instead of just the ticket prices from BWI to home.
So the grand total is $1,786 in Southwest Airline vouchers for my next Orlando Vacation. I rented a car, took out our Garmin GPS and off we went.
Don’t be afraid to take a bump on your flight while on vacation and your next vacation’s flight might be paid for already.
Have you ever let yourself get bumped from a flight to get a voucher or payment for airfare while on vacation? If so, what's your advice on how to get the best deal from the airline? Please share your story in the comments.