News and Analysis

Delta Passengers Offered $10,000 Each To Exit Overbooked Flight: Report
Delta Airlines
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Delta Airlines passengers were offered $10,000 to give up their seats on an overbooked flight during the busy Fourth of July travel weekend, according to one Twitter user.

Inc. magazine technology columnist Jason Aten shared with followers that he was seated on a flight from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis when a crew member announced that the flight was “apparently oversold” and that Delta was looking for eight passengers to forfeit their seats for $10,000 each, New York Post reported.

Delta Airlines rep Anthony Black did not confirm the story but did say airline staff could offer compensation for flight changes.

“On @Delta flight from GRR to MSP and they just offered $10,000 for people to give up their seats.…Ten. Thousand. Dollars,” Aten’s tweet said.

“Yes, all six of us are still on the flight I don’t want to talk about it,” the columnist quipped in a follow-up.

At least one person corroborated the story.

“It’s a true story. I was on that flight!  Unfortunately, I could not take advance the offer, as I was flying with my wife who has very limited eyesight. She has to have me nearby when traveling,” someone replied to Aten’s tweet.

In April 2017, Delta sent employees an internal memo giving them authority to offer compensation of up to $9,950 to travelers who agreed to give up their seats on overbooked flights, the Post reported.

The news comes as summer travel gets more chaotic amid high gas prices, weather cancellations, overbooked flights, and airline staffing shortages. Some of this is residual from the pandemic, with more pilots taking early retirement. Also more people are traveling this year than in 2020 and 2021.

The Daily Wire originally reported that Delta Air Lines was allowing passengers to change their tickets during the Fourth of July holiday weekend without incurring more charges, which is an unprecedented move.

“Delta people are working around the clock to rebuild Delta’s operation while making it as resilient as possible to minimize the ripple effect of disruptions,” Delta said.

“Even so, some operational challenges are expected this holiday weekend. This unique waiver is being issued to give Delta customers greater flexibility to plan around busy travel times, weather forecasts and other variables without worrying about a potential cost to do so.”

Delta said traveler volumes would swell to levels “not seen since before the pandemic as people yearn to connect with the world” over the Fourth of July weekend.

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