Bumped airline passenger payments get a bump


Good news for frequent flyers, especially frequently delayed flyers; the government just doubled payments for getting bumped due to overbooking. Starting May 19th consumers who are delayed 1-4 hours by being bumped will be eligible to receive up to $400 and travelers on international flights delayed more than 4 hours can receive up to $800. These new amounts would replace a voucher many airlines give out during overbookings.

These new rules may be just the kick in the rear that airlines need to stop overbooking on so many flights. Hitting the wallet of a company has long proved to be the impetus needed for change. Unfortunately these increased penalties for overbooking may have a negative affect. Cash strapped airlines may go out of business if they have to start shelling out double for overbooking. If we loose too many competitors then decreased competition coupled with high oil prices could relegate air travel back to the elite!

I'm certainly not advocating for airlines to get off scott free. I have spent a fair share of time stuck in O'hare airport due to cancellations and overbookings. If I am traveling alone or not in a hurry I would definitely sit for several more hours for a couple hundred bucks, provided I can find a power outlet and wifi. Now if only the Department of Transportation could work out a passenger bill of rights.