Being bumped off a flight is usually the result of overbooking which is where airlines take more bookings than can actually fit on the plane in case of the event that someone doesn’t turn up for their flight.
Overbooking has taken a big hit in the news recently but, depending on how you look at it, being bumped off the plane can be a good thing as you could barter some serious rewards from the airline; some people actually choose to get bumped off.
However, in the case that you absolutely don’t want to get bumped off, this is the ultimate guide for you. Although there is no way that you can guarantee that your seat on any flight is safe, here are a few pointers which will keep your seat as safe as possible.
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Try to avoid peak travel days
To avoid the busiest travel times, it’s essential that you’re aware of the busiest days on which to travel and avoid those. For airlines, the busiest travel days are Friday and Sunday and the quietest days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, so try to book your flights accordingly.
Check in as early as possible
Check-in timing id often used as a factor when flight attendants are selecting passengers to involuntarily be bumped off, so be sure to check in as early as possible – some airlines even allow you to check in in around 24 hours before your flight.
Fly first or business class
If you can afford it, buying a first or business class ticket is an almost surefire way to not get bumped off your flight. Those who get bumped off their flights are usually those who paid the lowest fares, so the pricier the ticket the better. However, that is not to say that it is 100 percent guaranteed that those who fly first or business class will never have to be involuntarily denied access to their flights.
Book a seat
For airlines, it’s easier to bump off passengers who don’t have seat assignments than those who do, so try to book your seat alongside your flight. If you’re unable to book a seat when you’re booking your flight, this is a warning sign that your flight may be overbooked.
Join the airlines’ reward scheme
Most airlines have a rewards scheme, such as BA’s frequent flyers program Oneworld, which essentially gives you a VIP status on their flights. As such, airlines tend to be reluctant to inconvenience their loyal customers, so those who are a part of the rewards program are less likely to be bumped.
Avoid airlines which are known for overbooking
Most airlines practice overbooking, but there are some which pride themselves on not doing so. For examples, Ryanair boasts that it’s ‘the only airline in Europe that does not overbook its flights”. Being mindful of which airlines are notorious for overbooking and steering of their flights is an effective way to not get bumped, but involuntary bumping can still happen with any airline.
Board when your row is called
This also goes along with out point about checking in as early as possible; try to be punctual throughout the whole departure process. Boarding when your row is called is essential so that the flight attendants don’t think you’re a no-show.
Don’t book the final flight of the day
Even though the final flights of the day for your route may be off-peak, it is likely that your flight will be overbooked due to the backlog of passengers from overbooked flights throughout the day. The best way to overcome this is to book flights which are both departing earlier in the day and are off-peak. Also, people are less likely to volunteer to be bumped off during the end of the day as they’d have to opt to stay an extra night at their location.
Try to avoid layovers
It makes sense that the more flights you have to catch, the higher your chances are of being bumped off. Although direct flights are often more expensive than those with layovers, if you absolutely have to get to your destination, paying that extra bit of money might be worth it.