When United airlines needed to put four employees on an overbooked flight, they offered $400. No takers. They doubled the offer, but no one budged.
In the viral video making headlines around the globe, it’s clear that the airline’s next step was a bad one. One of four randomly selected passengers — reportedly a doctor with patients to see the next day — didn’t want to give up his seat, so Chicago police dragged him out.
But just days earlier, another overbooked flight left a New York woman in a completely different position — unbloodied and $11,000 richer.
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Laura Begley Bloom, a travel writer, was headed to Fort Lauderdale with her husband and daughter for a weekend getaway, she wrote in an essay for Forbes. Their Delta flight was overbooked, with 60 people in line for a seat. The compensation for giving up a seat rose to $900, so Bloom’s husband haggled the gate agent up to $1,350 for each ticket and a confirmed flight the next day.
The same scenario played out that Saturday. The Bloom family watched the compensation rise to $1,300 (with confirmed seats on Sunday) once more and snapped at it.
“I felt a bit guilty making so much money off the situation, but other passengers pointed out that we were freeing up seats for people who really needed to get somewhere. Many passengers actually thanked us for doing this,” Bloom wrote.
But those confirmed seats never materialized. Eventually, Bloom and her family offered to cancel their trip altogether, which netted them an extra $1,000 each and a full refund on their plane tickets.
The Blooms went home without seeing their Florida family, but with $11,000 in their pockets.