The North American Airlines oversight board, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), states that at least one in three people in the continental United States has been bumped from a scheduled and reserved flight at least once in the past two years. Although it may be a major inconvenience for the traveler, as a new flight needs to be reserved, one which, no doubt, that will leave at least a few hours later than the originally scheduled flight, there may be a major perk involved for the inconvenienced flyer.
Knowing in advance what to do when bumped from a flight may well see you being happy that you were “chosen” to be bumped. The truth of the matter is that you were not chosen, it was just that you bought your ticket at a greatly reduced price through a third-party vendor, or you were one of the last people to buy tickets for an overbooked flight. Because there are quite a few people who miss flights that they had booked, airlines tend to sell more tickets than they have seats for most of their longer distance flights. This leads to overbooking when all of the passengers show up at pre-boarding, and when that happens, people get bumped from the flight.
Knowing why you got bumped from a flight may be of little to no consequence to you, but knowing what you can get out of it if you persist can be of great importance. You can get free meals, a free upgrade to first class on a later flight to the same destination, or possibly even a pair of tickets thrown in in addition to an upgraded ticket to your intended destination, to be used at any time in the future, to any destination within the Continental United States (does not include Hawaii or Alaska). Other countries, including Canada, have the same systems in place for “perking” bumped flyers.
When you are told that you are being bumped from a flight, make sure that you ask if it is at all possible to remain on the same flight. If that is not possible, then make sure that you do not let down on telling them about the major inconvenience that being bumped will cause you, both financially and emotionally. If the clerk that is dealing with you does not offer any perks that make your misfortune more palatable, and a lot more acceptable.
When bumped from a flight, the manager of ticket operations, as a minimum, should be the person to whom you make your deal with in accepting being bumped from your flight. If you do persist upon staying on the flight, and doing so belligerently and loudly, can end up seeing you in a locked room in the bowels of the airport terminal, with a taking to from the local police, state or federal aviation personnel, and possibly even homeland security if traveling in the continental United States.