Airlines often overbook their flights. Historical flight data tells airlines that on any particular flight, a percentage of passengers won’t show up to fill their seat. But when everyone shows up, then there’s more passengers than seats available. Those who check in last might be stuck without a seat.
When an airline has overbooked a flight and needs to remove some passengers. Federal law says the carrier must first ask for volunteers to give up their seats to take a later flight. Most airlines already offer this option in app. But now American Airlines is also offering a voucher in app for those volunteering their seats. If you like the amount offered then you can just give up your seat and take the money. No need to visit the ticket counter.
The reason why this is a great addition to the app is that you can volunteer your seat and be selected to take a later flight before you even get to the airport. That saves you a trip or along wait at the airport. But the negative side is that you have no option to negotiate agent for a better offer. It’s always a good idea to take a look at these offers if you’re selected as they can vary from a couple of hundreds and even up to $1,000 or more per person. If you have flexible travel plans, then it can be a great way to make some easy money.
In case you’re wondering what happens when no travelers give up their seat, airlines can select passengers to remove involuntarily. Those are the cases that make the news sometimes. If an airline picks a passenger to be removed involuntarily from an overbooked flight, federal law says the carrier doesn’t have to offer any compensation. That’s as long as they get that person to the final destination within an hour of the arrival time of the overbooked flight.