passengers in plane (l) 100 dollar bills c) passengers in plane (r)

Maksym Dykha/Shutterstock @onlyinbos/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘I settled for $800 once’: Delta offers 13 passengers up to $4,000 to get off overbooked flight

'I be up so QUICK.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Sep 21, 2023

While it may seem kind of nuts for airlines to overbook flights, this is a fairly common practice in the industry. Mainly, it’s to maximize profits on each flight when there are no-shows and cancellations.

It’s not difficult to understand why any business would want to make as much money as possible, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some air commuters left in pretty uncomfortable situations as a result of these overbooking policies.

Since there are only so many seats on the plane, there are instances where some folks aren’t allowed to get on their regularly scheduled flight. As a result, airlines often negotiate with these fliers by offering certain incentives to get them to not take the flight.

These 13 Delta passengers found themselves in a unique position after they were on one such overbooked journey, and the airline was ready to give them $4,000 a piece to voluntarily give up their seats and take the next trip out of there.

@onlyinbos 13 passengers on an overbooked #Delta flight from #Boston to #Rome ♬ original sound – Only In Boston

The Only in Boston (@onlyinbos) TikTok account posted footage from the interior of an airplane headed from Beantown to Rome, Italy. Originally attributed to another user on the platform, Michaela Romano Smith (@michaelaromanosmith), a caption on the viral clip reads: “13 passengers on an overbooked #Delta flight from #Boston to #Rome were given between $2000-$4000 plus hotel rooms to voluntarily give up their seat on the plane due to the flight being overbooked.”

A Delta employee can be heard giving an announcement over the loudspeaker as she attempts to entice several air commuters to voluntarily give up their seats. It sounds like a sales pitch or an auction hall. “You can go shopping via gift card…I can’t, there has to be one passenger who wants to take one for the team?” the worker asks.

No one seems to be taking her up on her offer, and then she says, “$3,500,” folks on the plane start to chatter after hearing this number. “Come on guys $3,500 can somebody take one for the team!” she repeats.

The employee can be heard saying something about whoever comes first to the front of the plane to claim the offer will receive the gift card offer, plus their hotel covered, to take a delayed flight. At least two people can be seen standing up and walking towards the cockpit after the attendant makes this announcement.

Overbooking offers vary depending on the length of the journey and the cost of the flight. An international trip, in this instance, a flight from Boston, Massachusetts, to Rome, Italy, will almost always cost more than say, a domestic flight. The airline’s decision to overbook netted it more money than a flight with a shorter travel distance, making it fiscally viable for them to offer such a relatively high premium to voluntarily exit than other trips.

As one commenter wrote, “I settled for $800 once from delta i’d sprint for $3k.”

Another viewer said that they found themselves in a similar situation and there were more than enough air commuters who were willing to take the money and run. “My flight to rome had lots of people wanting to take it,” they said.

Someone else said that they would be more than willing to take this deal while they traveled. “I hope they do this when I leave Vegas to go home,” the user wrote.

“I would get up so quick byeeee,” another wrote.

The US Department of Transportation has delineated guidelines for how airline travelers can secure themselves money when they’ve been bumped from flights, along with what amounts of compensation they are entitled to based on the distance of their original commute.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Delta Airlines via email and Romano Smith via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Sep 21, 2023, 8:50 am CDT