Man listening to Gate Agent at Delta Airlines Gate; Phone with blue background showing Delta Logo

@simonealdredge/TikTok Miguel Lagoa/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘From $700 to $1,200’: Passenger films Delta agent ‘auctioning’ off vouchers. It doesn’t go as planned

‘I always bargain with them.’


Allyson Waller


Posted on Aug 12, 2023

A viral TikTok video is showing just how far airlines are willing to go to get passengers to accept travel vouchers and change flights.

TikTok creator Simone (@simonealdredge) shared a video of her husband waiting in an airport when an employee with Delta announced he was offering a $700 gift card for people on a flight to Pittsburg. The employee then upped the offer all the way to $1,200. 

In the video, Simone’s husband smiles with his headphones on while recording the audio at the airport gate. 

@simonealdredge i cannot make this up. today at jfk AGAIN 😂 from $700 to $1,200 #karlneedsaraise #voteforkarl #jfk #fyp #fypシ #delta #flight #airport #auction #heneedsaraise ♬ original sound – Simone

“You will receive compensation in the form of a gift card: American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Amazon, Best Buy, and AirBnB, just to name a few,” the airport employee told passengers. “It’s your choice.” 

Simone captioned the video that the employee’s name was Karl and noted how she previously witnessed a similar ordeal while waiting for a flight. 

According to USA Today, when a flight is oversold, airlines almost always resort to offering customers vouchers to switch flights. If no passengers take the over, government regulations specify cash payments would be required for “involuntary” removing someone from a flight. 

Airlines may oversell their flights in order to compensate for “no-shows,” predicting the correct number of “no-shows” most of the time, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Generally, airlines are not supposed to involuntary bump passengers if they’ve already boarded a flight.

In a phone interview with the Daily Dot, Delta spokesperson Drake Castañeda confirmed that it’s not out of the ordinary for gating agents to solicit volunteers for travel vouchers. The reason for overselling is that data and algorithms show there’s usually an average number of people who will miss certain flights, he said.

The Daily Dot reached out to Simone via TikTok comment. 

Commenters on Simone’s video largely said they would jump at the chance to be offered a $ 1,000 travel voucher. 

“I’ve done that, they gave me $1200, a hotel stay for the night and $300 in food vouchers that I could use at the hotel and in the airport,” one commenter said. 

“$1200 and a hotel voucher I would’ve been sold,” a user commented. 

“I always bargain with them,” another person said. “They do always put you on the next flight and pay for hotel, car, and food!!”

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*First Published: Aug 12, 2023, 8:04 pm CDT