How to Get Free Flights, Free Hotels, and Cash from Airlines

If you have watched the news lately or if you are a frequent traveler you’ve probably heard about the United Airlines huge mess dragging off a paying customer from the plane.  If you haven’t, read more here.
Now, there is probably much debate surrounding this incident and I’m not going to give my opinion on it.  I’d rather focus on teaching you how to maximize the opportunity that arises often when airlines overbook their flights which happens all the time.  I can’t figure out why they can’t figure this out.  I guess I don’t understand their antiquated systems.  Anyway, when these situations arise this is your time to cash in on free flights, free hotels, and sometimes just plain cash money.
What you might not know is that the airlines will pay you a nice some of money to give up your seats.  When the airlines are desperate for space they will pay even more.  They will also pay for your hotel or give you a hotel voucher.  And now after this United Airlines debacle they will be ponying up more money to save themselves crazy situations that will end up in a huge lawsuit against the airline.  So when they make that call over the loud speaker pay attention.  Families especially can make out big time in these situations.  Recently it was reported that a New York family of three traveling with Delta Airlines earned a grand total of $11,000 in flight vouchers and gift cards for being willing to give up their seats after days of delays according to CNN Money.

How to negotiate with the airlines for TOP DOLLAR
The Begley family is a perfect example to follow. On Wednesday, April 5 storms were out of control in Atlanta and Delta canceled about 150 flights and needed to rebook thousands of passengers.  So the Begley family knew they could negotiate when offered $900 to give up there seats.  They counter offered asking for $1,500 per seats for the family of three which totaled $4,500.  The airline wouldn’t give $1,500 but counter offered $1,350 for a total of $4,050.  Not too bad!  They family came back the next day and the flights were still overbooked.  I bet you didn’t even know you could negotiate with the airlines. YES, you most certainly can.  I’ve read that airlines by law are allowed to pay up to 400% of ticket value up to $1,350 a ticket.  The Begley family continue in their pursuit of free travel the next day when they returned to the airport.  The weather was still horrid and they gave up their seats the second day for a total of $3,950 in vouchers.  Now they had raked in a total of $8,000 in two days.  I love it!!!
They return the next day (day three) and the flights were still overbooked and this time Delta offered to refund their tickets and give them and extra $1,000 each for the inconvenience.  So another $3,000 into their pockets and with a grand total of $11,000 over the course of 3 days they finished their score! Hats off to this family!  I had to write about them when I heard their story.  They did everything perfectly!  They certainly “Made some lemonade out of lemons!”

So the lesson here is the next time you hear the loud speaker ask for passenger who are willing to give up their seats think cash money!!!  If your schedule allows, you could probably make some money for another trip just by changing your schedule a little.  You certainly aren’t going to rake in $11,000 every time but there is free travel to be made if you are looking for it.  Obviously, anytime you are traveling in extreme weather with canceled flights and delays the more likelihood airlines are going to offer you a high value to give up your seat; in this case the stars are aligning for your perfect score!!

Airlines often oversell seats and have been doing this forever.  I guess the logics that airlines have is that people will not show for their flights but when everyone who is booked actually does they have serious problems and start shelling out cash to the people in the know.  My hope is that you will now be one of those kinds of travelers.
So keep your ears perked up!  Also you can always go up to the desk and volunteer to be bumped if they need seats.  So next time you travel, never leave any “free travel” on the table!!

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