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What’s your time worth?  I always have a hard time answering that question.  I am a computer programmer by trade, and even when I was a contractor and actually BILLING BY THE HOUR, it always didn’t feel like it made sense.  It’s not like if I wasn’t at work, there was someone who was going to give me my hourly rate just to sit around.


I talked a few weeks ago about the rules for voluntary denied boarding (VDB or “the bump”) on Southwest.  You get the cost of your one-way ticket plus $100 if they can get you to your final destination within 2 hours, or $300 if it will be more than 2 hours.

In case a real-life example would be helpful, I thought I’d share our recent experiences.  Carolyn and I recently flew from Indianapolis to Las Vegas to attend a BoardingArea blogger conference.  Because I have the Southwest Companion pass, that makes flying on Southwest super attractive (since Carolyn flies free), so we drove from Cincinnati to Indy (Southwest doesn’t fly out of Cincinnati).  Dayton is closer, but there are direct IND-LAS flights.


Our flight left at 1:55 pm (Central time) and was scheduled to arrive at 2:50 pm (Pacific).  We followed all the bumping “rules” by not checking any bags, and arriving at the airport early.

At the IND airport

When we got there, I went up to the gate agent and asked if the flight was oversold.  The agent said she thought we’d be okay.  I stopped by as we got closer to the scheduled departure time, and a different agent said that they thought we might need 1.  I gave her my information and she said that since she only needed 1, they could accomodate 2, but would only compensate 1.

There were several other flights going to Las Vegas that afternoon

ind-las-southwest-flightsUnfortunately, the agent wouldn’t put me on any of the flights until the one connecting in ATL, arriving at 11:30 p.m.  She said that all of the other flights were already full.  I had heard stories of people that continued getting bumped and bumped on several different flights throughout the day, so I don’t know if that’s ever possible or if this is standard procedure.

Mrs. PWaC shuts down the bump

I put my name on the list, but after talking it over with Carolyn, we decided that we didn’t want to do this.  With a limited-time on our kid-free getaway, we decided we didn’t want to spend another 5 hours in the airport plus an extra 4 hours or so in the air (since the flight was connecting, and connecting the wrong way).  That’s not to mention the fact that we would be getting in at 2:30 in the morning our time.  That would have made me extra cranky when the hotel shuttle took an hour to show up!!

I wasn’t clear as to whether or not they eventually would have needed a 2nd person (that stuff changes all the time), nor what the exact compensation would be, but I was estimating it at close to $1000, if maybe a little less

So was it worth it?

But back to the beginning of the story – what would you do?

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