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
Unfortunately, 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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I generally feel that if I am travelling by myself and don’t mind getting somewhere later than planned, I would take the bump. Travelling with a partner or family could make the extra time or late arrival a nightmare. Plus, if you have lounge access and decent Wifi, you can pass the time pretty easily.
Yup that’s how I felt – we just didn’t want to spend our (short) time alone in the airport. If it had been $1000 cash that might have been a different story though…
I have turned down similar compensation going to aruba last year. Had it not been a short getaway with my wife, I would have taken it. It wasn’t with losing a day of vacation.
Yup – that’s EXACTLY how I felt. If it had been just me, or if we had unlimited time, we’d have done it. But this was a Thursday afternoon and we had to be back Sunday morning. We wanted to spend our time together not at the airport…
I still want to figure out a way to play the “bump” game at the airport one day…. but this just wasn’t that day
So we’re they offering $1,000 per person (you had mentioned them only needing one) or was it $500 per person? That is a really big bump bonus for a domestic flight (I mean, if it was $1,000 per person)!
No – it was somewhere around $500 / person. We never got down to what the actual compensation was, but based on Southwest’s policies, it would have been somewhere around $1000 total.It probably would have been a little less, and maybe a lot less, depending on if they only needed 1 or 2 VDBs
The compensation is whatever you paid for your ticket plus the $100 or $300. I’m not sure they would compensate a free CP ticket anything more than the $100 or $300. Last year I needed to fight to get the correct compensation for a flight because it was paid in points. Eventually I did get it, so I got $440 for giving up a badly delayed flight for a flight the next day. Southwest also provided a room and a meal voucher.