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Recently I spent a few days at a conference for work in the Raleigh-Durham area. I had bought a Basic Economy ticket – total fare of about $350 roundtrip, though I used part of my airline credits from credit cards to offset part of the cost. Basic Economy doesn’t come with a seat selection, which was fine since I was traveling by myself, and on Delta, you still get a carryon bag. My first inkling of potential trouble was on the outbound leg, where I ended up in Seat 19A of a 20 row airport. I’m usually not that far back, so this portended a potential Delta Airlines bump voucher coming down

Getting a Delta Bump voucher

For the return leg, I checked in right around the 24 hour mark, and got 2 ominous messages. First of all, I didn’t have a seat.

Then, I saw they were looking for volunteers

I posted over on the free Points With a Crew Miles and Points Facebook group looking for suggestions and in the end, I decided to just put in $200, since this is totally non-binding and I figured getting on the list would at least give me options

Trying to find a better way home

My flight was a direct flight RDU-CVG leaving at 6:10 p.m. My conference was over at lunchtime, and there was a 1:30 p.m. flight leaving RDU connecting in Atlanta that would actually have gotten me into CVG a few hours earlier. I tried calling Delta the morning of the flight, but they said that it was only oversold by 2 and they wouldn’t do any compensation until the gate (by which time this earlier flight would have left).

So off to the airport it was. Even at the airport, I tried talking to a different Delta gate agent as well as going to the Delta Assist center, but neither of them wanted to work with me. I got to our gate about 75 minutes before departure time and talked with the gate agent. I told him that I had a price if he could get me home tonight, and a different price if I had to wait till the next morning. He said he couldn’t get me home that evening – there were flights leaving RDU to DTW and ATL right around the same time that would have gotten me home with a connection but he said they were full. I don’t know if they were REALLY full or if he just didn’t want to deal with the paperwork while he was trying to get the flight out the door

Getting a Delta Airlines bump gift card for being passenger #51 on a 50 seat aircraft

The Standby list did NOT look good….

After everyone was boarded, there was 1 other person with me (I assume HEW/J). I was talking with him and he said that he had also volunteered. I asked him what he asked for and he said that the gate agent told him it was also $1000. I asked him if they could only take 1, if he wanted to stay or go. He said that he’d stay. I was fine either way. $1000 is nice, but it’s not life changing money and I would have liked to see my family as well. It turned out that the pilot said that due to weather he could only take 49 passengers and 54 bags. But since there were only 36 bags, they could fit a 50th passenger and they took HEW/J.

When the agent came back, there was a bunch of paperwork to sign and then I was off to the hotel!

Here’s a list of Delta Airlines bump gift card options.

The way the Delta Airlines bump gift cards work is that you get an email within 24 hours or so (mine arrived within 2 hours), and then you can choose which card you want (I will be choosing the Amex Gift Card). I also got a hotel voucher, and 3 $15 meal vouchers. All in all, not too bad for a night’s work!

Ever been bumped by Delta Airlines? Have a good Delta Airlines bump gift card story? Leave it in the comments

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