Avoid being bumped off a flight!

US military aviator ejects from doomed jetHow can you avoid the evil that plagues the industry, namely that of airlines over-booking, resulting in you being ‘bumped’ off your flight?  While there is no convenient time to be bumped, it is always worst on the busiest weekends and holidays, such as during Easter or Christmas.

Whilst some travellers enjoy getting vouchers for free flights, most of us simply want to be on the flight on the date and time that we originally booked.

Some airlines have so many rules about the use of their vouchers that people actively avoid them.  For instance the complicated Ryanair voucher rules include the following:

  • the name on the voucher must exactly match the name on your passport,
  • if the voucher does not cover the full amount then you will have to pay the card fee when you pay the difference,
  • the vouchers are only valid in the issuing currency,
  • if the voucher is for more than the fare then you lose the excess portion,
  • there is a fee for handling the vouchers,
  • you cannot use more than four vouchers per flight,
  • you can only redeem the voucher online, and
  • they expire after six months.

Be there way before time

If you are on a domestic flight and the check in time is one hour and it’s a busy time, such as holiday season, be there two hours before departure,  If its an international flight and its two hours before departure, rather spend an extra hour at the airport, safe in the knowledge that you are on the plane than miss some important non-repeatable event such as a wedding or funeral, or a get-together or special family occasion.


Airlines are increasingly getting on the bandwagon of squeezing more revenue from their customers by charging for pre-seating.  However it is still worthwhile to be pre-seated and actually have a seat number assigned to your name before check in.  Why?  It is much easier for the airline to bump someone with no seat number.  They can still do it, of course, but the likelihood is reduced.  (Over-booking is illegal in terms of consumer protection laws in some jurisdictions, but even that does not seem to give the airlines pause on the practice, since it is easy for them to obscure the fact.)

Online Check in

If your travel agent has warned you that flights are full for the time in which you are travelling, we strongly recommend online check-in.  Same rule applies as the pre-seating, in that you have an assigned seat number, but being checked in adds much more protection against being bumped than just pre-seating.

We have online check-in links for many major airlines here http://diytravelexpert.com/airline-check-in/  [There is also a permanent link from the top menu of this site]  This feature of DIY Travel Expert is now being copied by a number of travel agent’s sites, who first saw it here! (*)


(*) We saw the visits from their domains in the log files, then a few days later … a similar feature appeared on their site.  No credit given, unfortunately.

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