Last summer I had a Delta flight out of La Guardia bound for Detroit. It was a Saturday morning and the airport was swarming with passengers, the gate area for my flight was like a mosh pit. As we approached the time to board, a gate agent announced that the flight was oversold by seven passengers. An audible groan rippled through the waiting area as we all clutched our boarding passes and jockeyed further for position in the boarding process. This was not going to be easy.
The Delta / traveler negotiation process began when the agent offered the usual $400 travel voucher for anyone willing to take a later flight. In a delightful New York accent, a lady standing beside me smirked, “They’ll pay more.” Sure enough, moments later they announced that a $500 voucher was now available to any travelers with flexible travel plans. I smiled as I acknowledged the prophetic power of my fellow traveler. As my plans did not feel flexible, I gratefully made my way onto the plane.
After the plane was fully loaded, with the last few passengers jamming bags into the overhead bins, a voice rang out over the airplane announcement system that Delta still needed one more passenger to give up their seat. This time, however, they had upped the ante.