A group of passengers waiting to board a flight in New York found themselves staging an “impromptu gameshow” to see how high they could push airline compensation, one passenger reported.
The unnamed airline had asked for volunteers from the group to take an alternative flight, offering $500 (£415) compensation for the inconvenience, said Mike Drucker, one passenger present at the gate.
“At JFK. Guy behind the counter asks for a volunteer to give up a seat for $500. Nothing.” wrote Mr Drucker on Twitter.
As the airline employee raised the offer to $550, he claimed: “The crowd suddenly coalesces to shout ‘HIGHER!’ like it was a game show.
“$750. ‘HIGHER!’ $800. ‘NOT IN NEW YORK! GO HIGHER!’” he wrote. After some of this auction-style bartering, he added, there was a taker. “They applauded the elderly woman who took it at $1,100.”
The practice of “bumping” passengers from overbooked flights is more common in the US than in Europe, with airlines required to compensate passengers for their trouble.
The US Department of Transportation calls this “involuntary denied boarding”. The amount airlines pay passengers who are denied boarding in this manner can range from hundreds of dollars in airline credit or vouchers to thousands of dollars in cash.
In June, eight Delta Air Lines passengers were astonished when they were each offered $10,000 to take a later flight.
In 2017, a British family of three was awarded £8,866 for giving up their seats on an overbooked Delta flight from New York to Florida.
On 20 December, The Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr had tweeted about a similar incident, saying: “Delta needed somebody to give up their seat, they OPENED the bidding at a $1,500 ON A GIFT CARD.
“None of that flight voucher bullshit. Gotta respect that. Whole plane stood strong and held out. Never accept the first offer.”
Followers on the social media platform were tickled by the hardy group of air travellers and their collective efforts to raise the stakes.
“I love New York City because it’s a place where a diverse group of people of different ages, beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences can come together as one if it means f**king with somebody else making them wait in line,” joked Mr Drucker.
“99 per cent of the time the chaos breaks people at the airport. 1 per cent of the time the…