Overbooking / Volunteering to be Bumped for Flight Voucher
Overbooking is a common phenomenon for the airlines. Sometimes an agent at the gate will have to solicit volunteers to give up their seats on an overbooked flight. When the agent cannot get a passenger to volunteer, they will have to involuntarily remove someone off the flight. These passengers are commonly known as “invols”.
If the agent solicits volunteers, the passengers who volunteer will receive a voucher for later travel and will be booked later or the next day. Sometimes the airlines will also offer food vouchers. The volunteer passenger or “vol” will wait until the flight leaves and then receive the voucher
In most cases, the airline’s Revenue Management department will advise of the amount the agent will be able to offer. In general, the days of the agent being able to keep going up and up on the voucher amount are over.
If you are involuntarily removed from an overbooked flight (“invol”) – you will be offered a voucher or a check at the airport after the flight has departed. The voucher is just almost always more than the check amount. ALWAYS TAKE THE CHECK!!!! If for some reason you elect to take the voucher, use it quickly. Airlines like to give the voucher due to a realistic probability the passenger will not use it before it expires (usually within 1 year).