What’s the least you would be willing to accept to take a later flight? Delta is testing out a new auction-style method for dealing with oversell situations. When you check-in online or using an airport kiosk, you are asked (if the situation warrants) whether you’d be willing to take a later flight, and if so, how much you much you’d want from the Delta in the form of a voucher.
Unlike in the earlier phase of this program, members on Flyertalk are reporting that the Delta has moved to a "multiple price auction" (where each bidder gets his bid price, regardless of what other bidders get) rather than a "single price auction" (where everyone gets the highest bid). We don’t have data right now to see what the average compensation amount has been, but if sucessful this method of handling oversell situations may catch-on across the industry–at least in the United States.
My feelings are mixed. On the one hand, I have been in oversell situations before where the agent could not solitict enough volunteers and was forced to IDB passegners after sweetening the deal from $400 to $600. On the other hand, I have been on overbooked flights with a skirmish to volunteer and I’ve only won out due to my status on United (United processes VDBs by Mileage Plus status). That might not even come into play, however, in a multiple price auction.
And that’s the problem. I can work at the airport, in the air, or just about anywhere as long as I have my laptop in front of me so the issue of how much my time is worth does not really factor in. In that case, a $50 voucher would be better than nothing else, so I expect I would often find myself bidding for very low prices in oversell auction situtation.
Right now the standard VDB compensation is $400 on United and I think I’d rather stick with the sure thing rather than risk getting a smaller amount, even if I occasionally came out ahead under an auction method.
My rock bottom price would depend on what my new flight would like. Confirmed in first class in full F? Well, I wouldn’t need anything. Middle seat in the back of the plane? Sadly, I’d probably take $50. Looks like a win for the airlines…
What is your magic price?