United gives $10K travel voucher to ‘bumped’ passenger
A passenger who was bumped off a full flight has scored the maximum prize – a $10,000 travel voucher.
A spokesman for United Airlines confirmed Friday that a passenger got the big voucher “per our company policy.” He declined to name the person.
In a series of tweets, Allison Preiss of Washington, D.C., described how she was rewarded after being asked to give up her seat on a Thursday flight.
Preiss told The Associated Press she was waiting to board a flight from Dulles Airport outside Washington to Austin, Texas, for a bachelorette party. A broken seat meant the airline had one too many passengers.
Agents announced in the gate area that the flight was oversold, and they offered $800 vouchers, then raised it to $1,000 in travel credit, Preiss said.
“Since nobody volunteered, they then announced that the lowest-fare passenger would be pulled out of the boarding line,” Preiss said.
The agents raised the offer for volunteers one more time, to a $2,000 voucher, but when no one responded, Preiss was stopped from boarding the plane.
In her tweets, Preiss said that a United employee offered her $2,000 in travel credit but she wanted cash. Then an agent offered a $10,000 voucher.
“They really do not want to give me cash. They just offered me $10,000 in travel credit. TEN THOUSAND,” she tweeted.
She took it. Along with two $10 meal vouchers. United drew the line, however, at letting Preiss into one of its airport lounges, she said.
Preiss said she paid $163 for her one-way ticket, not counting taxes and fees.
Asked what she will do with the voucher, Preiss, who manages communications for a liberal advocacy group, told the AP, “Haven’t decided yet but I’m thinking Hawaii.”
United raised the amount airport employees could pay a bumped passenger to $10,000 last year after criticism over the violent dragging of a man off a full flight in Chicago.
Some experts doubted that United or Delta, which raised its maximum compensation for bumping passengers to $9,950, would ever pay out the maximum. United did not immediately say if any other passengers have received a $10,000 voucher.