DELTA UPS THE ANTE Gimme more. Gimme more.

Posted on 04/17/2017 | About Уса, Russia

So what bright young suit at Delta thought this up? Is it a joke, a PR stunt or has Delta lost its marbles? The airline reportedly will permit its employees to offer customers up to US $9,950 in compensation to give up seats on overbooked flights, hoping to avoid an uproar like the one that erupted at United after a passenger was dragged off a jet. Well, now that the top price is set and we have a no-drag-‘em-off rule - let the games begin!

Why get off for less

In an internal memo obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Delta said gate agents can offer passengers up to $2,000, up from a previous maximum of $800, and supervisors can offer up to $9,950, up from $1,350.

This, believes Delta, will make it easier to find customers willing to give up their seats. Agreed. Absolutely. But why would anyone now give up their seat for anything less? In fact, there are undoubtedly some smarty pants passengers out there right now googling the most heavily booked Delta routes and booking seats on them in the hope that the flight will be overbooked and they can graciously agree to be bumped for a hefty payout.

In fact, why not gather up a group of your pals and all book the busiest flights you can find – at least some of you are bound to get lucky.

Delta no doubt hopes that gate agents and their supervisors won't need to make maximum offers, and the financial cost to the airline is likely to be limited. If Delta paid $9,950 to every person it bumped involuntarily last year, that would total $12 million. Delta earned nearly $4.4 billion.

Oh well then…

United makes changes

United said it is reviewing its compensation policies, though (pay attention Delta) it would not disclose its current payment limit.

On Friday, a United spokeswoman said the airline changed its policy to require travelling employees to book a flight at least 60 minutes before departure.

Had the rule been in place last Sunday, United Express Flight 3411 still would have been overbooked by four seats, but United employees could have dealt with the situation in the gate area instead of on the plane.

Another new policy will no longer permit crew members to displace customers already onboard an airplane.

A little late – but hey, better late ...

Airlines taking stock

Other airlines said they were examining their policies. American Airlines updated its rules to say that no passenger who has boarded the plane will be removed to give the seat to someone else.

None would describe their limits on paying passengers (pay attention Delta).

When there aren't enough seats, airlines usually ask for volunteers by offering travel vouchers, gift cards or cash.

Overselling flights is a fact of life in the airline business.

Industry officials say that it is necessary because some passengers don't show up, and that overbooking keeps fares down by reducing the number of empty seats.

Ban the bump

The practice has been questioned, however, since video of the United Express incident went viral.

The dragging has turned into a public-relations nightmare for the entire industry, not just United, and led to calls from politicians and consumer advocates to suspend or ban overbooking.

If the airlines take the initiative by raising the limits, it “lets them solve some PR problems” and might head off US Transportation Department regulations to curb overbooking, said travel blogger, Gary Leff. “They can say, 'Look, we're already solving the problem.”'

An AP analysis of government data shows that in 2015 and 2016, Delta paid an average of $1,118 in compensation for every passenger that it denied a seat. Southwest Airlines paid $758, United $565, and American Airlines $554.

After the incident in Chicago, critics questioned why United didn't offer more when no passengers accepted the airline's $800 offer for volunteers to give up their seats.

“If you offer enough money, even the guy going to a funeral will sell his seat,” said Ross Aimer, a retired United pilot.