An oversold flight prompted Delta Air Lines to offer thousands of dollars to passengers willing to give up their seats and take a later flight to Minnesota.
Passengers on board the flight from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Minneapolis, Minnesota were told the plane was overbooked after boarding had already begun, The Independent reported. Airline staff told passengers they needed eight volunteers willing to take a later flight, and in exchange those passengers would be given $10,000 each, The Independent reported.
Jason Aten, a columnist for Inc. magazine, wrote that he was on board the flight with his family, as part of a planned trip to Alaska. He wrote an article for the magazine about the experience, saying that Delta was offering the money immediately, with the flight attendant saying, “If you have Apple Pay, you’ll even have the money right now.”
“They came on the PA system and said that they were looking for volunteers and that they were willing to pay $10,000, which everyone assumed they’d heard it wrong,” Aten told WOOD-TV.
Aten told Fortune that he and his family declined to take the money.
“The reason we didn’t jump on it was because they didn’t initially say how many volunteers they needed,” Aten told Fortune. “Had we known it was eight, we would have gotten off. By the time that was clear, four or five people had already left.”
Another passenger who said they were on the flight, Todd McCrumb, posted his experience on Twitter, saying that he was unable to take the offer because of his wife’s health limitations.
Delta changed its policy in 2017, increasing the maximum payout to passengers for voluntary denied boardings from $1,350 to $9,950, CNBC reported at the time.
A Delta spokesperson did not confirm or deny the money offered to people on the recent flight, but said, “The ability to provide compensation empowers our employees to take care of our customers and get our aircraft out on time.”
In a letter to customers Thursday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian apologized for recent delays and cancellations, as the airline battled weather delays coupled with understaffing. In the letter, Bastian said that Delta is shifting its employees and making logistical changes to prevent delays and cancellations, ABC News reported.
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