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How to Get Bumped for Free Travel

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for September, 1999

Tips on Getting Bumped

Getting bumped can be very lucrative. We just got travel vouchers for $600 apiece, and it wasn't even a full plane! High temperatures and high winds combined to lower the acceptable weight limit, so they were very anxious, and thus very generous.

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* Try to keep the day after your scheduled return as empty as possible, so if you have a chance to be bumped, you can take advantage of it
* If the lounge seems crowded, mention to the gate agent that you might be willing to be bumped--BEFORE they announce that they're looking for volunteers
* check on how quickly you can get routed to your final destination, judge the offer, and decide if it's worth it. Airlines start bidding pretty low sometimes, but if they don't get enough takers, they'll up the ante
* Especially if flying late at night or out of a very small airport where flights are limited, pack a change of clothes (or at least underwear), toothbrush, comb, medications, eyeglasses, your telephone address book, etc. in your carry-on bag. If you're bumped from a connecting flight, your luggage will continue on without you
* If you've requested a special meal and the special can't be transferred to your new flight, ask for a meal voucher
* Always be polite to the gate agent; the more flexible you can be, the more likely that you'll be the lucky volunteer

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