During my first month back in Europe last year, I planned to visit Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia after visiting family friends in Switzerland. I knew I had a set amount of time before attending a friend’s wedding in Belgium so I ended up booking a flight from Zurich to Sarajevo as it seemed to be the quickest and easiest way.
Arriving at the airport in the afternoon, everything was smooth sailing and I got to my gate with plenty of time to spare. Quite some time before boarding, the staff at the gate made an announcement stating the flight looked to be overbooked and seeking any individuals willing to volunteer to take a flight the next day. Having missed an opportunity to be bumped once before, I quickly decided I could arrive in Sarajevo a day later and raced to the check-in counter. I was the first of 4 people to volunteer and was told to wait until everyone else had boarded to see if it would be necessary to be bumped. In the end, I was the only passenger bumped from the flight.
After some waiting around at the gate, the staff member helped arrange flights for me for the following morning, as well as a nights stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel that is actually at the airport. The Radisson Blu Zurich Airport is a quality 4* Hotel and much nicer digs than I’m used to. For example, the lobby had a towering wine rack, managed by two bartenders hooked up to wires who performed acrobatic moves high above the ground.
Probably the best part however was the money card given as compensation, loaded with roughly 230€ that could be withdrawn via ATM. With that money, I effectively flew to Sarajevo for free and also had a couple days of sightseeing on the airline’s dime. All of the compensation definitely made up for missing a day’s sightseeing in Sarajevo, especially when I still had 2 days there. My advice is if you find yourself with a similar opportunity, immediately evaluate whether it’s right for you and if so, be quick to ensure you don’t miss out. Getting bumped from my flight is certainly something I’d do again.
Have you ever been bumped from a flight, willingly or unwillingly? What was your experience like? Feel free to share in the comments below.
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