Getting Bumped from my Flight

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.

Radisson Room

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.

Radisson Lobby

Probably the best part however was the money card given as compensation, loaded with roughly 230€ that could be withdrawn via ATM.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.

Why Not Pin It for Later

Short Story: Getting Bumped from my Flight, via @travelsewhere


This post is part of The Weekly Postcard over at Caliglobetrotter. Please head on over for more great posts.
California Globetrotter

6 Comment

  1. So, maybe I should consider this the next time it’s offered! But we’re usually on a tight schedule so loosing a day would kinda suck unless we were going on a longer trip. I’m assuming you shared this because of what recently happened with United Airlines? Poor guy! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard David!

  2. Yes, I have volunteered to give up my seat and it was a good experience, it was in the US so I got flight credit rather than cash. I have tried to volunteer my seat on other occasions too but you really have to be fast. I should also say there is a big difference between volunteering to give up your seat and being bumped without a choice – which luckily has not happened to me. Thanks for sharing your experience on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  3. Anna says: Reply

    Never happened to me! looks like it was totally worth it for you: great hotel and even a compensation… Hotels in Zurich are so overpriced, that I definitely wouldn´t mind the same thing happening to me there! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  4. From what I understand you weren’t actually ‘bumped up.’ You rather volunteered to give up your seat in exchange for a compensation. There are people who unwillingly are forced to give up their seat, like it recently happened to some passengers on United Airlines. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. David says: Reply

      I agree that my experience was far different from those who are unwillingly bumped from a flight, but volunteering or not you are compensated. In my case, the flight was overbooked and required a person not to take their scheduled flight, so even though I volunteered, I’d still consider it being bumped. PS. I wrote this a long time before the recent nastiness with United but thought it timely to show the benefits when you are able to volunteer in this situation.

  5. Wherejogoes says: Reply

    Thank goodness you weren’t flying with united or I’d be looking at pics of you with a black eye lol! Glad it worked out for you. #TheWeeklyPostcard

Leave a Reply