Delta is now willing to give you a lot more money when you voluntarily give up your seat on an overbooked flight. The airline has increased its maximum payout from $1,350 to $9,950, according to an internal memo obtained by the Associated Press.
The change appears to be a direct response to the United Airlines fiasco. United has been dealing with a PR nightmare after a video of a passenger being dragged from his seat went viral. It wasn't just a horrid way to treat a person, it has been a financial mess as well. The situation precipitated a large stock tumble, refunds for every passenger on the flight, the potential for litigation, and calls for boycotts in the U.S. and China.
Authorizing employees to offer more money is an easy way to reduce the potential for a similar disaster. In the search for a volunteer to be rebooked, United stopped at $800. In retrospect, it may have saved a lot of money by offering more to a volunteer.
Of course, Delta won't start offers at $9,950 and they are likely betting they'll have volunteers at lower amounts. However, the policy gives employees leeway. Gate agents are now authorized to offer $2,000, up from the previous maximum of $800. Supervisors are authorized to go to $9,950, up from the previous ceiling of $1,350.