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.
That's well above what is required by federal regulations in situations where a passenger is involuntarily removed from an overbooked flight. Under those guidelines, anyone who is bumped and arrives one to two hours after the expected arrival time is entitled to 200 percent of the ticket cost with a $675 maximum. Anything beyond two hours makes the price jumps to 400 percent of the original ticket with a $1,350 maximum. Basically, employees are being given the green light to do whatever it takes to avoid a situation resembling United's tire fire.