This woman got kicked off her flight and got a $10,000 travel voucher

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Getty Images | Bruce Bennett

No one wants to “volunteer” their seat on a flight, but unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all of the time. Whether the flight was overbooked, or say, a seat was broken, as in the case of Allison Preiss, the chances of you coming across an airline asking for passengers to volunteer to take a different flight are pretty good.

When Preiss was asked to give up her seat on a flight from Washington D.C. to Austin, Texas, she was given a $10,000 travel voucher in return.

How did she pull this off? United Airlines seemed pretty willing to keep Preiss happy after she was forced to book a last-minute flight due to her original flight being cancelled because of weather.

“I never asked for a larger amount—the agent just escalated quickly,” Preiss told the Washington Post.

In many ways, Preiss just got lucky. But, their willingness to keep Preiss happy could have had something to do with the fact that she live-tweeted the entire event:

Preiss was ecstatic to book a flight after the original cancellation:

But then, she found out someone was going to get bumped from the flight:

She was going to be the one:

Apparently, she couldn’t fly because there was a broken seat:

When she asked for cash instead of a voucher — which you are allowed to do, by the way — the airline decided to up the amount of her voucher.

To a whopping $10,000:

According to the Department of Transportation, airlines are required to provide “compensation” for anyone who is kicked off of a flight. That can come in the form of a check, cash or a voucher.

Airlines tend to offer vouchers first, ensuring you’ll fly with them again, but you have the right to ask for another means of payment, instead. This is good to know because there’s a chance you could wind up with even more money than originally promised in the form of a voucher, just like Preiss.

In fact, Business Insider points out that volunteering to give up your seat can be a very lucrative side business.

If any of your next trips meet these qualifications, you may want to consider trying to score some extra money when you travel:

1. Your Arrival Time Is Flexible

Of course, if there’s a wedding or meeting that you must make it to at a certain time, you’re not going to want to be jumping in line to volunteer your seat, so your flexibility is definitely something you’ll need to keep in mind.

2. You Didn’t Check A Bag

If you didn’t check a bag, then it will be much easier for you to volunteer your seat. That way, you won’t have to deal with retrieving your luggage or losing some of your voucher to fees you already paid to check a bag for a flight you won’t be boarding.

3. You Have A Back-Up Plan

Having a back-up plan is important. If you know there’s some place you could stay or another flight you could board if you do choose to volunteer and give up your seat, it’ll be much easier for you to do so and get a little extra money in the process.

Of course, you could also be entitled to money for other reasons when you travel. For instance, if your flight is delayed, you could be owed compensation. Apps such as AirHelp make it easy to know under which circumstances you’re entitled to money back, etc.

Knowing your rights as a passenger can help make traveling easier. So, the next time an airline calls for volunteers, at least now you’ll be a little more prepared. And hey—you could stand to earn thousands in travel vouchers, so maybe the inconvenience factor of taking a different flight wasn’t so inconvenient, after all.

Just look at Preiss—she’s thinking she may go to Hawaii.

“No firms plans yet, but I’m thinking about Hawaii. :),” she wrote in an email to the Washington Post.

Where would you go with $10,000 worth of free travel?

About the Author

Augusta Statz

Augusta Statz holds a B.F.A. in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She's an avid writer with a genuine sense of curiosity. She feels the best way to absorb the world around you is through fashion, art and food, so that’s what she spends most of her time writing about. More.

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