I traveled the country on business for almost twenty years, and flew most every airline that existed back then. I was never involuntarily bumped. Most of the bumping I experienced was on vacation in Hawaii, taking the little puddle jumpers between islands. I often bought a ten pass ticket, which allowed us, as a family, to fly standby for a very cheap price, as I recall, something in the neighborhood of $20 per flight! I can’t remember the name of that airline, perhaps Mid-Pacific?
The only angst that is caused was trying to get back to Honolulu for our flight back to the mainland. We never missed one, but cut it close several times. And travelling with two youngsters does not make it easy!
Back in the days of World Airlines, we flew on the “family” pass, basically a $50 fare but standby and a really low status for bumping. One trip required two bumps going, and three coming back!!! We ended up flying to LA, and buying a ticket on PSA to get back to the Bay Area?
But I have a good story to tell you about a recent voluntary bump from United. We were scheduled for the “red eye” flight to Washington DC from SFO. They asked for volunteers, and nobody responded. When they upped the ante, we jumped. We got meal vouchers, an overnight hotel at SFO, and guaranteed business class flights for the first flight out the next morning!! And two round trip domestic tickets anywhere United flies.
The thought of Delta offering up to $10,000 certainly may create a new job description for a retiree. I could see someone booking refundable tickets (the highest priced tickets) on Delta, and just wait to get an offer to be bumped. Do this once a week, and the net is close to $40,000!!!!