Late Bags, Bumped Flight? Airlines Pay Up

"So there's a possibility that tickets for most passengers could become more expensive," Danziger said.

Danziger offers a series of tips to help travelers avoid being bumped:

Make sure you have a seat assignment when booking your flight. Don't worry if it is a middle seat or if you and your travel companions are unable to find seats next to one another. As long as you have a seat assignment and check in on time, it's highly unlikely that you will be involuntarily bumped.

If you're traveling with children and are unable to find seats next to each other, I'd still recommend choosing your seats in advance, as oftentimes other passengers will make changes to accommodate family needs. Also, if you do get a middle seat, check back frequently as you can generally change your seat at any point up until the time you check in for your flight.

Check in online well before your flight departure time. By checking in you are basically telling the airline that yes, I will be on that flight and yes, I do need the seat I reserved in advance.

Make sure you get to the gate area at least 20 minutes before the flight leaves. Once everyone is boarded, the flight attendants will go on board and count heads and seats, and if there is one empty seat and you have missed the cutoff they will give your seat to someone waiting in the jetway. It's important not to be late, especially if a flight is full.

If you do get involuntarily bumped, ask the airline for a written statement detailing your rights as a passenger so you are fully informed (airlines are required to do this under current regulations). Airlines are required to give passengers who are involuntarily bumped compensation in the form of check or cash, so we recommend requesting this form of compensation as opposed to an airline credit, as travel credits can sometimes be more difficult to fulfill.

With reports from The Associated Press.

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