Free Plane Tickets
Every single day hundreds of people get free plane tickets from major airlines (American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, Air Canada, jetBlue, SouthWest Airlines, and so on). Even if the airline companies lose money, they figure they can make it back using the method described here.
Why would airlines give away free tickets?
More importantly how does it work?! First, you must understand that all major airlines overbook their flights. For example, if an American Airlines plane carries 100 people, they will sell 110 tickets, assuming that about 10% of them won’t show up. A lot of people actually miss their flights because they arrived at the airport late and missed the plane, were too ill to travel, or simply changed their mind at the last minute.
Since airlines want to maximize their profit while simultaneously not piss people off, they have devised a brilliant plan. If a flight is overbooked and everyone shows up (or at least one person beyond the plane’s seating capacity), they have to kick people off the plane. In order to keep passengers satisfied, they offer financial incentives.
Just before boarding, the airline representatives will announce that the plane is oversold and ask if anyone wants to step off. People with the most flexible schedules will agree and as a “thank you” the airline will typically reward the person with hundreds of dollars in airline ticket coupons. These vouchers are usually good for one year and up to about $500 off your next flight. That’s quite the discount, especially if you paid less for the ticket in the first place. Yes, they actually give you more than you paid to compensate you for the inconvenience.
How to optimize your chances of getting free plane tickets
One way to increase the odds of you being the one chosen to step off the plane is to volunteer at the desk, before they even make an announcement. This can be very effective, especially during peak travel periods such as December 23 & 24th. You will arrive at your destination a little later and have a free second flight on your back pocket!
Oh, and when do you get to where you want to go? The airline will place you on the next flight out or a flight that requires a transfer. Sometimes you can get a voucher for $300 for a 1 hour wait. Not bad at all! For the record, I have been in exactly this situation and received the voucher. Trust me, it’s great!
Note that these free plane ticket deals rarely include a free companion airline ticket meaning that if you are traveling with someone, they won’t be included unless enough people showed up for the flight and they needed multiple people to step off the plane. Even then, other people may have stepped forward and asked to be on the list of passengers wanting to be booted in exchange for a free plane ticket voucher. So two free airline tickets is not out of the question, you just have to play your cards right and hope a couple of people don’t show up to your overbooked plane!
One Last Way to Get Free Airline Tickets
There are a few completely different ways to get free plane tickets. They all revolve around free airline ticket promotions. Credit card airline tickets are essentially free if you spend a certain amount on the card. There are various promotions such a Wendy’s and Polident which gave away free tickets. Free airline tickets for military personnel are sometimes available as well.
More Free Discount Travel Tips
The CitynetMagazine Travel Guide provides a number of articles to help you get the most out of traveling. Check out how to book a discount hotel room and how to get really cheap flights as well. Looking for something more exquisite? Try the private jets guide.