United Paid $90,000 in Travel Vouchers to Get Passengers to Downgrade From First Class (Video)
United Airlines offered nine passengers a reported $10,000 each after downgrading them from first class to premium plus on a flight from Newark to Honolulu.
Over the weekend, the airline had to swap out its planned Boeing 777 aircraft for a Boeing 767-300 which had less first class capacity. Due to the lack of space, the airline asked for volunteers to downgrade, according to travel blog View From the Wing.
However a supposed nearby social media user took to Twitter shared that the deal was pretty sweet as those who accepted the downgrade were given a $10,000 voucher.
"Honolulu flight from Newark is leaving from gate adjacent to mine. They just announced $10,000 voucher for each 10 downgrade volunteers from business to premium plus (same flight) because of equipment swap. Wow!" they wrote in the screen-grabbed tweet.
Although a United spokesperson clarified to Travel + Leisure that nine passengers were given vouchers, they did not confirm the money amount specified in the tweet.
"Occasionally we have to change aircraft at the last minute and when that happens, we try to make the impact to customers as minimal as possible," they said in a statement.
Premium plus, which gives more legroom, an amenity kit and premium plus meal options does not have lie-flat seats like first class.
If an airline cannot get a passenger to their destination within one hour of the scheduled arrival time, the passenger is entitled to compensation, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. If passengers are involuntarily bumped from their flights, they are eligible to receive up to 400 percent of their one-way fare if they arrive more than two hours after their scheduled time.
View From the Wing also reported in 2018 that a traveler was offered a $10,000 United credit when her flight was oversold after a snowstorm.
Last week, United introduced a $5 increase to its checked bag fees. The first checked bag for domestic economy passengers will now cost $35 and a second checked bag will cost $45. The move follows JetBlue's price increase that happened in January.