LANSING, Mich. – How much is your airplane seat worth? Not $10,000 for at least one Delta passenger who dropped the offer on a recent flight.
Jason Aten, 42, of Lansing, Michigan, said he and his family flew from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 27. They were on their way to Anchorage, Alaska, for a two-week RV vacation.
“We had boarded and the flight attendant came over the PA and announced that they were looking for volunteers who were willing to give up their seats for $10,000,” Aten told FOX Television Stations. “At first everyone thought it was a mistake. Then she made the announcement again, adding, ‘if you have ApplePay, now you even have the money’.”
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Aten said some passengers initially thought she meant frequent flyer miles rather than cash.
Anyway, Aten and his family chose to stay put. He said he had eight members in his party, and it was not clear how many volunteers would be needed to relinquish their seats.
“It definitely happened quite quickly, and separating a family with four children is not as easy as it seems,” he added.
Ironically, the flight attendant announced that the airline was looking for eight volunteers. However, Aten said at least four people had taken up the offer by then. He added that some other eager passengers ultimately declined the offer because Delta would not be able to accommodate them for several days.
But Aten said he doesn’t regret not taking the money, even writing about it in his online column.
“For starters, it was never our money,” he continued. “Sure, $10,000 per person is a lot of money, and anyone can start spending that in their head, but we had a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.”
However, he said that if he was given a second chance, he would do it differently.
“I think we can all agree that if it ever happened again, we would be the first of the flight,” he added.
FOX Television Stations has contacted Delta Airlines for comment. In 2017, however, the airline acknowledged that it was willing to offer passengers a hefty offer of cash to give up their seat.
Overselling flights is a fact of life in the airline industry. Industry officials say it’s necessary because some passengers don’t show up, and overbooking keeps fares low by reducing the number of empty seats.
According to TIME, the amount that airlines are willing to pay has increased year on year, but under the law, the compensation rate typically ranges between $775 and $1,550, depending on the price of the traveler’s ticket and the length of the delay.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.