How I almost earned 2000$ on a flight

How I almost made 2000 USD on a flight

We arrive at our gate in Newark a little tired and no longer fully able to take it all in. We’ve already had a nine-hour flight here from Vienna. And although it was truly magical to see the New York skyline from the air, including the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty, exhaustion is making itself felt. My husband and I fall onto the uncomfortable seats right in front of Gate A29. Opposite us is a large family chatting loudly about some trivial matter. Everyone waiting to board is forced to more or less follow their conversations.

The speaker crackles and an announcement is made far too quietly. Something incomprehensible. So it can’t be too important. Then again. The words “volunteers” and “$1500” ring out. This makes me prick up my ears. Ahhhh! The airline has overbooked our flight to San José and is now looking for volunteers to travel tomorrow. I think for a moment and painfully remember when I booked our flights to Costa Rica and the prices were simply out of this world. Was this the compensation? I give my husband a knowing look. He has heard the announcement too and just shakes his head firmly. No then.

Nobody else responds either.

When the flight attendant then announces that they wouldn’t pay $1500 but $2000 to get on the next flight the following day, I jump up and walk quickly towards the staff desk at the gate. Although I can’t see my husband’s face, I know for sure that he doesn’t quite agree. After all, they are only looking for one person flying tomorrow. Not two. However, just before I reach the desk, a gentleman jumps up in front of me and starts talking to the staff. He hands over his passport. The employee then starts to work on her computer keyboard. Too bad – they were only looking for one volunteer and someone had beaten me to it.

When I get back to my husband, I look at him and let him know that I would gladly forgo our booked flights home if the airline had such a generous offer again. Who knows, maybe the $2000 will be waiting for me.

(Spoiler: the return flight was unfortunately not overbooked).

My takeaway: Being quick pays off.

Info: In the EU, delays and deboardings are regulated by law and capped at a maximum of €600 for long-haul flights. In the USA, the airline has free rein and can offer many times more, as we have just experienced.

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Grüß dich, I'm Viki!

At Chronic Wanderlust, I write about my two great passions: travelling and diving – and have been doing so since 2013.

I usually spend a solid majority of the year travelling to experience extraordinary underwater adventures, taking road trips through countries I don’t know (yet) or exploring my home country of Austria.

As a certified divemaster, passionate underwater & travel photographer, road trip enthusiast and individual traveller, I collect unique moments all over the world.

I don’t believe that severe cases of wanderlust – aka chronic wanderlust – can be cured, only treated. On this blog, I want to show you how this can best be realised.

Curious to get to know me better?