Marginal Revolution posted this photo of a voluntary bump screen on a Delta Airlines automated kiosk. Instead of offering bump vouchers to anyone interested, they now ask in advance how much you would be willing to accept for a bump.
Pay close attention to the “Delta accepts lower bids first” text – which is a great way for the airline to pay much less than they’d normally hand out.
Inexperienced fliers may be tempted to settle for $100, or even less – just for taking a later flight. But keep in mind that a “normal” bump entitles you to much more. Normally with voluntary bumps, the airline may start at $150, and keep going up. Once they can’t find volunteers and start switching to involuntary bumps, they will have to pay a maximum of $400 ($800 if they can’t rebook you a different flight).
In other words – if the airlines gets enough suckers to settle for $100, they’ll make a fortune. Don’t be one of those suckers. The terminal apparently only settles for numbers under $400, so make sure your numbers are always around that amount. Sure, be competitive with others, and go for $398 (folks on the Price is Right do that all the time), but don’t spoil the system with low-ball offers.