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> But from passengers' point of view, there aren't always enough people who'll voluntarily accept an offer to transfer to a different flight once they are at the gate awaiting boarding

There are; they just won't accept any offer. Most of the airline offers I have been offered in this situation were paltry: reschedule and some airline "credit".

Give me a partial or full refund, and I'll be much more willing to volunteer. Otherwise, you're seeing passengers value their time higher than some credit and lost time.

I've seen some very lucrative offers. Like $500 credit, upgrade to first class tomorrow, AND a 4-star hotel room. That might not be the norm, but that's a pretty amazing deal.

I was held at checkin for an Economy Plus BA flight from San Diego to London and they asked for volunteers to get the next flight (same time the next day) and you would get $800 cash (prepaid credit card) and a hotel room for the night.

A few people took the offer, I didn't. As a result they denied me boarding and gave me the exact same deal, except it was a $1250 pre-paid credit card. I never expected to be quite so happy about not being allowed on a plane.

At least in the US, involuntarily getting bumped from a flight requires mandatory compensation in some instances (if the arrival delay is >1 hour): https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer...

There was a story a little while back that claims that customers may not actually get those credits. Basically, this guy only got it because the media picked up on it. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/air-canada-reneges-on-compe...

I was pulled off an Ethiad flight in Abu Dhabi back in 2011. They gave be a night in a 4-star hotel, 3 free meals and $300 in credit which never got used.

They were asking everyone and most people refused. I should have bartered harder to get an upgrade to business.

Wouldn't exactly say so. They always escalate their offers, starts off being quite meager, but eventually a few hundred bucks credit plus a hotel isn't bad.

On the flip side, I've seen an offer which looked extremely tempting, except I don't think my employer which was paying for the flights would have seen it that way...

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