Q. Are airlines allowed to oversell seats? I recently bought a ticket on-line with American, and when I got to the gate, was told there was no seat for me. The counter people said this is very common, that the airline often oversells seats. When this happens, they just pay other passengers to give up their seats. Is this practice allowed?
A. Yep, it is allowed although "only" about 65,000 passengers were involuntarily bumped last year out of millions. They're supposed to compensate you with a cash payment depending on how inconvenienced you were getting to your destination. Only JetBlue doesn't overbook flights. There are new DOT regulations coming that will increase the compensation required to involuntarily bumped passengers, from a current maximum of $800 to a new max of $1300.