Competition among businesses always tends to be good for consumers. The latest people to benefit from a battle to offer the best deal might be flight passengers, who stand to gain in a big way as competing airlines respond to United's latest incident.
According to memos obtained by the Associated Press, Delta Airlines is set to up the ante for customers being asked to give up their seats. Gate agents will now be able to offer up to $2,000 in compensation to customers—a raise from the previous max offer of $800—and supervisors will be able to offer $9,950, up from a previous high of $1,350.
Delta's raise looks like a direct response to the recent United controversy. Prior to Dr. David Dao being dragged off the plane by local police, reports claim passengers on the United flight were offered $800 plus a hotel room as compensation for giving up their seat. When no one took the offer United began just picking names of passengers, who they then asked to leave their seats in order to seat flight staff.
The power move from Delta comes as United struggles to do damage control following the incident with Dao. United has changed their stance on whether the flight Dao was dragged from was overbooked or not, a distinction which could get them in a lot of legal trouble. Though they have since changed their policy on removing customers from flights for the sake of staff, it's unclear if United will make a similar change to the amount of money available to offer customers moving forward.
Aside from United and Delta, American Airlines—who has updated their rules to assure customers they can't be removed from a plane to seat someone else—is one of the few airlines to go public with policy changes in the last week. Other airlines have been reluctant to share how much they are willing to pay customers to give up their seats.