After In-Voluntarily Being Kicked Off a United Flight, a Passenger Received a $10,000 Travel Voucher

I’m sure we all recall the story of Dr. Dao a few months back. Remember Dr. Dao? Dr. Dao was the United Airlines passenger who was violently removed by Chicago-O’Hare police after United oversold a flight to accommodate deadheading crew members. Though the police are to blame for the violent nature of the removal of Dr. Dao, United handled the situation awfully. United ended up overbooking the flight for crew members just minutes before departure. Passengers were not happy and tensions ran high in the cabin. United essentially allowed the chaos to ensue.

A lot has changed since Dr. Dao was carried out of that United Express flight bound for Louisville. Airlines are better at booking crew members on full flights, no passenger can be removed from a flight once boarded, and travel voucher limits were increased to a whopping $10,000.

When airlines announced the decision to increase their voucher amounts to $10,000 in the event of an oversold flight, most of us rolled our eyes. Most bloggers, myself included, assumed that there was no way passengers would receive $10,000 in travel vouchers. Well, it turns out, airlines really do issue $10,000 vouchers.

A Fully Booked Flight and a Broken Seat=$10,000 Voucher

Allison Preiss was traveling on a United Airlines flight earlier today when she was informed that she could not board the flight. According to Preiss, she was the lowest fare passengers, and since no other passengers were willing to volunteer to give up their seat, she would not be allowed to board. This was due to a broken seat onboard the aircraft.

United originally attempted to get Preiss to sign a form saying she had volunteered her seat. This would allow United to offer far less compensation than if a passenger is involuntarily removed from a flight. Preiss, rightfully so, refused to sign the form. After insisting she either board that flight or receive compensation in the form of cash, she was handed a $10,000 voucher and two $10 vouchers for food during her layover.

Here’s Preiss’ full account of what happened this morning:

I often question the legitimacy and honesty of those who are bumped from flights. However, Preiss is not one of those people. For one, her story is not far fetched. Seats go “in-opp” (they break), and airlines will have to treat that broken seat like it’s not a seat. For some reason, many passengers don’t care how much you give them; they won’t take travel vouchers. This means airlines have to involuntarily bump a passenger (or passengers) who are booked into the lowest fare class. As you can see above, the voucher is 100% legit, and the story matches up. Allison, in my opinion, lucked out big time.

What Can You Get For $10,000 On United?

I would completely understand if Allison Preiss never wanted to fly with United again. However, she just received $10,000 so, that’s going to be kind of difficult not to. That leads me to ask the question, what can you get and where can you go with a $10,000 travel voucher on United. Here are a few of my favorite finds.

  • Two round-trip flights from San Francisco to Hong Kong on a Boeing 777-300ER in United Polaris
  • Almost three round-trip flights from Chicago to London on a Boeing 777-300ER in United Polaris
  • Five round-trip flights between Newark and LAX in United’s Premium Transcontinental product
  • 100 round-trip flights between Chicago and Denver in Economy
  • 222 one-way flights between Denver and Albuquerque
Polaris Business Class looks quite comfortable on United (Image: United Airlines)

Polaris Business Class looks quite comfortable on United (Image: United Airlines)

Yep. $10,000 can go a little or a very long way with airlines.


I’m sure Allison would have much rather have gotten on her flight and not had to put up a fight with United. When people think of United, they don’t typically think good customer service. Nonetheless, Allison ended up with a $10,000 voucher, oh, and $20 at Pizza Hut!

What’s the most you’ve ever received travel vouchers?

(H/T: @FakeRenesPoints on Twitter)  —  (Tweet Credits: @AllisonMPreiss on Twitter)

A United Voucher worth $10,000 (Image: @AllisonMPreiss on Twitter)

A United Voucher worth $10,000 (Image: @AllisonMPreiss on Twitter)