Travel Tips
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Flight is Overbooked. Now What?

About five years ago, my mom booked me a flight from Miami to Guayaquil (home) for Christmas break. Little did I know this could happen. This is my story:


Flights for December (aka holiday season) are crazy expensive. For this reason, my mom wanted to purchase my plane ticket months in advance. It was August (the semester hasn't even started yet) and I already had a return ticket home.

The semester passed, and it was time to go home. I get my suitcases ready and head to the airport to catch my flight.


I arrived three hours early, with a lot of time to spare. I got myself distracted with magazines at the classic Hudson News pop-up store. At MIA (Miami International Airport) there’s one in every corner.


Already at the gate (bored our of my mind), the crew announced the flight is delayed. Ugh. Ok. I mean there’s nothing I can do, so I waited for three more hours. THREE HOURS.


Time passed so slow that I could feel the misery of boredom being stronger and stronger. Plus, phone’s battery was about to die. (Oh well.)


Another announcement: “The flight ## to Guayaquil is now cancelled. It will depart tomorrow at 5am”




I grabbed my stuff and left the airport as soon as I heard the announcement. I was so angry.


I went back home, and relax for bit.


The next day, I woke up at 2:30 AM to head over to the airport (again.) UGH. I passed security and walked towards the gate. The flight attendant calls the first group to board. (FINALLY!) I couldn’t be more happier. I look at my ticket and realized my seat number is empty.


My seat wasn’t assign. I went to the counter for the crew to assign a seat for me, but the lady looks at me and says: “Honey the flight is overbooked, you’ll need to wait to the 6:00 PM flight”




I hated life. I couldn’t believe I didn’t notice my seat was unassigned.


Of course, I had to go back home and wait for it to be 3:00 PM (once again) to get on my flight home. What I learned from this experience? Always, ALWAYS make sure your seat is assigned. (I spent nearly 24-hours trying to catch my flight.)


At least is a good story to tell! Ha!


Until next trip,


About The Author

Mariella Molestina Noboa

The art of saying "Yes!" can take you far away. Many people pass on opportunities for many reasons, one of them being fear. Through my life I've encounter many people that forget to live the present for something that might not even happen in the future. If you are constantly waiting for the right time to finally do something, like fulfill your life dream, you are going to spend most of your life waiting.

My name is Mariella and I created this blog as a source of inspiration for others to believe they can live the life they always pictured. The secret? Believe you can and take action. The world awaits!


  1. Aditi Shukla says

    It’s sad that they made you wait for so long. The idea of waiting is so boring and frustrating. You’ve got a good point there. It’s important to check if the seat has been assigned or not, in advance. Cheers!!

    • Mariella says

      Yes! since this happened to me I always make sure my seat is assigned haha 🙂 Learned the hard way, I guess!

  2. That is so sad! Cannot believe how they end up shuffling innocent passengers who booked in time to a late flight. Did they atleast offer any compensation in lieu of the delay?

    • Mariella says

      Hello Rishabh! No they didn’t offer any compensation. Such a disappointment! But at this time American Airlines was facing a lot of issues. This was prior US Airways bought the company 🙂

  3. This is terrible! No wonder you were so mad as I would have been the same! I hope this never happens to me! Thanks for sharing this interesting article!

  4. Lisa says

    That’s a good tip Mariella! I’m finding that most flights these days are always full, and sometimes overbooked. Still, I’m glad you made it home to Guayaquil!

    • Mariella says

      Thank you, Lisa! Yes, at least I made it home safe 🙂 haha

  5. I’ve never had this experience but I’ve heard of flights being delayed etc.. I don’t think I’ve ever got a ticket without a seat number on it before but I will sure check well every time in future. Doesn’t the airline have to compensate you if your flight is delayed for such a long period of time?

    • Mariella says

      Hello James! Sadly, but no. American Airlines didn’t give me any compensation for this awful experience. On a positive note, I learned the hard way and now always make sure my seat number is assigned 🙂

  6. First the flight gets delayed, then the flight is overbooked, making you take 3 trips of the airport and 24 hours to board the flight, definitely one of the worst things that can happen. I would have been in a tussle with the airline authorities, had I been in your place. But yeah, one should always check all the details on the boarding pass. It does make a good story to tell.

    • Mariella says

      Hi Arnav! Yes, I sort of make a scene at the counter haha but didn’t work! :/ oh well…

  7. We have traveled to some 20 countries but luckily never faced this issue. We can understand how terrible it must feel when the flights get canceled more than once. We travel with a toddler and dread how we would manage this situation. Glad you finally got through and reached home safe.

  8. OMG! Sorry to hear about your experience. It happened to me as well. in my case, they assigned the same seat to two people. Thankfully they upgraded me to the business class 🙂

  9. That is a crazy story. First the flight is delayed and then cancelled. You come really early at 2:30AM only to be told that they overbooked the flight. You should have claimed some damages for making them do what they felt like. I was once bumped off a overbooked flight too.

    • Mariella says

      It was awful. Everything that could’ve go wrong went indeed wrong haha but at least it makes a good story to tell 🙂

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