(Personal note: Longtime reader/former roomate/close friend D-Lux will love this:)
Delta has done away with the old system of asking people on crowded flights at the gate if they will take a $300 voucher to move to a later flight. You used to hear announcements where gate agents begged for volunteers at increasing amounts until they got the number of people they needed off the plane.
Delta has now implemented a silent auction system for bumps that would please the hearts of economists everywhere. In short: when a flight is in risk of being oversold, they ask every passenger at check-in (kiosk, online, etc) what amount they would take to be bumped off the plane. In effect, it’s a silent auction. The airline then knows exactly who they will bump and how much it will cost them. The airline gets to pay market rate, and you don’t deal with the mad pushing and shoving that occasionally erupts during a bump situation. It is brilliant, and I expect we’ll see most airlines follow suit asap.