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5 questions to ask before you volunteer to give up your seat on a flight

Summer travel could mean overcrowded flights.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Overbooking flights isn't anything new. Airlines typically sell more tickets than available seats in order to offset any no-shows. But what happens when everyone shows up and there are more passengers than the plane can handle? 

That's when the airline starts asking for volunteers to give up their seats. 

If you're ever in this situation, the U.S. Department of Transportation says you should know what you're getting yourself into. 

Here are 5 questions to ask before you agree to be voluntarily "bumped" from your flight.

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When is the next flight with a confirmed seat? 

You might be placed on standby for another overbooked flight, which means you could be stuck at the airport for more time than you anticipated. 

What other perks can the airline provide? 

The airline can offer vouchers for a variety of things like meals, hotel rooms, and transportation.

Does the ticket or voucher expire? 

You want to make sure what you're receiving in exchange for giving up your seat is something you can actually use in the future. 

Are there any dates the ticket or voucher cannot be used? 

Holiday travel periods might not be permitted depending on the airline and voucher or ticket type. 

Can the ticket be used for international travel?

Airlines can limit vouchers or tickets to domestic travel only. Know the restrictions so you're not disappointed later. 

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Contact Carolyn Bruck at cbruck@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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