Happy Memorial Day: the official kick-off to summer and the busy summer travel season ahead.

Thanks to recent high-profile airline incidents, airline bumping is top of mind for frequent and infrequent travelers. Virtuoso surveyed its expert travel advisors for their top tips to guard against bumping.

“Our findings show that for all the tens of thousands of passengers who fly daily, only a tiny percentage of them have ever been involuntarily bumped,” says Terrie Hansen, senior vice president of Marketing for Virtuoso. “One of the key reasons we recommend booking with a professional travel advisor is the consumer advocacy they provide. With travel it’s not a matter of if something will go wrong, it’s when – there are simply too many variables that are beyond anyone’s control. Having an advocate with a vested interest in the success of the trip is invaluable. It might not prevent the situation from happening, but it’s certainly reassuring to know here’s a knowledgeable and well-connected expert to call and help fix it.”

Top tips:

  • Establish status with a specific airline and fly it (or its alliance partners) when possible.
  • Reserve your seat assignments as soon as the flight is booked.
  • Check in online 24 hours before the flight and reconfirm your seats.

Though bumping passengers is rare (30 percent of Virtuoso advisors said it had happened to their clients), here’s what you need to do if it happens to you:

  • Insist the airline rebook the next available flight, even on another airline.
  • Comply with the request, but politely ask for more compensation that what the airline is offering.
  • Contact your travel advisor for assistance.
  • Ask for a credit card-issued gift card instead of an airline voucher, especiall if you’re not a frequent traveler.

Read Laura Begley Bloom’s story: “Why Delta Air Lines Paid me $11,000 Not to Fly to Florida This Weekend.”

Check out the ten top-booked summer destinations for 2017.

Photo: Getty Images