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United Airlines could buy your seat back up to five days in advance Jul 14, 2017, 7:17am CDTThe company will partner with Atlanta-based Volantio and use the startup’s technology to back the initiative. The new system allows flyers to sign up for a r

United Airlines will offer to buy your seat on overbooked flights up to five days in advance.

The Chicago-based airline launched its Flex-Schedule Program this week, which will offer flyers rewards for flexibility with their itineraries, according to Bloomberg.

The company will partner with Atlanta-based Volantio and use the startup’s technology to back the initiative.

The new system allows flyers to sign up for a rewards program that will compensate them for having flexible travel plans. If a user is offered the opportunity to change their itinerary, United will provide a travel voucher for up to $250.

The offers are only available to those who book flights via United.com, and signing up for the program does not mean flyers will be asked to alter their travel.

Customers who are asked to change itineraries will not be asked to change dates or airports, and they will be able to keep their seat preferences, per the report. Flyers will also be notified if they are downgraded in class.

United stands to make a bundle if its plan works.

The airline can ask leisure travelers to alter plans ahead of time to accommodate business travelers who may pay more money to buy a last-minute ticket. Business travelers will win the seat they want, while leisure travelers will get a voucher and won’t spend hours waiting at the airport after clearing security.

Hypothetically, there will be fewer travelers who will score the max $1,350 payout for involuntary bumping close to the time of departure, per the report.

The move is likely in response to a major image setback when a man was forcibly removed from a United Express Flight at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. He was randomly selected to take a later flight to accommodate employees of Republic Airline, which operates United Express flights.

Video captured the uncooperative man grappling with security guards and finally being dragged down the single aisle of the small plane as other passengers were screaming.

United Airlines is a unit of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) and has one of its largest hubs at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

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