Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 10-23-2019, 10:28 AM
Nava is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 42,936
Move to a location where overbooking is illegal?

I mean, most people would not put that at the top of their list of "reasons to move", but it makes about as much sense from a practical point of view. And hey, it does work.
  #52  
Old 10-23-2019, 11:06 AM
Riemann's Avatar
Riemann is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Posts: 7,783
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Move to a location where overbooking is illegal?
But let's remember that overbooking as a general principle is a good idea for all of us.

Without overbooking, all fares must increase, since most flights would leave partly empty for the no-shows; and more flights would be required to accommodate everyone, burning a significant greater amount of fuel every day - and whatever percentage that would be, it's a percentage of a very large number, airline travel has a huge carbon footprint. We can't view sensibly view overbooking as the airlines screwing us. It's a practical way to give consumers the cheapest possible fares, and it significantly reduces the carbon footprint.

So we can advocate for fairer policies for who gets bumped, but ultimately the tiny number of people who are involuntarily bumped is a small price to pay for the benefit of overbooking as a general principle.
  #53  
Old 10-23-2019, 11:11 AM
Lord Feldon's Avatar
Lord Feldon is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 6,614
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Move to a location where overbooking is illegal?
Overbooking is only one reason why you might get bumped, though. There might be an unexpected weight restriction, or a smaller plane, or a broken seat, or urgent employee travel (which IIRC is what precipitated the situation with David Dao).

JetBlue doesn't overbook, but it has had fairly high rates of bumping at times.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-23-2019 at 11:13 AM.
  #54  
Old 10-23-2019, 11:13 AM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 4,907
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
No one said it was easy, just that of the available options that it was easier than others. You can also buy a first class ticket, that's also easier but may be just as much of an obstacle. It appears that there's no "easy" way to avoid being in the class of people that might be bumped unless you're willing to pay more money, either by upgrading your ticket or establishing high status on the airline.

Again, if there is no other alternative what do you think would an acceptable answer would be?
There are usually lots of less expensive ways to move yourself up the list than flying first class, although that certainly works. Buy a refundable ticket. Buy extra space. Buy earlier boarding. All of those (even buying the first class ticket) are easier than doing enough extra flying to earn a top "status" as a frequent flier.
  #55  
Old 10-23-2019, 11:30 AM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 4,907
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
Overbooking is only one reason why you might get bumped, though. There might be an unexpected weight restriction, or a smaller plane, or a broken seat, or urgent employee travel (which IIRC is what precipitated the situation with David Dao).

JetBlue doesn't overbook, but it has had fairly high rates of bumping at times.
That article is from 2017. JetBlue seems to have addressed that problem. And so has United!

http://money.com/money/5639829/sorry...st-passengers/

From this article, from "About 15,000 passengers were denied their airplane seats involuntarily over the year ending in April 2018"

Spirit
Quote:
Originally Posted by Money
Total boarding: 23,780,619
Passengers denied boarding: 1,846
Passengers denied boarding involuntarily, per million: 78
Frontier
Quote:
Originally Posted by Money
Total boarding: 17,432,894
Passengers denied boarding: 964
Passengers denied boarding involuntarily, per million: 55
Southwest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Money
Total boarding: 157,754,667
Passengers denied boarding: 6,411
Passengers denied boarding involuntarily, per million: 41
Alaska
Quote:
Originally Posted by Money
Total boarding: 25,170,875
Passengers denied boarding: 703
Passengers denied boarding involuntarily, per million: 28
American:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Money
Total boarding: 131,762,176
Passengers denied boarding: 3,115
Passengers denied boarding involuntarily, per million: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Money
Compare their stats to Delta, which served two million more passengers than American and only turned away three passengers for every million boarded. The other two airlines surveyed were United (13 passengers bumped) and JetBlue (just two passengers bumped).
  #56  
Old 10-23-2019, 11:43 AM
Nava is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 42,936
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
Without overbooking, all fares must increase, since most flights would leave partly empty for the no-shows
What no-shows? I don't think I've seen more than 0.1% of those in the years I've been traveling under No Overbooking rules.

Unexpected weight restriction. Why?

Smaller plane. Not likely when the airline's planes are all the same size.

A seat that all of a sudden is broken to the point of unusability. Someone needs to either call the cops on the vandal(s) who broke it or have a Stern Talk with whomever is handling maintenance.

And so forth. You guys have overbooking because your market bears it. We don't have it, and our market bears the lack of overbooking just fine.
__________________
Some people knew how to kill a conversation. Cura, on the other hand, could make it wish it had never been born.

Last edited by Nava; 10-23-2019 at 11:45 AM.
  #57  
Old 10-23-2019, 12:09 PM
Riemann's Avatar
Riemann is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Posts: 7,783
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
What no-shows? I don't think I've seen more than 0.1% of those in the years I've been traveling under No Overbooking rules.
I thought you were in Spain? Overbooking is not prohibited in the EU.
  #58  
Old 10-23-2019, 12:31 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 12,098
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
If you notice I said "high frequent flyer status", not just being a member. I am global services on United. They are not going to bump me regardless.
They are not, and how nice for you.

But "have high frequent flyer status" isn't actionable advice. You either have it because you fly a lot or you don't. No one's going to go out there and make extra flights so they won't get bumped.

"Check in early" is something that anyone can do, and it will materially improve your chances of not being involuntarily bumped, even if it's your first flight and you're in steerage class. Because when they bump someone, they start with the group of peons who paid the least and start bumping them based on when they checked in.

And it's usually pretty easy, too.
  #59  
Old 10-23-2019, 04:15 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 12,098
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
What no-shows? I don't think I've seen more than 0.1% of those in the years I've been traveling under No Overbooking rules.
How would you know?
  #60  
Old 10-23-2019, 04:29 PM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 20,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Move to a location where overbooking is illegal?

I mean, most people would not put that at the top of their list of "reasons to move", but it makes about as much sense from a practical point of view. And hey, it does work.
Oh, good point. Here's another easy one: buy the airline! Let's see them try and bump the boss.
  #61  
Old 10-23-2019, 07:00 PM
Asuka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,344
I was on an overbooked flight 2 months ago but noticed there was a passenger with two open seats next to him the entire flight.

Have no idea what the hell that was about. I think he may have been a prisoner though because he started arguing with the flight attendant about getting his passport back when it landed.
  #62  
Old 10-24-2019, 03:56 PM
txjim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
What no-shows? I don't think I've seen more than 0.1% of those in the years I've been traveling under No Overbooking rules.

Unexpected weight restriction. Why?

Smaller plane. Not likely when the airline's planes are all the same size.

A seat that all of a sudden is broken to the point of unusability. Someone needs to either call the cops on the vandal(s) who broke it or have a Stern Talk with whomever is handling maintenance.

And so forth. You guys have overbooking because your market bears it. We don't have it, and our market bears the lack of overbooking just fine.
Need to dispute your statements, here. Planes are really not all the same size. Even the same model will have different seat configurations. Southwest, the poster child for single-model business (along with Ryanair) have different versions of the 737 that seat different numbers. The A320 family has different versions. Swaps happen all the time.

Regarding your comment regarding seats, it does not take much for a seat to be legally unusable. If a seat cannot raise to the upright position, it is not legal to fly (at least, among most airlines/countries.) This is not a case of incompetence, its simple mechanical statistics.

I don't think most people understand how many things must work correctly for an aircraft to be suitable for flight. The technology of the simplest radio in the aircraft dwarfs anything typically found in a consumer household.

Last edited by txjim; 10-24-2019 at 03:56 PM.
  #63  
Old 10-24-2019, 09:26 PM
Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,374
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
So if you are a doctor flying to perform an important transplant surgery, I recommend allowing yourself extra time. Even a full day. I had to fly for an important meeting this summer.
My Doctor doesn't do important transplant surgery, but he did fly outbound on a cheap fare -- and inbound on a full price business fare on a full price airline. So if there was any difficulty getting back to work on time, it wouldn't be because of an avoidable problem.
  #64  
Old 10-24-2019, 10:22 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,656
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
What no-shows? I don't think I've seen more than 0.1% of those in the years I've been traveling under No Overbooking rules.
Southwest, which does not impose a penalty on cancellations or rebooking, has lots of no shows. I know this because my daughter worked in the industry and was on a message board where airline people traded info on particular loads for those who wanted to fly non-rev. Southwest overbooked more than most because of this, just like in the old days when you could change tickets easily.
  #65  
Old 10-25-2019, 12:09 AM
TheMysteryWriter's Avatar
TheMysteryWriter is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 223
When you get kicked off a plane or they won't let you on, do they steal your money and force you to buy a new ticket on another plane, or do they roll over the fare you already paid to the new flight you have to take?
__________________
Cold showers lead to crack!
  #66  
Old 10-25-2019, 01:10 AM
Nava is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 42,936
Quote:
Originally Posted by txjim View Post
Need to dispute your statements, here. Planes are really not all the same size. Even the same model will have different seat configurations. Southwest, the poster child for single-model business (along with Ryanair) have different versions of the 737 that seat different numbers. The A320 family has different versions. Swaps happen all the time.
vueling's planes are all the same configuration, specifically in order to avoid sizing problems (the same applies to several other European hoppers). I didn't claim that all planes in the whole wide world have the same size: I claimed that when the planes involved all have the same size, there is no size problems, which is an obvious obviety. Your airlines work in a legal landscape which allows overbooking, and they make their management decisions in such a landscape. vueling, Air France or norwegian work in a no-overbooking landscape and they make different decisions; and yes, for some of the companies which work in such a legal frame that includes "which planes to buy and how to set up the seats".
__________________
Some people knew how to kill a conversation. Cura, on the other hand, could make it wish it had never been born.

Last edited by Nava; 10-25-2019 at 01:14 AM.
  #67  
Old 10-25-2019, 03:50 AM
Lord Feldon's Avatar
Lord Feldon is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 6,614
Vueling: "For various reasons, the plane might not be able to operate with all the passengers on board and this would cause overbooking."

Air France: "Like all major airline companies, Air France opens a greater number of seats for booking than are actually available on a flight. This method helps us maintain attractive fare rates and transport several million extra passengers. In practice, it lets us limit the financial loss resulting from the fact that some passengers choose not to take the flights they have reserved."

Norwegian: "It’s not common for us to overbook our flights, but on the very rare occasion that there is a shortage of seats, we will firstly call for volunteers willingly to give up their seat, in exchange for compensation to be agreed on with Norwegian."

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-25-2019 at 03:53 AM.
  #68  
Old 10-25-2019, 07:32 AM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Just outside of Titletown
Posts: 23,079
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMysteryWriter View Post
When you get kicked off a plane or they won't let you on, do they steal your money and force you to buy a new ticket on another plane, or do they roll over the fare you already paid to the new flight you have to take?
It depends, but in general if the airline is the one preventing you from flying then they must make accommodations or refund your money. If you accept a voluntary bump you generally get paid an agreed upon fee and fly at a later time. With an involuntary bump there are rules spelled out for when you are entitled to compensation and when you are not.

https://www.transportation.gov/indiv...ping-oversales

If you are responsible for missing your flight then it depends on what class of ticket you bought and whether the airline considers you a valuable customer. You may get charged a change fee, you may pay the difference in cost of the tickets, or you may get nothing.
  #69  
Old 10-25-2019, 07:34 AM
Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 10,546
I spent several months last year flying weekly on standby tickets. Most of the time the flights weren’t full, but on the few occasions that they were full there would be enough no-shows that I would still get a seat. It’s surprising how many people will book a ticket but not turn up.
  #70  
Old 10-25-2019, 08:14 AM
muldoonthief's Avatar
muldoonthief is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 11,089
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMysteryWriter View Post
When you get kicked off a plane or they won't let you on, do they steal your money and force you to buy a new ticket on another plane, or do they roll over the fare you already paid to the new flight you have to take?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
It depends, but in general if the airline is the one preventing you from flying then they must make accommodations or refund your money. If you accept a voluntary bump you generally get paid an agreed upon fee and fly at a later time. With an involuntary bump there are rules spelled out for when you are entitled to compensation and when you are not.

https://www.transportation.gov/indiv...ping-oversales

If you are responsible for missing your flight then it depends on what class of ticket you bought and whether the airline considers you a valuable customer. You may get charged a change fee, you may pay the difference in cost of the tickets, or you may get nothing.
I think TheMysteryWriter was asking if you had to buy another ticket to get to your original destination, not what compensation the airline has to provide. You don't have to buy another ticket, or roll the cost of your original ticket or anything like that. If you are denied boarding by the airline, the airline has to get you to your destination at no additional cost to you.

Here's another question - how does involuntary bumping apply to groups traveling together? What about families? Could they involuntarily bump one member of a group but force the rest of the group to travel on that flight or forfeit their fares?
  #71  
Old 10-25-2019, 08:49 AM
Jasmine's Avatar
Jasmine is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 2,328
Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlegal View Post
The EASIEST way is to pay a little more for the flight. Upgrade to "more legroom" or for "early boarding" or something. Yeah, it will cost you more, but they rarely bump people involuntarily, and when they do, they generally start with the people who paid the least among those who have no status with the airline.
Well, I always upgrade to better seating when I fly, and I've never been bumped even once. That lends credence to your statement although, I suppose, someone could say it is just a coincidence.
__________________
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge."
--Daniel J Boorstin
  #72  
Old 10-25-2019, 09:01 AM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 4,907
It might vary from airline to airline, and I don't have a cite, but what I've been told is that the priorities are:

1) paid first class and very high status customers (both of whom can effectively bump other passengers off a full flight if, for instance, their flight was canceled and they need to make other arrangments.)
2) high status customers (with possibly a few categories)
3) people who bought refundable/more flexible/more expensive tickets
4) people who upgraded the cheapest tickets in some way
5) people who are members of the frequent-flier program, even if they don't have status
6) people with no other relationship to the airline, who bought the cheapest, non-refundable, no frills seats, ranked in order by when they checked in.

Involuntary bumping is rare, and I basically don't worry about it. But I have joined the frequent flier program of every airline I've flown on, because the only cost is getting a few extra emails, and I suspect that item 5 is true.

On the flip side, I know of a few people who intentionally book extremely popular flights and then volunteer to be bumped. My son's history teacher flew for about 8 years on a single ticket by doing this. (Each year, he got re-booked to a later flight, and was also give a voucher that he used to book the following year's over-booked flight.)
  #73  
Old 10-25-2019, 04:50 PM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,163
The company I worked for used to allow the most expensive tickets (coach, only executives flew first class). This allowed the passenger to rebook on a later flight with no penalty. At one morning meeting I was at, the boss began a discussion that droned on and on. The out-of-towners would leave periodically to rebook their flight, from 12 to 3Pm to 5PM and finally 7PM. No additional cost to them, but presumably someone on a cheaper ticket was going to be bumped and wasn't and then eventually on the 7PM flight was. As you can expect, airlines love these business passengers and will accommodate their whims, since they paid probably 3 or 4 times more than the cheapseats for the privilege. If they had left 3 seats go empty then there's nowhere near as much profit in that. Most flights I've been on in North America are essentially full, so odds are someone's getting bumped.

I've read that you want to check in online once the check-ins open 24 hours before the flight. If you check in later and are not assigned a seat, it means you are on standby and likely are being bumped unless some expensive ticket is a no-show.
  #74  
Old 10-25-2019, 06:38 PM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 746
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
Its surprising how many people will book a ticket but not turn up.
I have heard, but don't have a cite, that sometimes if a business traveler wants to get home ASAP after their meeting is over but doesn't know how long the meeting is going to take (Picture Steve Martin's character at the beginning of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles), they will buy fully refundable tickets on several flights the same day, show up for whichever one is the next one after their meeting finishes, and just collect a refund for the tickets they didn't use.
  #75  
Old 10-25-2019, 10:40 PM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 4,907
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
I have heard, but don't have a cite, that sometimes if a business traveler wants to get home ASAP after their meeting is over but doesn't know how long the meeting is going to take (Picture Steve Martin's character at the beginning of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles), they will buy fully refundable tickets on several flights the same day, show up for whichever one is the next one after their meeting finishes, and just collect a refund for the tickets they didn't use.
They don't need to do that. If you a flexible ticket to the latest flight you might want, you can just rebook to an earlier one when you get to the airport. And if you have enough status, they'll bump someone else to do it.
  #76  
Old 10-26-2019, 11:29 AM
Ann Hedonia's Avatar
Ann Hedonia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,463
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
What no-shows? I don't think I've seen more than 0.1% of those in the years I've been traveling under No Overbooking rules.

Unexpected weight restriction. Why?

Smaller plane. Not likely when the airline's planes are all the same size.

A seat that all of a sudden is broken to the point of unusability. Someone needs to either call the cops on the vandal(s) who broke it or have a Stern Talk with whomever is handling maintenance.

And so forth. You guys have overbooking because your market bears it. We don't have it, and our market bears the lack of overbooking just fine.
I was on a plane once where they bumped people because of the weight restrictions. It was a flight to the Western US a few days before Christmas. The issue ( as it was explained to us) was the luggage / freight weight, because so many of the passengers had checked ski and snowboard equipment.

And I must say the crew did an exemplary job of avoiding an involuntary bump, because no one wants to give up their seat on Christmas Eve. They targeted specific groups of passengers with offers and finally got a group of 5 to agree to a later flight in exchange for over $1000 in vouchers per passenger, first class upgrades on the next flights, meal vouchers and first class lounge privileges.

Again, flights are delayed and canceled all the time. I’ve probably, in my lifetime, been on 5 or 6 flights that were canceled outright. I’ve had airline related delays of over 24 hours maybe 5 times. I’ve had delays of over 8 hours more times than I can can count. The very occasional involuntary bump isn’t even on my radar as a travel problem. If being on time is critical - like if I have an important meeting or I’m traveling to catch a cruise ship- I leave a day early.

ETA : and no-shows aren’t unheard of, I’ve been the no-show. I once bought a non-refundable ticket and then my friends and family screwed the pooch on their end of the vacation plans, and I decided it was cheaper to eat the ticket than to pay to salvage the trip. Plus people run late and miss flights ALL THE TIME. Especially my late husband, who philosophically refused to be early for anything.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 10-26-2019 at 11:33 AM.
  #77  
Old 10-26-2019, 11:40 AM
Ann Hedonia's Avatar
Ann Hedonia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,463
Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlegal View Post
They don't need to do that. If you a flexible ticket to the latest flight you might want, you can just rebook to an earlier one when you get to the airport. And if you have enough status, they'll bump someone else to do it.
I used to do that all the time about 20 years ago. If my flight was for 6PM and my meeting finished at 1PM, Id head to the airport, check-in, walk through the gate area and find the next flight to NYC. Then Id just approach the gate agent and ask if I could switch to that flight. I hardly ever took the flight I was booked on, sometimes Id switch just because I cleared security fast and could make the 1PM flight instead of my 1:30 flight.

But at some point they started charging for these switches, and I stopped doing this.
  #78  
Old 10-26-2019, 02:40 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,656
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
I used to do that all the time about 20 years ago. If my flight was for 6PM and my meeting finished at 1PM, Id head to the airport, check-in, walk through the gate area and find the next flight to NYC. Then Id just approach the gate agent and ask if I could switch to that flight. I hardly ever took the flight I was booked on, sometimes Id switch just because I cleared security fast and could make the 1PM flight instead of my 1:30 flight.

But at some point they started charging for these switches, and I stopped doing this.
Coming from Boston? I (and everyone else) did this Logan to Newark, since there were flights every hour. But close to 5 PM a lot of the earlier ones were full, so that could be a reason for someone to buy tickets on earlier ones they doubted they'd use.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:55 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017