Overselling occurs. A lot of businesses do it. They promise goods and services that they may not be able to deliver. It isn’t the very prevalent overbooking that gets people riled; it is getting bumped from a flight.
However, it is a way to keep fares low, because statistically there are a significant number of no-shows. The infamous United flight with the dragging of a passenger down the aisle will likely never be repeated. Whenever they need more seats, they will simply increase the rewards until they get people to give up their seats.
Apparently, UAL had limits on what they could offer passengers and 800 dollars was the maximum the airline could offer without special authorization. One dragged passenger, and a video that went viral, instantly made every carrier to reconsider bumping policy.
A strange dynamic sets in when the airline ups the ante for seats. In the UAL case, if $800 doesn’t works, they could have up the bid to $900. What happens when 50 or more passengers want to take the deal? The airlines is suddenly in a crunch to select one additional passenger, which they have to do in a random, unbiased manner. This takes time. Remember, the plane was on the tarmac, ready to take off. What happens if they go higher? The $800 volunteers are not so happy now. Best to give the same to all volunteers. Youtube videos have a huge impact.
The overbooking situation is more likely to occur before boarding. No drama or Youtube videos at this point. It can actually be a happy moment if the airline provides enough cash or other benefits.
It was revealed that the passengers who paid the least for their seats, are the ones that are placed in the potential bumpees (yes, I made up this word) pool to be randomly selected. So, you full fair business folks flying UAL have nothing to worry about. Of course, I’m joking as passenger dragging is not about to happen at least for overbooking.
A lot of stuff doesn’t happen on major carriers, such as getting a boarding pass, only to find a passenger sitting in your seat because the airlines screwed up. These were human mistakes particularly when computer systems were down or very slow.
Bumped luggage. It happens! The airlines should offer money for your luggage to take a later flight. My wife was flying to Brazil on Christmas eve, and her flight was delayed for hours. Her baggage arrived on a later flight, about 10 hours later. It took about another 4 hours for delivery. So, I believe the delay was in loading postal shipments, so it was in their interest, to delay the passengers stuff until these shipments were loaded. Then they didn’t have enough space for luggage. I wouldn’t reveal the name of the airline, except is goes by the initials AA.
Unintended consequences and asymmetrical conflicts (you have to look up this one) are the norm. In case you’ve been off the grid, Jimmy Kimmel lost no time in mocking UAL friendly skies theme:
Perhaps next they’ll have a statue of the dragged passenger, with one hand clutching a boarding pass, surrounded by mountains of lost baggage.
Holiday travel is hell. So are the days between holidays. Bad days to travel are Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. Equally bad are Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.