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Author: tomjet Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 21132  
Subject: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/18/2007 5:21 PM
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Greetings:

I took some time today to review the law on the subject of airlines' overselling. Airlines use the euphemisms "bumping" and "overbooking." Courts, in their written opinions, use no-nonsense English, namely, "intentional overselling," as the court asserted in a 2006 opinion involving El Al Israel Airlines. If your plane has 100 seats and you take money for 107 of them, you're overselling.

All of the exact same claims that I was considering filing in court against Delta were brought, in 1972, by none other than Ralph Nader, when he was bumped. His case reached the U.S. Supreme Court (which called it overselling, too). Back then, about 82,000 confirmed ticket holders who showed up for U.S. domestic flights were bumped ("denied seats"). Nowadays, that number is around 900,000 per year (domestic flights). I got these facts from court opinions, from then and now.

Ever since 1978 when the ADA was passed (the Airline Deregulation Act), airlines have engaged in far more overselling.

I discovered today, as Ralph Nader learned from his 1970s dispute with Allegheny Air (and as many have learned since), that there is really very meager compensation available to you if you are bumped and you do not take the airlines' offer of "compensation." In other words, if you sue, as I was considering (now I'm not -- what a waste of time, I learned today), you will essentially get bupkiss.

Here's a shocking case: in 2005, a man and his daughter arrived for their New York flight to Colorado with their luggage and ski equipment. The carrier took their luggage and ski stuff and gave dad and daughter boarding passes. At the gate, waiting to board, they were informed the plane was full and they were bumped. Their luggage and all their ski stuff stayed with the airline (Continental) for about a week. He sued. What did he get? About $3,000! This trip was very special for him and his daughter, as it was from Dec. 25th to Jan. 1st. (My bias: corporations are essentially sociopaths.)

I turned on the radio yesterday, right at the moment a woman was calling in to complain how she and her family of 4 arrived at JFK for their Delta flight, in plenty of time, and they were all denied boarding despite their confirmed tickets.

If any of you are interested in reading all about this subject, here is a November 2004 clearly written law review on it --

http://www.law.nyu.edu/journals/lawreview/issues/vol79/no5/NYU504.pdf

I am -- finally -- resigned to this whole situation now. It's shocking to me, but short of legislation, which ain't in the offing, nothing will be done about it.

Thanks, again, for your comments/recs. on the earlier threads.

Tomjet
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Author: hiddenflem Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9787 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/18/2007 6:24 PM
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How frustrating it all is with these airlines. Makes me wonder why we don't just let the american ones go bankrupt and stay bankrupt (and let better ones rise from the ashes...).

I've waited for more than a week for my bag from Germany to arrive (Lufthansa-USAIR), still no news from the airline who is 'tracing my bag'.

Turns out their policy is to cover only up to 75 dollars for the first week...and I'm completely at their mercy. nothing electronic covered, so if I don't get my bag I'll have to lay out 30 bucks for a mobile phone charger out of my own pocket. Disgusting.

Helpful tip: never pack your chargers in the check in luggage (even if you are continuously searched because TSA doesn't like it when you have too many wires), because if the airline loses your bag, you're out of luck.

DOH!

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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9788 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/19/2007 1:18 AM
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How frustrating it all is with these airlines. Makes me wonder why we don't just let the american ones go bankrupt and stay bankrupt (and let better ones rise from the ashes...).

I've waited for more than a week for my bag from Germany to arrive (Lufthansa-USAIR), still no news from the airline who is 'tracing my bag'.

Turns out their policy is to cover only up to 75 dollars for the first week...and I'm completely at their mercy. nothing electronic covered, so if I don't get my bag I'll have to lay out 30 bucks for a mobile phone charger out of my own pocket. Disgusting.


Losing you luggage sucks. I've had it happen at least a few times a year. One time it took upwards of three weeks to get a bag returned. In your case, do you at least have a tracking number? The airline that last handled your bag (US Air) is the one who is responsible for tracing your bag.

With a tracking number, both US Air Lufthansa has a pretty good system and they should be able to tell you if the bag at least reached Frankfurt. Frankfurt has a pretty good scanning system and they should have info on the bag if it went through there.

Another suggestion is if you have any status with either Lufthansa or US Air, talk to the FF assistance number. Once when I lost a bag, I called the Senator line and they made a call to the baggage center in Frankfurt, who did a walk-though and found my bag, based on my descriptions. All the tags had come off and they had to open the bag to identify it. I had my name and address on the inside of the bag, just for this reason.

I recommend that everyone who travels attached your contact information clearly on the inside of the bag as well. If all your tags come off, this may be the only way they can figure out who the bag belongs to.

As far as being frustrated with American airlines, they hardly are the only ones who lose luggage. Letting all or most of them go bankrupt will just leave one or two very powerful airlines that can dictate pricing much more, thus the risk of much higher fares.

The 75 dollars compensation seems to be a standard industry wide. I seem to remember that is about the same amount I've received from BA, Lufthansa, Japan Airline, Swiss Air, United, and Alaska air. I think the fee should be a bit higher, since arriving at a place without clean clothes and such will usually run you more that 75 dollars, even if it is just for a day.



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Author: DorothyM Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9790 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/19/2007 9:37 AM
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Losing you luggage sucks. I've had it happen at least a few times a year. One time it took upwards of three weeks to get a bag returned.

I talked to a woman in the Paris airport (the duty free shop) a couple of years ago whose bag had been lost by British Airways. She got it back two days before her return to the US. (Can't remember whether her vacation was 2 or 3 weeks.) I learned from her that it's a very good idea to put black (washable) pants/trousers/slacks in carry-on. She had made it through her vacation buying just a few t-shirts.

Of course that was the time before we had to put toothpaste, shampoo and hand lotion in checked luggage. This stuff can be very expensive to replace -- I forgot shampoo going to Turkey and paid the equivalent of $7 for a small-ish bottle.

I wonder if there's a patron saint of checked baggage. I don't know that prayers would help, but certainly couldn't hurt. :-)

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Author: Lurker1999 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9791 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/19/2007 9:44 AM
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You can still easily travel with carry-on only, particularly if you're not hauling a lot of electronics around for a business trip (and even if you're travelling on business as long as you pack wisely). So far my freedom baggie has never gotten more than a cursory glance and interestingly I've forgotten to take it out of my bag a couple of times and had it go through. Then again I've not met with any crusaders yet but I'm sure my time will come.

I'd suggest Lush solid shampoos instead of the liquid stuff. It's much lighter and compact and does not risk an accidental spill in your bag.

www.lush.com

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Author: wecoguy Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9792 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/19/2007 11:15 AM
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One suggestion that might help. Most of us have digital cameras, it would be a good idea it seems to take a picture of your luggage, maybe set them a little apart so each piece of luggage can be identified.. We already carry paper copies of our CC's, Passport, Driver's license, so one more or even printed on the backside of the same sheet could be very helpful.. So far we've nver lost any pieces, just delayed a day or two.. So far..

weco

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Author: hiddenflem Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9793 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/19/2007 3:03 PM
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Great suggestions guys, thanks. And sorry to complain, I just needed to vent...


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Author: Watty56 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9799 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/20/2007 4:01 PM
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For what it is worth, I was curious and found some statistics about the airline performance.

http://www.bts.gov/press_releases/2007/dot016_07/pdf/dot016_07.pdf

Involuntary bumping, 1.01 per 100,000 passengers over all of 2006

Lost luggage, 8.93 per 1,000 passengers in December 2006(which is probably one of the busiest months)

In reading this I didn't see just how they counted passengers. I suspect that it may count every takeoff and landing, so if you made a round trip with a connecting flight each way, that might count as 4 "passengers".

Greg


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Author: tomjet Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9814 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/22/2007 9:44 AM
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Greetings:

This will clarify the prior post citing the federal government's statistic that, during the calendar year 2006, approximately one person per 100,000 was "involuntarily bumped."

This statistic says nothing about the total number of confirmed-ticket holders per 100,000 who arrived at their U.S. airport in 2006 and were denied boarding. This is because airlines and the federal government classify boarding denials into two categories: voluntary bumping and involuntary bumping.

Approximately 900,000 people each and every year since about 1990 arrive at their U.S. airport with confirmed tickets and are told that there is no seat for them on the plane. Of those 900,000, approximately 863,000 accept the airlines' offer of compensation (made at the gate generally). Those approx. 863,000 passengers are described as having been "voluntarily bumped" (because they accepted the airlines' compensation).

Approximately 37,000 people each year in the U.S. refuse the airlines' offer of compensation -- those folks are said to have been "involuntarily bumped."

The total number of 37,000 passengers does, in fact, translate to approximately 1.01 per 100,000 passengers. They were "involuntarily" bumped.

But, again, every year in this country, about 900,000 show up with their pre-paid, confirmed tickets at our U.S. airports and are informed, at the airport, that their flight was oversold, that there is no seat for them on the flight for which they had bought tickets and that if they would volunteer to fly on another flight, the airline will give them certain limited compensation (depending on the circumstances).

As recited in that 1976 U.S. Supreme Court case involving Ralph Nader, back in those days, the total number of confirmed-ticket holders who were bumped (voluntary and involuntary) was approximately 82,000 each year.

Tomjet

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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9815 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/22/2007 1:10 PM
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Approximately 900,000 people each and every year since about 1990 arrive at their U.S. airport with confirmed tickets and are told that there is no seat for them on the plane. Of those 900,000, approximately 863,000 accept the airlines' offer of compensation (made at the gate generally). Those approx. 863,000 passengers are described as having been "voluntarily bumped" (because they accepted the airlines' compensation).

Approximately 37,000 people each year in the U.S. refuse the airlines' offer of compensation -- those folks are said to have been "involuntarily bumped."


Hey Tomjet,

I know you are upset about getting Involuntary bumped, but aside from listing all the statistics, what would you do to fix this? You have noted that the airlines are overboooking or overselling flights, as you have found out, this has been going on for years. As I and others have stated, there is also a large amount of cancelations for every flight, so the airline is forced to play the odds in an attempts to keep the flights as full as possible. In the US, from Oct-Dec 2006 there were 140,947 voluntarily bumps and 12,238 involuntarily bumps with the industry flying 137,933,616 passengers. The DOT breaks this down to .84 passengers for every 10,000 were denied a seat on a flight (Involuntarily bump).
http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/2007/April/200704atcr.pdf
To me, this shows that the airline industry is doing pretty good at managing the process. It isn't perfect, as people were still denied seats, but the numbers are pretty good.

How do you make it perfect?

If you are suggesting Government Regulation - where no airline can ever overbook a flight. This will mean that flights would now fly with an industry average of 16% of the seats not filled. On your average 150-190 seat aircraft, that will mean that 24-30 seats would not have people in them. The airline would have to make up the missing revenue by raising prices.

The other choice the airline would have is to make the 16% average no-shows somehow disappear. The only way I see the airlines could do this is by making all tickets unchangeable. if you missed your flight because of traffic on the freeway or you got lost on the way back from your vacation, sorry you need to buy a new ticket. You need to change your ticket because of a family emergency, sorry you need to buy a new ticket. What happens in a weather closure at a major hub? Are those folks out of luck now since they picked a bad day to fly. Take the next availible flight? Well, that could be a while, since the airline has already sold all the seats and can't overbook and they don't allow folks to change tickets anymore.

I know I probably sound like a mouth piece for the airline industry, but I'm really not. I wish there were an easy fix to this problem, but it isn't just the airlines causing this problem. That 16% no-show average rate is something the airlines does, it is the passengers for the most part, but they have to deal with it the best they can. Their goal is to fly a plane 100% full with no passengers left behind. Any other case means they are either giving out compensation of some sort or loosing revenue from empty seats.

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Author: LQueiros Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9817 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/23/2007 6:48 AM
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The other choice the airline would have is to make the 16% average no-shows somehow disappear. The only way I see the airlines could do this is by making all tickets unchangeable. if you missed your flight because of traffic on the freeway or you got lost on the way back from your vacation, sorry you need to buy a new ticket. You need to change your ticket because of a family emergency, sorry you need to buy a new ticket. What happens in a weather closure at a major hub? Are those folks out of luck now since they picked a bad day to fly. Take the next availible flight? Well, that could be a while, since the airline has already sold all the seats and can't overbook and they don't allow folks to change tickets anymore.

One also wonders how much these regulations then reduce the number of passengers, and thus the revenue base for the airline. If it were that strict, some people would choose to drive longer distances, instead of taking a chance with an airline ticket.

The airline industry is not alone in the overbooking conumdrum. Hotels do this regularly too. Sometimes it's intentional. Sometimes it's not, due to reservation errors.

Personally, I enjoy overbooking. It's given me 5 free international tickets. But, I am also flying for pleasure, not business, so arriving at a specific time is not mandatory.

I'm sure many of those 863,000 voluntarily bumped passengers enjoyed the perks of their compensation as well. That's not to say that there weren't unhappy passengers. But one can't assume that all of them were disgruntled either.

Laura
met Bon Jovi because of overbooking





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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9818 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/23/2007 9:00 AM
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I'm sure many of those 863,000 voluntarily bumped passengers enjoyed the perks of their compensation as well. That's not to say that there weren't unhappy passengers. But one can't assume that all of them were disgruntled either.

I would venture to guess that most of them were pretty happy. They did not have to agree to give up thier seat, instead the airline offered compensation and they jumped at the offer. I've been on quite a few flights where they had way more folks wanting to take the offer than the airline needed.

Like you, I've received quite a few benefits from voluntarily bumped.

Laura
met Bon Jovi because of overbooking


I am so jealous...as is my daughter :-)


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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9819 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/23/2007 10:16 AM
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Like you, I've received quite a few benefits from voluntarily bumped.

Add me to the list. The United ticket vouchers are also easier to use than miles. At least one of mine was used for Thanksgiving travel for one of the kids while in college.

I currently have a voucher in my name and one in my husband's and kids who can still use tickets :)

rad


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Author: tomjet Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9826 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/23/2007 2:19 PM
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Greetings:

The sole purpose of my prior post was to focus a spotlight on someone's earlier statement that, "in all of 2006," only 1 person in 100,000 was "involuntarily bumped."

This statistic, standing by itself, suggests that only 1 person in every 100,000 who arrive at our airports are then and there forced to change their pre-paid travel plans due to airlines' overselling their flights.

In my prior post, I ignored any discussion of whether or not airlines should oversell and of whether any viable reforms can be made to ameliorate this situation.

My only aim was to provide complete and accurate information as to the size of the situation, in sheer numbers of passengers affected.

To understand that size, I explained that the airlines and the federal government use the terms "voluntary" and "involuntary" relative to bumping. To each such term, the airlines and the federal governement assign a different number of passengers: namely, of the approximately 900,000 people each year in the U.S. who are denied boarding and forced to change their travel plans, about 863,000 are considered to have "voluntarily" done so while the balance (about 37,000) are treated as having "involuntarily" done so (it's only the latter number that translates to 1 in 100,000).

As a sidenote, I am actually amused by how the ordinary meaning of "voluntary" is being stretched here. It is not as though the person who is "volunteering" to change his travel plans has a choice as to whether or not to change his travel plans. What he volunteered to do was to avoid leaving the airport without anything to show for the ticket he had bought and counted on.

As for the subject of potential solutions (if any) to this situation, several are discussed in "Terminal 250: Federal Regulation of Airline Overbooking." They are all very different from those I have read in recent posts in this thread. In that article, the link to which I included in my first post in this thread, eleven (11) pages are devoted to "Potential Solutions." That section is divided into the following headings: (1) Minor Changes to Current Regulations, (2) Expand Disclosure of Overbooking Rates, (3) Eliminate Involuntary Bumping, and (4) Repeal All Regulations Governing Overbooking.

What I have learned in my research and examination of airline overbooking/overselling is that it is a monstrously complex economic problem for this economically unique industry. It cannot and should not be eliminated via government regulation.

My prior posts deliberately avoided any discussion of whether this situation should exist or what, if any, reforms can be instituted to address it. I will always, though, engage in further discussion if factual information that is put out there as full information is actually half the information.

Finally, as a matter of common sense, I believe that for most people who are bumped (over 50% of the 900,000 or so), this unexpected disruption of their lives is unwelcome and problematic, and that most would prefer that as between the airlines' offer at the gate of "compensation" and their plans happening as they had expected, most would prefer that their plans go forward as they had hoped and expected.

Tomjet

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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9827 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/23/2007 2:49 PM
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Finally, as a matter of common sense, I believe that for most people who are bumped (over 50% of the 900,000 or so), this unexpected disruption of their lives is unwelcome and problematic, and that most would prefer that as between the airlines' offer at the gate of "compensation" and their plans happening as they had expected, most would prefer that their plans go forward as they had hoped and expected

How do you figure? No one at the airport or airline forces anyone to sign up as a volunteer when the airline is asking for them. If I need to get to my destination and the airline asks if I would like to take a later flight in exchange for compensation, I tell them no. It is easy as that. I've done it many time.

Sure the 37,000 INVOLS have no choice and I will agree that almost all of them are not happy. (Though I do have a few Freq Flyer friends who even enjoy this even because of thier CC and travel insurance benefits that kick in)

Those other 863,00 folks all signed up, saying if the airline needs a seat they will accept the compensation. Every single person I have met who signs up for a voluntary bump is pretty happy when the bump went through. It seems the only unhappy people I see are the ones that sign up to take a later flight, but the airline doesn't need to bump them, so they get no compensation.



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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9828 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/23/2007 2:49 PM
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As a sidenote, I am actually amused by how the ordinary meaning of "voluntary" is being stretched here. It is not as though the person who is "volunteering" to change his travel plans has a choice as to whether or not to change his travel plans.

I don't understand this. When I volunteer, they put me on the list. When they need the seat, they call me up, tell me what they are offering and ask if I am willing to take it. If I say no, my butt is in my original seat on the original flight.

rad



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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9829 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/23/2007 3:00 PM
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As a sidenote, I am actually amused by how the ordinary meaning of "voluntary" is being stretched here. It is not as though the person who is "volunteering" to change his travel plans has a choice as to whether or not to change his travel plans. What he volunteered to do was to avoid leaving the airport without anything to show for the ticket he had bought and counted on

How it it being streched? The airline makes an announcment, looking for folks who are willing to give up thier seat in exchange for compensation and a later flight. You either sign up or you don't. If you don't, 99% of the time other folks will be more than happy to change thier plans for what the airline is offering.



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Author: LQueiros Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9832 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/24/2007 10:27 AM
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As a sidenote, I am actually amused by how the ordinary meaning of "voluntary" is being stretched here. It is not as though the person who is "volunteering" to change his travel plans has a choice as to whether or not to change his travel plans. What he volunteered to do was to avoid leaving the airport without anything to show for the ticket he had bought and counted on.

This doesn't make sense. If you're counting on your ticket, you don't "volunteer" in the first place. By definition, volunteers are people that are happy to trade their ticket for the compensation. If they don't think the compensation is enough in the first place, they turn it down & get on the flight.

One time, we were sitting in our seats in first class, sipping champagne, when the staff asked us if we were still interested in volunteering. We could have kept our butts right in our seats. We decided a free hotel, free meals, first class lounge (with a free top-shelf buffet & liquors) and free international ticket was worth moving our butts.

Even after volunteering, it's possible to sweeten the deal. Friend of ours volunteered when her flight to Paris was full. She called us on her cellphone to find out how it worked. This was her first time trying it. I gave her a few tips & she got a better deal than the initial offer the airline gave her.

Later she called back when subsequent passengers were getting even larger amounts. The flight was badly overbooked & not getting enough volunteers. I told her to go back to the staff & tell them she wanted the same deal or she was going to withdraw her offer to volunteer. She got the better deal.

Finally, as a matter of common sense, I believe that for most people who are bumped (over 50% of the 900,000 or so), this unexpected disruption of their lives is unwelcome and problematic, and that most would prefer that as between the airlines' offer at the gate of "compensation" and their plans happening as they had expected, most would prefer that their plans go forward as they had hoped and expected.

Where do you get a statistic like 50%? That sounds like it's simply colored by your dislike of the concept. Volunteers are happy campers. Unhappy people don't volunteer in the first place.

Airlines want volunteers. The last thing they want to do is to involuntarily bump someone. By definition, these are going to be people that want to get on the flight. Otherwise, they would have volunteered in the first place.

On a different tangent, one subset not covered by these statistics are those that are denied boarding because they didn't meet the terms of their tickets. When space is tight, airlines adhere strictly to regulations. You better be at the boarding gate by the required time cut-off, for example.

We saw a couple denied boarding because of this. They'd already checked in. But they decided to go to the bathrooms just before getting on the plane. They made it back 1 minute after the last call for boarding. They never dreamed they'd get denied, since they'd checked in already. Suprise - they were. The screaming became so bad, the staff called security.

Cases like this can make for disgruntled customers, but unlike involuntary bumping, cost the airline nothing as they are not required to compensate the passenger, since it was the passenger that did not adhere to the terms of their ticket.

Laura




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Author: cliff666 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9833 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/24/2007 4:50 PM
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This has been a very long Final Word.

cliff
... but thanks for solid info.

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Author: carolsmithhsa Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9850 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 12:41 PM
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Hello Globetraveler
I agree with your observations.

As I write this, I just finished spending 13 hours trying to get from Jackson MS to Chicago yesterday due to two days of weather-releated snafus -- so 4 flights later I made it home. But my bag was lost in the process. It is still lost. But I digress..

We as consumers want low prices and still have the right to change things since we have events in our lives that impact our ability to follow through on a committed ticket purchases. Yet we whine when we get bumped due to overbooking when an airline hedges its bet that some of us will be (a) lost in traffic, (b) sick or (c) our trip was cancelled by the client at the last minute so we will be a no-show at teh airport etc. We want the airline to accommodate us with changes that we initiate yet expect them to always be there for us when WE show up. I do not have a good solution for this except to show up early at the airport if possible. And always carry an extra days of next-day appropriate clothes in your carryon or you will be sorry.
Carol
(a 20-year road warrior)


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Author: danthony Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9851 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 12:49 PM
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I was like many of the respondents believing that most people that are bumped do so voluntarily when the airline gives the choice. Until... my wife and I were bumped from a Delta flight between JFK and Dulles involuntarily - we heard of no request for volunteers on said flight. We did accept compensation for the bump. Does this put us in the "voluntarily bumped" category? If so, the statistics can again say anything one wants them to say.

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Author: paulfree Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9852 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 1:14 PM
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There really does not need to be overbooking at all.

A Broadway theater will not sell more tickets than it has seats. Sure there may be cancellations or no shows. However there are places to get last minute tickets two hours before the show at a significantly (50% off) reduced price.

Since most people get to the airport around 2 hours before a flight it would not be difficult to find a way to allow people to risk coming to the airport to take a chance of getting on a flight at the last moment. Airlines can open-up unsold or cancelled seats one hour before a flight and sell them at a substantial discount. This won't work for business travellers but for people looking for a quick last minute trip they just might be willing to go to the airport with a suitcase if they felt they could go somewhere for $100 or so.

They could even set up a kiosk at an airport that would have a computer where airlines could post their available seats and a price almost like a mini ebay and have passengers bid on those seats with bidding closed one hour prior to departure.

The more I think about it the more this looks like it could be an interesting business model. Anyone want to invest?

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9853 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 1:17 PM
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A confirmed ticket is less of a guarantee than having an assigned seat. There is an occassional problem with seats being assigned twice, but that is rare. I have only had this happen after a flight was cancelled. The airline agent was an airhead and didn't reassign seats for the next flight. The flight was only about 10% full, so it didn't matter.

Debra

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Author: home88 Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9854 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 1:37 PM
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Just a thought Globetraveler... those seats were paid for, in advance. This means that the airline had taken money for something they didn't have. In most cases that is illegal, it's called fraud.

Additionally, the 16% empty seats were paid for. The airline loses nothing flying with empty seats that were purchased.

If you miss your flight and have to change to another one, you pay extra money as well. So the airlines make money once again for their inconvenience at having to place you onto a different flight.

I have a hard time swallowing the "poor airlines are doing their best" theory. There are numerous problems with how the airlines are run and there may never be good answers to them, but over doing customer service and compensation for overselling seats is hardly what's bringing them, or has brought them, to their financial knees.

How about pilots that make $275,000 a year? CEO's that make millions upon millions while the stock of the company tanks on a yearly basis? Everyone seems astonished that LUV can be profitable year after year, but still maintains some of the best statistics in the industry... and I've never been involuntarily bumped from a LUV flight in many years of travel. Yes, they have oversold flights, but their compensation has always been exceptional to the point that they usually have more wanting to take the compensation than they have need for.

Really what the point is, is that some common sense has to be instilled into the process. Flights need to leave on time. If the passengers aren't present, the flight leaves. They will be put on the next flight to the same destination that has available seats, for a charge. If the airline overbooks the flight, they should be just as liable as the customer. Passengers should be repaid for prepaid vacation items that they can verify, etc. I imagine that the whole process would run much more efficiently if everyone, customer and business, were held to a higher standard.

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Author: Lurker1999 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9855 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 1:39 PM
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How about pilots that make $275,000 a year?

How about you back up that number by some median salaries for mainline and regional pilots?

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Author: ChiliChild Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9856 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 1:40 PM
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A confirmed ticket is less of a guarantee than having an assigned seat.

Perhaps in general, but not in our case.

On two recent flights (both legs) we, as always, had assigned seats only to discover, either while checking in online or at the desk, that we no longer had assigned seats. In Vegas in December coming home, we had to wait just like Standby passengers for seat assignments from American (with no explanation), which included a middle seat. We always go for two aisle seats or a two-side. We had made our reservations in July. A trip to Salt Lake in January on Delta found us with different seats, including a middle seat, despite having made those arrangements in September.

Will be calling American in a few days to confirm our assigned seats to Seattle in May. Arrangements were only made last month.


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Author: A6ETrammn Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9858 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 2:34 PM
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How about pilots that make $275,000 a year? CEO's that make millions upon millions while the stock of the company tanks on a yearly basis?

I'm afraid you are quoting pilot pay that is more than two years old. Even the one you quoted was the top wide-body pay that existed back then (Only a small fraction of airline pilots). Now the top wide-body Captain compensation (still a very small fraction of pilots)is closer to $150000. The average pilot salary is closer to $50000 when you include regionals, legacy carriers, etc. If you google pilot salaries the Princeton Review has an outdated amount of $200,000 after 15 years. They also list TWA as a large employer, it has been out of business for 5 years (bought and dismantled by American)

The CEO's on the other hand are making millions while they strive for what I call the WalMart effect. Offer as little as possible in ameneties and class, pay your people as little as possible (part time without benefits is the ultimate goal), do what you want in a community and claim you are providing jobs and value.

A bit off topic but a correctio was necessary.

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Author: JStarkey9 Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9862 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 3:20 PM
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I've only flown twice since retiring in 1988.

However, you can still make reservations to pick up the ticket at the airport. It was common then and probably still it for folks to make several reservations on different airlines to "have flexibility"

and in college towns - to flood the airlines with reservations and then show up for the cheaper standby seats.

and I would much rather pay a pilot 250 million a year to fly 1000s of folks safely than the CEO of any company. I used to travel between 180 and 240 days a year and love to get there safe.

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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9863 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 3:22 PM
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Hmmm...

I was wondering why this thread all of the sudden took off again. I guess we made the hot topic for TMF. Anyway, greetings everyone!



Globetraveler

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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9865 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 3:34 PM
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As I write this, I just finished spending 13 hours trying to get from Jackson MS to Chicago yesterday due to two days of weather-releated snafus -- so 4 flights later I made it home. But my bag was lost in the process. It is still lost. But I digress..

Hello Carol,

We've had a few discussions here about lost luggage. Believe me, I've had my fair share of it. I had a bag that took several weeks to get back to me and it went all over the world. I asked the airline if I could get my bag's FF miles. :-)

We as consumers want low prices and still have the right to change things since we have events in our lives that impact our ability to follow through on a committed ticket purchases

I understand why folks get upset over this issue. There is now joy when it happens and honestly I think the involentary bump compensation rates are on the rather low side. The question is how do you prevent it? I offered my theory of why certain legislation might be a bad idea. I'm no expert on the subject, even though I have been bumped a few times.

This thread has been an interesting discussion and with the new people showing up, I'm sure some new ideas will probably be thrown around.






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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9867 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 3:50 PM
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A Broadway theater will not sell more tickets than it has seats. Sure there may be cancellations or no shows. However there are places to get last minute tickets two hours before the show at a significantly (50% off) reduced price

I may be wrong, since iit has been about 20 years since I went to a broadway show, but if you don't show up for a broadway show on your give time and date on your ticket, I don't think you still use that ticket for a future show. I'm sure someone will let me know. :-)

I do like your idea about the selling empty seats right before the flight, but I am not sure how practical it would be. Some of those no-shows come from misconnected and delayed flights. If an airline cut things off at two hours, your 1 hour connection at Chicago would suddenly be much longer. The other issue is that a lot of folks arrive two hours before a flight, many hard core road warriors cut that a lot closer, especially if you don't have checked baggage. I think that any airline that forced a minimum two hour check-in time on a domestic flight would risk losing some of thier business travelers.




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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9869 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 4:06 PM
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Just a thought Globetraveler... those seats were paid for, in advance. This means that the airline had taken money for something they didn't have. In most cases that is illegal, it's called fraud.

I have no legal background, so I can't debate the definition of fraud. I understand what you are getting at, but how do you prevent the problem. Remember the problem stems from the high rate of no-shows

Additionally, the 16% empty seats were paid for. The airline loses nothing flying with empty seats that were purchased.

This is only true if your ticket became worthless if you missed a flight. Mosts ticketsing can be changed or exchanged for another ticket. Yes, the airline may charge a fee, depend on the fare type, but the ticket still has value.

Everyone seems astonished that LUV can be profitable year after year, but still maintains some of the best statistics in the industry... and I've never been involuntarily bumped from a LUV flight in many years of travel. Yes, they have oversold flights, but their compensation has always been exceptional to the point that they usually have more wanting to take the compensation than they have need for.

Southwest does a good job at a lot of things, but even you admit that they play the odds when it comes to overbooking game like most other airlines. While you haven't been involarily bumped, they do it. They were better than the average during the OCT-DEC time frame last year, but not as good as others.


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Author: TheGarcipian One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9872 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 4:40 PM
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Sorry, Tomjet, to hear about your troubles. I know my opinion here is going to be woefully unpopular, but the fact of the matter is that the general public is not prepared for the alternative. The free market has (so far) determined that this is the best practice, and so it has remained. If you think otherwise, start a letter-writing campaign (seriously) to your fellow Americans and ask them to pay up for the level of service you require.

Renting an airline seat (that's effectively what you're doing when you fly) is not like renting a car or a boat. When the plane leaves, it's going to expend (roughly) the same amount of fuel whether it's got 5 or 500 people on board. Fuel is the single largest cost of running an airline, and it's non-recoverable. If a person fails to show up to rent a car, the rental company doesn't lose out on any fuel. Sure, it's still got to pay its overhead (utilities, insurance, management, bookkeeping, etc.), but so does the airline. And the fuel for the airline is soooooo much more expensive than the gasoline you and I put in our cars/trucks/boats.

Now, I'm not trying to defend these guys because, quite frankly, some of the idiot decisions these airlines' CEOs have made are real head-scratchers; to wit, former CEO Ron Allen of Delta Air Lines, who still !amazingly! sits on the Delta Board of Directors. His ill-timed and overpaid purchase of Pan Am jets was an ego trip that has had repercussions to this day. But these guys have slowly and successfully "commodotized" the industry so much that there's very little wiggle room left for passenger bonuses. What used to be a luxury until even the 1970s is now an expected way of travel.

And the airlines, having so "successfully" (tongue planted firmly in cheek) commodotized their industry cut each other's throats with price wars and the like. They'd never do what really needs to be done to solve your (and my) gripes. What needs to be done is to enforce a high price for a cancellation fee. If you miss your flight, there's no refund and no reuse of that ticket. At the very least, you should pay for the fuel responsible for flying your seat 11B from Newark to Des Moines, or wherever you're going.

But who's going to do that? Who's going to pay that price? Not Joe Individual Flyer. The airlines are too busy courting him via their low-margin high-commodity business that they cannot afford the public relations fiasco that would generate (ohmigosh! people paying for empty seats?! what horror!). So, in a free market economy, it's you and I that end up paying for the convenience of being able to *NOT* show up for a flight yet keep your money. And we also pay for those who actually fail to show up on time for their flight, for whatever reason.

In truth, it's the airlines fault. Cruise lines don't have this problem, because they've all agreed to exact a hefty price for any last minute cancellations. Yet, the airlines in their efforts to "out-service" their competition have cut out their only weapon to deal with this issue. They so badly want to gain the businessman's loyalty (because s/he is, after all, the one who gives them the lion's share of their revenues) that convenience is all that's left to distinguish one airline from another. That's their only differentiator, and they're not about to let that go.

So, write your Congressman, write your community, write the airlines themselves. Perhaps a grassroots push will force the airlines to enact a business policy like that of the cruise lines.

May the friendly skies be with you!

--Gar

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Author: wasatchskier Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9877 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 5:43 PM
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Well,...there is really a lot more to it than that. Nobody wants a nonrefundable ticket. But everybody wants to have a seat. Not fair at all to the business. Yes, airlines are a BUSINESS. The only way to stay in business is to run it like one. So, if you have a nonrefundable ticket, you should be guaranteed a seat. Period. But if not, overselling is the ONLY way to be sure to fill up every seat. And once the aircraft has left the gate, that seat is gone forever and cannot be sold ever again. You want cheap tickets and a really safe ride? Then the airlines need to fill all the seats they have and make money. Airlines that don't make money don't have money for things like better equipment and training.

By the way, a round trip flight NY to LAX in 1960 cost $100 each way, plus tax. In todays dollars, that is near a Thousand (yes $1,000) each way in todays adjusted. Yet you can find sales and still buy a round trip ticket NY to LAX for $100 each way in 2007 dollars, plus tax and "security" fees. One heck of a deal.

Yes, I am an airline pilot. And, thanks to deregulation, I have flown for 9 airlines. I have seen what NOT being in business to make money does to the investors dollar. And to safety. Don't bump nonrefundable tickets. Everybody else, start showing up. As for Continental,...I don't work for them. And we would never treat someone that way. Fly with those who have cutomer service and reward those who don't with long complaint letters and a picture of you boarding someone elses flight.

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9878 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 8:34 PM
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On two recent flights (both legs) we, as always, had assigned seats only to discover, either while checking in online or at the desk, that we no longer had assigned seats.

I have noticed warnings on airline websites that seat assignments are a request. I always verify a few days later that the seats are still assigned. It doesn't stop them from taking the assignments, just because they can. I haven't had the problem with Alaska.

Debra

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Author: ThisGuy3 Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9879 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 8:58 PM
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Everyone fly Jetblue! They purposely never over book. Check it out. And they have the best over all experience.

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Author: A6ETrammn Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9881 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 9:21 PM
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Ah, the JetBlue discussion. Did you know they only contract their employees. No benefits, and they can renew the contract at their discretion. Needless to say they don't renew if someone should ask for more pay after the 5 year contract is up.

Oh, and why are they losing money now? They received their A320 aircraft with a 5 year maintenance exclusion (they didn't have to pay to maintain the airplanes) Now that they have to pay, they are losing money.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.. A house of cards you might say.

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Author: chookchook Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9882 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/26/2007 10:58 PM
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For my sins, I take something of the order of 100 flights a year, mostly outside of the US. I'd have to preference my remarks by saying that I rarely even get threatened with bumping because I'm typically fairly high on the FF food chain.

That said, I have been "involuntarily bumped" once this year, and despite the fact that it was somewhat of an inconvenience, I accepted it without much of a fuss because *overselling of flights works for me as well as for the airlines.*

As others have mentioned, there is about a 15% no-show rate at time of flight. What is more, I am sure that if you looked at all the people booked on a flight 5 days before it takes off or 2 days before takeoff and checked out how many of the people then booked actually make it to the flight, then the "not show up" rate would be much, much higher. If Airlines were not able to work the statistics and oversell seats, just think of the consequences:

1. My chances of actually getting a reservation wouild drastically decrease, because at any given time the apparent available capacity would drop by 30% or so.

2. Airlines would be forced to sell non-changeable tickets. That's just a non-starter for me. I rarely manage to meet the expected itinerary on my typical multi-destination and often multi-week biztrip. Since the better airlines make most of their money out of frequent business travellers, I bet it would be a non-starter for most of their clientele.

3. Ticket prices would have to go up by approximately the same percentage as the average load rate would go down. Bad for me.

4. OK. points 2 and 3 are sort of options. Probably it would be a mix of the two, but they mitigate each other.


I have only twice been in a situation where I could "volunteer" to be bumped. That's because this only happens in the US. On the first occasion I really had to be at the destination on time so I didn't volunteer. On the second, they were offering a stopover in Hawaii with hotel. I had a spare day an thought breaking my journey to Tokyo half-way would be kinda nice so I tried to volunteer. No Dice. I was knocked over in the rush and missed out. I can say 100% of the people who were voluntarily bumped on that flight were happy with what they got.

There is of course a system in most places whereby airlines can sell the seats of no-shows on the day. It's called "standby". It was an option for me in my college days but not any more.

Home88 Writes:
------------------------------------------
Really what the point is, is that some common sense has to be instilled into the process. Flights need to leave on time. If the passengers aren't present, the flight leaves. They will be put on the next flight to the same destination that has available seats, for a charge. If the airline overbooks the flight, they should be just as liable as the customer. Passengers should be repaid for prepaid vacation items that they can verify, etc. I imagine that the whole process would run much more efficiently if everyone, customer and business, were held to a higher standard.
-------------------------------------------

It's a nice concept. However it wouldn't work as well in practice as the current one does, because it would take most of the flexibility built into the current system out. If you really can't afford to be bumped, you always have the option of paying a full economy (Y class) seat. Then you will only be bumped after all the people on excursion fares have been bumped.

The system as it is is designed to look after the people who represent most of the profit for airlines - the business traveller. Then the system tries to fill up the rest of the seats with excursion fares at lower prices. In the end, on average, everyone wins because fabulously cheap excursion fares are available for vacationers. If you took the flexibility out of the system, then these fares would disappear because there would be little incentive for airlines to offer them.

--chook

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Author: peglegs Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9889 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 4/27/2007 3:47 PM
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What about the situation a friend of mine was in not too long ago, where he had a Christmastime flight from Chicago to someplace in Ohio, booked in June. He gets to the airport in December, and finds over 100 people milling about, having been told they'd been bumped from the flight. Seems the friendly folks at United changed the flight to a smaller plane IN OCTOBER and never mentioned to any of these poor suckers that they were just plain going to be out of luck.

Great customer service, another reason I don't fly unless I really have to.

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Author: JavaRunner Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9905 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/1/2007 6:55 AM
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The more I think about it the more this looks like it could be an interesting business model. Anyone want to invest?
======================================================================

Nope. You would never make any money. Airlines need to overbook. This is nothing like going to a Broadway show. Bidding for seats would undersell seats. In an age of high fuel prices, an airline can't "give away" seats.

Charlie

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Author: tomjet Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9906 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/1/2007 12:39 PM
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Greetings:

The answer to the following post by "danthony," Post No. 9851, is "Yes."

"I was like many of the respondents believing that most people that are bumped do so voluntarily when the airline gives the choice. Until... my wife and I were bumped from a Delta flight between JFK and Dulles involuntarily - we heard of no request for volunteers on said flight. We did accept compensation for the bump. Does this put us in the "voluntarily bumped" category? If so, the statistics can again say anything one wants them to say."

Tomjet

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Author: Davem105 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9908 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/1/2007 1:24 PM
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Nope. You would never make any money. Airlines need to overbook. This is nothing like going to a Broadway show. Bidding for seats would undersell seats.
In an age of high fuel prices, an airline can't "give away" seats.

Then how come they are raising prices? Seems kind of counter-intuitive.

Tje news, this morning said that airline prices would be at record levels this summer.



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Author: tomjet Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9909 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/1/2007 1:33 PM
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Greetings:

I've just re-read throught this entire 40-odd post thread.

Thankfully, not all of you accept as a foregone, immutable conclusion that the way airlines do business is just how it must be if we want airfares to remain at current levels.

Again, I strongly recommend the 34-page, clearly written 2004 article, which you can pull up on Google, "Terminal 250: Federal Regulation of Airline Overbooking." The link is http://www.law.nyu.edu/journals/lawreview/issues/vol79/no5/NYU504.pdf.

Early in this thread, one of you wrote that "most people" are "happy" being bumped.

I doubt very much that "most" of the 100 people in Peglegs' post (no. 9889) were happy:

"What about the situation a friend of mine was in not too long ago, where he had a Christmastime flight from Chicago to someplace in Ohio, booked in June. He gets to the airport in December, and finds over 100 people milling about, having been told they'd been bumped from the flight. Seems the friendly folks at United changed the flight to a smaller plane IN OCTOBER and never mentioned to any of these poor suckers that they were just plain going to be out of luck."

Thatcher Stone and his daughter were not happy when, on Christmas Day in 2004, Continental accepted their luggage and ski equipment, issued them boarding passes for the NY-Colorado flight and then told them, at the NY gate, that they would be bumped and there were no flights to Colorado in the upcoming days. Had Stone accepted Continental's offer of compensation, he and his daughter would have been deemed "volunteers." Stone sued. I'm sure he was real happy to have been denied this long-planned, one-week ski trip with his young daughter. His case is reported at 804 NYS2d 652 (2005).

Puh-leeeze.

Tomjet

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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9910 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/1/2007 2:38 PM
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The answer to the following post by "danthony," Post No. 9851, is "Yes."

You answer is just plain wrong. Just because you received compensation for denied boarding does not mean you suddenly become a voluntary bump.

I have looked at the DOT website, various publications and articles on the subject , and the airline policies and every one of the state that if you are denied boarding, this is considered an involuntary bump. It does not matter if you accept or receive compensation.



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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9911 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/1/2007 2:38 PM
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Early in this thread, one of you wrote that "most people" are "happy" being bumped.

You know, even when several people have talked about the signing up for a voluntary bump and shared thier stories about enjoying the rewards, you don't believe it. Somehow we must be some strange minority.

I will agree in a situation where you are are INVOLUNTARILY BUMPED, almost every single person will not be happy. In the cases that you have stated, those were INVOLS and I agree that they are not happy. But, as I said before those only account for a small percentage of the total bumps. The rest are VOLUNTARY, where the airline asks for folks to VOLUNTEER to give up their seats. If you sign up to give up your seat and then are unhappy because your decision will cause you to miss your original flight, I don't know what to say.

You keep wanting to stretch the definitions of these two terms to suite your own arguments. If you are not allowed on a plane because of overbooking, that is an INVOLUNTARILY BUMP, wether you took compensation or not. If the airline asks if you WANT to take another flight and you agree, then you are a VOLUUNARTY BUMP.

But, please don't trust my definitions, look at how the US DOT defines the situation.

http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/flyrights.htm#overbooking

Just to give folks an idea of some of the rewards I have received over the years for signing up to be bumps: I have recieved free rountrip tickets for US, Europe, and Asia for signing up to take a later flight when the airline asked. I have also recieved cash vouchers, cash, upgrades, and even frequent flyer miles.

Here are a few short stories:

I was sitting on a Northwest 747 Flight to Hawaii, when the Flight Attendant announced they would give anyone who gave up thier seat to take a flight on United 4 hours later would get a free R/T ticket to anywhere in the US, a $600 voucher toward purchase of another ticket, and a First class seat on the United flight. Since this was a leasure trip, I could not ring my call bell fast enough. I arrived in Honolulu 4 hours later, but with a free ticket, cash voucher and a great First class experiance.

I've even done a double bump. I was flying to Europe wth my wife and the flight to Dulles was oversold. The gate agent asked if we wanted to volunteer to take a later flight and I explained about the international flight to Europe. She made a phone call and said that she would book us on the later flight to Dulles and the later flight to Europe if we wanted in exchange for two R/T tickets anywhere in the US. My wife and I grabbed some dinner at the airport and headed back to the gate to catch the later flight. They were full again. I walked up to the agent and said, can we volunteer again and do the trip tommorow. She made a couple of phone calls and said sure. We got another set of R/T tickets and headed to a hotel for the night. The next day when I arrived at the checkin counter, we were surprised to find out that in addition to the 4 R/T tickets we received the day before, the airline also booked us all the way to Europe in First Class.



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Author: LQueiros Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9913 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/1/2007 3:02 PM
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I've just re-read throught this entire 40-odd post thread. Thankfully, not all of you accept as a foregone, immutable conclusion that the way airlines do business is just how it must be if we want airfares to remain at current levels...

Dude, what happen to you being "resigned to this whole situation now"?

Laura

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Author: Lurker1999 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9914 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/1/2007 3:14 PM
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Dude, what happen to you being "resigned to this whole situation now"?

Fight the power!

I'm still waiting for my chance to actually take advantage of some VDB compensation but often my travel plans don't extend the flexibility to do so.

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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9916 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/1/2007 11:06 PM
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where he had a Christmastime flight from Chicago to someplace in Ohio, booked in June

People really book this far out and don't recheck the itinerary along the way ? This sounds like going to the gate printed on your boarding pass even though that gate doesn't list your destination but not bothering to recheck the gate on the monitor and sitting there until your flight leaves from another gate.

Thatcher Stone and his daughter were not happy

How many times are you going to trot out this one ? Try finding something about a trip that isn't a ski vacation and maybe people will pull out the big violin.

rad

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Author: Lurker1999 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9919 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/4/2007 8:58 AM
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So I'm sitting at the gate at BOS at the moment, gotta love wireless on your PDA, waiting for my BOS-CVG flight holding a shiny (due to the glossy paper stock) $400 travel voucher as my VDB compensation. I had been on an earlier oversold BOS-DAY flight and was sitting at the gate waiting for boarding to start. And then it happened, they asked for 2 volunteers and immediately were offering $400 vouchers.

Despite having to weave past the gate lice I managed to get to the counter just before the second like-minded individual and well ahead of the 3rd individual hoping to volunteer.

While they had no seats up front and I may have to live with a middle seat for the flight I actually get to fly to my intended city, Cincinnati, instead of having to get to the Greyhound station in Dayton to take the bus to Cincinnati. I had no checked luggage allowing me to switch airports.

I may try to shoot for another VDB for this flight. We'll see if I get lucky again.

Looks like I am going to go overseas for a holiday this summer after all. $400 goes a ways to easing the summer ticket costs.

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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9920 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/4/2007 10:30 AM
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Looks like I am going to go overseas for a holiday this summer after all. $400 goes a ways to easing the summer ticket costs.

When I picked up my husband at the airport last night, we cashed in 2 vouchers to get our sons DEN-PHL tickets for July to spend a weekend at the shore with the grandparents.

Those were the last 2 vouchers in my file so we'll definitely be looking for opportunities. Summer's a comin' so they should present themselves. We'll be needing some tickets for the daughter and SIL to head out for skiing in the winter.

rad


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Author: Lurker1999 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9923 of 21132
Subject: Re: My Final Word on Airlines' Overselling Date: 5/6/2007 10:59 PM
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I almost managed to get a second VDB on my way to CVG. Unfortunately they didn't need anyone but I was first on the volunteer list.. Oh well I'll settle for $400 this time around.

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