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Handling overbooked flights

straitman

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Not only my perspective.

Downgrading from First/Business to economy and not providing a refund as last minute Fully flexible economy is more expensive than discount First/Business.

Anyone here that thinks overselling is a good thing then please don't ever find yourself in that situation with a need to be anywhere anytime soon.

You turn up 1 minute late and are not checked in or offloaded but airlines constantly delay flights.

Ridiculous fuel surcharges on award flights but award flights are generally marketed as "free flights".

I'm sure you can think of more examples.
... and I can think of many reasons for my answer however they will make the 20 pages I mentioned earlier seem like a really short read. If you believe the system is so complex and convoluted you should do everything, everytime to make sure that you are not the one who will be inconvenienced. Just because the airline cannot get it right doesn't mean we shouldn't do everything we can to minimise the possibilities of personal issues.

Start by checking in somewhere in that 48 hr period they give you. That shows them that you really do want to travel and won't be in the small percentage of no shows.
 

Bagpuss

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Part of the issue here, re-reading the "complaint".

Is the OP was actually going Brisbane and the solution was a Brisbane routing.

When initially told the flight was full and having to wait for later flights, I know I would have said
"well, we're actually going to Brisbane, due to this can you re-route us?"

May have still be sent to the sales desk and unsure what powers check-in have (which is probably limited).

So it seems, the workable outcome was good, it took some time and anger to get there.

NOTE: I remember once being delayed and not happy with the re-routing, my partner picked up the phone and called velocity. I questioned this and my partner said "as a high tier customer, they always say to call". End result was a better re-routing and all resolved over the phone without a long customer queue.
 

marki

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While I understand JohnK's frustration and in particular think they handled the 2YO situation poorly am not really sure why he thinks they should have bumped someone else rather than him. Virgin are not alone in overbooking and it appears the decision was in line with their policy. In fact I would suggest that if JohnK was not a long time poster here we would have had a number of people pointing this out by now in no uncertain terms.
Yeah but a two year old nobody off loads children as per policy? They do have date of Birth noted somewhere even though it is an adult ticket. Mind boggling.
 

p--and--t

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My 2 cents worth.

Over selling by airlines and leaving passengers in some mystical lottery system should be strictly forbidden by law.

If I buy a ticket and have a confirmed booking then its mine and I don't go in a lottery of maybe you have a seat and maybe you don't.

If I buy a ticket to the footy or the cinema or the ballet or the train or the bus, I don't turn up at the door and be told, "oh sorry, we over booked".

If airlines want to maximise the usage of their seats, they sell confirmed seats until the plane is full and then offer standby seats and everyone knows exactly where they stand.
 

Tygeray

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That's always the threat isn't it?

"Let us keep a system where we maximise our income while regularly leaving legitimate, paid up customers in the lurch, perhaps ruining trips and costing them money, or else we'll charge more".

It's been a long time coming, and may not be a perfect result, but the ACCC is slowly catching up with the airline industry.
The think word slowly is right on the mark. Especially when you look at the protection OS gets
 

TomVexille

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My 2 cents worth.

Over selling by airlines and leaving passengers in some mystical lottery system should be strictly forbidden by law.

If I buy a ticket and have a confirmed booking then its mine and I don't go in a lottery of maybe you have a seat and maybe you don't.

If I buy a ticket to the footy or the cinema or the ballet or the train or the bus, I don't turn up at the door and be told, "oh sorry, we over booked".

If airlines want to maximise the usage of their seats, they sell confirmed seats until the plane is full and then offer standby seats and everyone knows exactly where they stand.
If that's what you want, fly Jetblue.

The issue is that the airlines are catering to people who pay a premium for flexibility. QF and VA clearly do a very good job of managing their loads as this is not a common occurrence in Australia like it is in other countries.

I do think that we should have better consumer protection in the form of mandatory compensation like EU261. This leaves the risk on the side of the airline and not the pax
 

burmans

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Suggest you never fly with a US airline as it's an extremely common practice for US airlines to oversell.

Worth a read:
it's common practice for virtually ALL airlines to oversell, and there are good economic reasons for doing so (both for the airline and the consumer). Just google "why do airlines overbook" and you'll probably get a reasonable idea but you'd need to be open to the possibility that airlines might actually know more about running an airline than some customers.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Over selling by airlines and leaving passengers in some mystical lottery system should be strictly forbidden by law.

If I buy a ticket and have a confirmed booking then its mine and I don't go in a lottery of maybe you have a seat and maybe you don't.
Yes, but this can work both ways. If you are a passenger who has been affected by a late inbound, let's say due to ATC - so not the fault of the airline. Or maybe because of weather. In the US - using them as an example - gate agents can force an oversell on the flight to get you a boarding pass and through the TSA so you can be at the gate just in case a seat opens up on a later flight. And in the US that can be quite common - the flight they have forced you on to may have spare seats if other passengers are late and miss their connections.

The system isn't as simple as a black and white.

If the issue is within the airline's control - that's where the problems start, and the passenger rarely comes off with the best deal. For example status pax with their 'guaranteed' seats if they book within 24 or 72 hours or whatever. Those guaranteed seats have to come at the expense of a confirmed passenger.
 

BAM1748

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If that's what you want, fly Jetblue.

The issue is that the airlines are catering to people who pay a premium for flexibility. QF and VA clearly do a very good job of managing their loads as this is not a common occurrence in Australia like it is in other countries.

I do think that we should have better consumer protection in the form of mandatory compensation like EU261. This leaves the risk on the side of the airline and not the pax
Or a bidding war at the gate when US airlines are trying to offload people. Passengers hanging out for the good deal before it's accepted by someone else.
 

p--and--t

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Yes, but this can work both ways. If you are a passenger who has been affected by a late inbound, let's say due to ATC - so not the fault of the airline. Or maybe because of weather. In the US - using them as an example - gate agents can force an oversell on the flight to get you a boarding pass and through the TSA so you can be at the gate just in case a seat opens up on a later flight. And in the US that can be quite common - the flight they have forced you on to may have spare seats if other passengers are late and miss their connections.

The system isn't as simple as a black and white.

If the issue is within the airline's control - that's where the problems start, and the passenger rarely comes off with the best deal. For example status pax with their 'guaranteed' seats if they book within 24 or 72 hours or whatever. Those guaranteed seats have to come at the expense of a confirmed passenger.

Sorry - blah blah blah all excuses. why can every other service industry on the planet come up with a solution to cope with every situation EXCEPT airlines.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Sorry - blah blah blah all excuses. why can every other service industry on the planet come up with a solution to cope with every situation EXCEPT airlines.
I can't think of another service industry where the same applies?

Theatre and concert performances are a limited event. Public transport... well they sell more tickets there at peak time than they have space available, but then you just wait five minutes for the next flight. I guess supermarkets and the like will let you have a raincheck, in some cases.

There were a couple of airline services where seats were guaranteed - I think the domestic BA shuttle flights and some US flights between washington and New York. They would have a second plane on standby so that everyone who booked was guaranteed to fly.

Those services didn't last for long.
 

JohnK

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Suggest you never fly with a US airline as it's an extremely common practice for US airlines to oversell.

Worth a read:
Yes and many people play the game over there hoping to receive the very generous compensation offered. VA offered nothing other than a later flight to be determined if I agreed to original denied boarding.

And let's not speculate the right terminology here. This was clearly denied boarding even if we hadn't yet checked in. I solved their problem by offering to go to BNE instead. Compensation is mentioned on my e-ticket as pointed out by you earlier. Should I ask for a number or wait for them to offer first?

Denied boarding to a 2 year old is not a very smart move. There should have been red flags everywhere?
 

JohnK

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@JohnK you may have your reasoning for not using OLCI but as soon as you knew there may be issues you should have done so. I am really surprised someone with your experience did not do so.

Simples.

In the end you got a better result anyway.
Once you check-in it's very difficult to uncheck in if needed and it's much easier to check in at the airport. I've been stung a few times needing to make last minute changes before midnight the night before.

Yes I could have used OLCI in the morning but I didn't consider this situation occurring. I'm busy. It was the furthest thing from my mind. And arriving at check in ~65m before departure is not late by any stretch of the imagination. By how many people did they oversell?

Quite a few comments here praising the current system. I don't understand why when the end result is allowing a business to inconvenience people in such a way.

As mentioned by another poster I pay for a seat on a particular flight not the opportunity to participate in a lottery for a seat on that flight. The airline needs to ask for my permission first before denied boarding.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Yes and many people play the game over there hoping to receive the very generous compensation offered. VA offered nothing other than a later flight to be determined if I agreed to original denied boarding.
This is the difference between voluntary and involuntary denied boarding. The former is usually a better deal for passengers.

You can be denied boarding before check-in. You just need to hold a valid ticket and confirmed space.
 

straitman

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Yeah I'm happy to pay $129 knowing I am 100% getting to my destination rather than $109 knowing there's a chance I might be bumped and stranded.
...and that's how it currently works. You can always buy a more expensive ticket type and that becomes your safety net. ie the cheaper the ticket the less flexibility and less value you become. It's something most of us do every ticket we buy.
 
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straitman

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Once you check-in it's very difficult to uncheck in if needed and it's much easier to check in at the airport. I've been stung a few times needing to make last minute changes before midnight the night before.
The option is there. It is a balance between price and convenience and it is the choice of the individual
Yes I could have used OLCI in the morning but I didn't consider this situation occurring. I'm busy. It was the furthest thing from my mind. And arriving at check in ~65m before departure is not late by any stretch of the imagination. By how many people did they oversell?
They may have only oversold one or if there have been cancellations they may not have oversold any. We are all busy but helping yourself significantly lowers your chances of having issues.
Quite a few comments here praising the current system. I don't understand why when the end result is allowing a business to inconvenience people in such a way.
I'm not sure that anyone praised the current system however a few have tried to explain it.
As mentioned by another poster I pay for a seat on a particular flight not the opportunity to participate in a lottery for a seat on that flight. The airline needs to ask for my permission first before denied boarding.
So did the person who was on the cancelled flight. They have rights also.
 

ozfflyer

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most airlines overbook flights based on average no show factors. Bring weather delays into the fold & it sounds like everyone had checked in before you (why didn't you check in online).

You MUST be nice to check in people, otherwise you bags could end up anywhere, or go nowhere.

Your attitude was all wrong.

>>>

"That's not my problem. I have confirmed bookings on this flight"
"You haven't checked in, I can offer you seat on next available flight" Note not next flight but next available flight.
"That's irrelevant. I'm not interested in any other flights. I'm going on this flight. Take someone else off the flight"

>>>

Confrontational rarely works. Sounds like they came close to calling the feds.

Perhaps you should have asked, what's the next available flight ? or told them earlier, you actually wanted to go to Brisvegas.
 

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