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Handling overbooked flights

Pleb Status

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Firstly, VA should not be 'overselling' any flight.

However, according to post 51 of this thread by JohnK, VA527 on the day in question was cancelled for unknown (but most likely weather related) reasons.

In my opinion, it is likely that at least some of the pax (could be ~130+) from the cancelled VA527 service were displaced onto the later VA535 and VA539 services. Therefore, it is likely that VA539 ended up 'oversold' due to the service recovery of the VA527 pax more than through some nefarious 'overselling' scheme by VA.

There were most likely some 'excitable' pax from the cancelled VA527 service pounding the service/lounge desk demanding to be put on the next flight to OOL (we have all seen it before). To satisfy these demands (and just to get them away from the desk), it would appear that the check in staff took a punt that there would be a few no shows on VA539 and 'made space' accordingly.

It would appear that they got it wrong by one seat (or exactly right if the other SG pax not checked in did not turn up) and a child booked as an adult was not anticipated.
 
Last edited:

suze2000

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I explained why I don't use OLCI and that comes from >11 years experience commuting where I've seen and experienced things most people will not experience in their lifetime.

- Flights are regularly delayed/cancelled and once you've checked in not easy to change
- Seats not guaranteed
- if you change your plans it's not easy to uncheck yourself
1) just go to the lounge, and they will change your flight in a jiffy, if you have status. I've seen my husband do it often enough.
2) surely the best way to guarantee yourself a seat is to check in
3) but hang on, aren't you trying to play the airlines both ways then? You refuse to confirm with them that you are flying, in case you need to change your plans, but if they assume that you aren't flying because you didn't check in, you go ballistic?
 

opusman

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JohnK has always seemed like one of those people who will go out of their way to make things harder for themselves so they can moan about it later (not using OLCI being the case in point) :)

Doesn't excuse VA overbooking though.
 

JohnK

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Will you factor in the fare difference between the OOL flight you bought and the BNE flight you took and reduce your claim accordingly?
I'll let VA work out compensation.

Sorry but VA dropped the ball. Very poor handling of the weather related issues last week especially to/from OOL compared to QF/JQ with similar schedules. And when you overbook/oversell someone could unfairly be inconvenienced. I know we'll never know but BNE may not have been an alternate option and the next available flight could have been the next morning or later.

I love how some continue to blame me. OLCI is not an option. I have cancelled daughter's ticket at 5:00am for a 6:00am flight as we decided last minute she was not going. Another time we also had to spend 2 days in hospital in SYD on her birthday last year with a '24 hour' virus.
 

MarkD

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Va have been pretty bad lately. Four out of four for me in last few weeks. They blame the sydney weather etc but im just wondering if they are cancelling flights to save money. Ie; we have 100 on this flight and 100 available seats on next 2 flights so cancel this one. One particular day sydney ops wee fine and all other carriers ran to time but they cancelled my flight. I also observed that they lacked flexibility in flights, its our way or the highway. When disrupts happen with qf they provide options.
I get that tech issues happen and the weather can cause disrupts but there has been so many i get the feeling its to save money
 

JohnK

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@JohnK - will this episode change your travel patterns with VA at all?
Absolutely.

I need to plan and think smarter even though I'm not planning domestic travel months in advance.

- Reduce evening VA flights as they've proven to me they cannot handle disruptions effectively
- Try avoid evening arrivals into OOL as it's not possible to get to BNE on public transport after 9:00pm

Ideally I'd like to stop flying VA but the reality is that Qantas airfares will continue to rise and I need to find cheaper travel and that is JQ/VA.

And travelling with a now 3 year old, lounge access is preferable as it's easier to supervise my daughter so need to fly enough to earn 400 SCs for VA Gold. I may switch one of the Thailand trips to SQ which in theory should earn 270 SCs and with Coles SCs this means much less VA travel. I have really had enough.
 

clipped_wings

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@JohnK you are probably one of the longest serving members in this forum - and I respect your experience.

If you were a newbie - I'd almost be concerned that you are post loading - just to increase your contributions. But you obviously aren't, so why such a long rant?

If you aren't ready to move on, as I previously suggested - at least get an outcome and post it here. So we can all get some sleep.
 

burmans

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You don't have to be new to be post loading, it's not only newbies who think quantity overrides quality.
 

jb747

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- if you change your plans it's not easy to uncheck yourself
So, you can change your plans, but the airline can’t. Isn’t this the very reason that overbooking occurs (and I recognise that it wasn’t the case here). Some particular flights were quite well known for having a reasonably high percentage of no shows, or very late cancellations. Businessman X wants to fly Sydney - Melbourne on Friday evening, but isn’t sure of the time. So he books a couple of refundable tickets on a couple of airlines, and just cancels the one(s) he doesn’t use. Airline ends up with seats it can’t sell, but he’s right (Jack). I expect there’s a fair percentage of high status frequent flyers here too...
 

MEL_Traveller

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Businessman X wants to fly Sydney - Melbourne on Friday evening, but isn’t sure of the time. So he books a couple of refundable tickets on a couple of airlines, and just cancels the one(s) he doesn’t use. Airline ends up with seats it can’t sell, but he’s right (Jack). I expect there’s a fair percentage of high status frequent flyers here too...
This is the traditional argument that airlines use... and certainly in 'the old days' that might have been the case. Flights might have been once every couple of hours back in the 60s and 70s.

But does it still hold true today? Flights are every 30 minutes in peak times, and multiple or 'impossible' bookings are not permitted under most airlines' terms and conditions. The airline is free to cancel duplicate bookings.

It's possible someone might book on two different airlines, but I don't know how likely that is given many are keen to extract FF benefits so might be tied to the one airline.

Maybe the answer is a 'no show' fee for flexible tickets? Rebooking or cancellation more than one hour prior to departure is free of charge, but if you fail to show you lose your money, or pay a hefty penalty. That might discourage multiple bookings - if they still happen.
 

JohnK

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So, you can change your plans, but the airline can’t. Isn’t this the very reason that overbooking occurs (and I recognise that it wasn't the case here).
If I change plans it still costs me a very hefty change fee. If I check in 24 hours, 48 hours early it's not as easy to change.

But not only does the airline have my money up front they can move me to whatever flight they want, whenever they want without compensation or any repercussions?

Why are airlines such a protected species?
 

MEL_Traveller

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Why are airlines such a protected species?
Because there isn’t a will to change anything in Australia. Europe is a very different story of course.

Why isn’t there a will in Australia? Perhaps because politicians don’t experience any of these issues first hand? Maybe the Chairman’s lounge, or VA equivalent, puts some rose-coloured tint on the issue? Perhaps because the airlines are very good at convincing the government that overbooking really is caused by businessmen booking multiple flights... or that airline operations are inherently risky and uncertain. Perhaps 50 years ago airline ops were risky and uncertain... but these days I suspect the main ‘risk’ is airlines trying to achieve turn-around that are too tight and being unrealistic in stretching their fleet’s capability to the absolute max (so that when something does go wrong it has a major impact).

Sure, weather is uncertain and risky, but that doesn’t account for all the delays and cancellations we have.
 

JohnK

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Sure, weather is uncertain and risky, but that doesn’t account for all the delays and cancellations we have.
This is what I've been saying for a long time and people laught it off as ranting and waffle.

There is something wrong when JQ cancels the 5:00pm flight but slowly the 4:00pm flight creeps out to 5:00pm as they wait the rest on that flight as what they have done is merged flights.

Don't worry though as Qantas and Virgin do the same thing. I've experienced it so often that weather is just a poor excuse.
 

hugo64

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Just a comment on the way Virgin handles problems
Son was due to fly out of Adelaide Wednesday 4th September to LA via Brisbane.
He received a message 8pm the night before that the flight was cancelled due to mechanical issues and he had been rebooked for the following Saturday.
This was a family trip for 5 people.
There were a few FB comments about losing a day but I guess rebooking 5 was more complicated.
He finished up rebooking the next morning with Qantas and is hoping travel insurance may pick up the extra cost.
It was certainly panic stations with everyone packed and ready to leave at 5 the next morning.
Doesn't sound much better than Tiger when things go wrong
 

JohnK

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I received an immediate cut and paste response when I sent feedback last week.

An apology and 10,000 Velocity dong.

I like the tone of the email and even though it's a form response I think the person was concerned the treatment received was not up to standard.

Unfortunately Virgin are a serial offender and struggle to run an airline.

Another issue this week. How does a 7:40pm arrival from DRW form the 8:00pm departure to BNE? It doesn't. Departed 8:55pm, arrived 10:06pm and then bags didn't come out until after 10:26pm Missed last airtrain. Uber to Toombul, train to Central and another train to Toowong.

Virgin cannot be trusted. I need to rethink the necessity to travel domestically.
 

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