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Should airlines be allowed to overbook on flights (selling more seats than available to account for the likelihood of no-shows)?

34 Comments
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The very least they could do would be to inform anyone buying tickets beyond the plane's capacity that those tickets are overbooks and run the risk of being denied boarding, even with compensation. Or let ticket buyers opt on to the "might be denied boarding" overbook seats in exchange for a discount. As it is now, you can buy your ticket months in advance, and still be put on the "overbook list" when you get to the gate. Maybe some flyers like this because of the compensation they can get, but others need to fly on the day that they pay to fly on.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

Absolutely not. If you paid for a seat you should get a seat barring some sort of act of god. I do see a no refunds policy being reasonable within two weeks of the flight date, though.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

The solution to this could be assigned seats only. Not sure why anyone thinks a mad scramble for seats is a good idea.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Definitely not. Airlines are not losing money on no-shows. So there is no reason to try to cover the cost at the expense of other passengers.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

no.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If they didn't do this you would ALL be paying more for your tickets.

BTW.... If you read the small print before agreeing to the terms and conditions... Your ticket does not guarantee you a seat on the plane.

-16 ( +4 / -20 )

"If you paid for a seat you should get a seat" and "let ticket buyers opt on to the "might be denied boarding" overbook seats in exchange for a discount"

sounds good to me.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There are so many ticket classes, not just 1st, bus, and econ. The airline knows that on average a certain % of travelers cancel late, another group just don't turn up etc so they can sell more tickets and LOWER the overall price and/or MAXIMIZE profits.

They are usually very good at this, when they screw up they offer cash to those willing to change flights. I once got a flight from Europe to Japan 2hr 40 mins later but arriving in Haneda not the back end of Chiba saving 90 minutes and 600 euros in my pocket. The US maybe not so wonderful.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

when they screw up they offer cash to those willing to change flights. I once got a flight from Europe to Japan 2hr 40 mins later [with] 600 euros in my pocket.

That's not a generous offer, that's exactly the compensary amount mandated by the EU Air Passenger Rights regulation.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Mr Kipling: If you read the small print before agreeing to the terms and conditions... Your ticket does not guarantee you a seat on the plane.

I think you’re mistaken there. Your ticket guarantees you carraige, but does not guarantee you the seat you have selected. As currently no commercial airlines are allowed standing passengers, I think that pretty much guarantees you a seat.

Airlines don’t refund no shows as a general rule. Overbooking in the hope of filling a no show seat is simply a method of generating extra revenue. It’s pretty naive to think a commercial business does this for any other reason than to maximise return on investment.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I once ended up on one of those overbooked flights. The Airline offered me a free upgrade to business class... No complaints from me !

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Okay, the plane is sold out. All the seats have been paid for. The plane takes off. The airline has made a full capacity run.

The plane is sold out. Completely booked. 7 people don't show up. The plane takes off. The airline has as much money as they did when the full plane took off.

Wouldn't it be better, for both the airline and its customers, if the ticket buyer were told that the plane they want is sold out? BUT! the customer could then pay for another flight but wait to see if the plane that was wanted might be able to take them on. If not, the customer takes the flight he paid for. The airline makes the same money and the customer gets to his destination.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Airlines will sell damaged seats, even the most expensive seats.

Greed is everywhere in this industry.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Swiss Toni....

I think you’re mistaken there. Your ticket guarantees you carraige, but does not guarantee you the seat you have selected. As currently no commercial airlines are allowed standing passengers, I think that pretty much guarantees you a seat.

By seat, I am referring to any seat. or as you put it... "carraige".... Thats how they do it...Read the small print.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Most major airlines make tons of money and those that don't can usually get the benefit of government subsidies which come from our taxes. Overbooking is strictly about greed and causes severe inconveniences for passengers. It should be against international law. Once the seats are fully paid for, reservations on that flight should not be taken. If a seat has been paid for, that seat belongs to that person and the airline should honor that, just like at concert halls, ball parks, on bullet trains and on tour buses. A no-show is just that, it's not really an empty seat; the price has been paid. The airlines are just being greedy.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

No way! If they're going to overbook and then have to kick people off but give them big money compensation tickets or what not, they're losing money anyway.

They just shouldn't overbook and save themselves money and save the paying customers the hassle of being bumped around and delayed.

It's a headache for everyone, including the workers who have to announce and deal w/ irate passengers.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It should be ILLEGAL to”Over Sell / Book” a flight, why ISN’T it ?!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The real question is..... who the heck vote "yes" in this questiion.....

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Nothing worse than checking in and finding out that there are no more seats on the plane. Happened to me on Philippine Airlines and we ended up getting two flights later in the day to get us to the destination.

But our connections were all mucked up, so it was a real hassle to sort out.

Another Philippine Airlines story, this time I was checked in and had a boarding pass and seat. When I boarded the plane someone was sitting in my seat. He showed his boarding pass and it had the same seat as mine. When I showed it to the flight attendant, they directed be to the first class area (not business class). It was amazing service in 1st class, so I forgive them for that one.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Yes, but the deal should be that only volunteers are kicked off the plane. Make an offer, increase it until someone says "yes, OK, I'm happy to not board this one". In the 21st century this should be straightforward enough to accomplish prior to boarding.

They should not have the option of just randomly selecting someone regardless of their circumstances.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Only if there is an option to buy guaranteed tickets.

And overbook should only be up to some limit determined by likelihood of no shows

1 ( +2 / -1 )

To eliminate/minimize chances of not being accommodated always checkin online if possible

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mr Kipling

I am referring to any seat. or as you put it... "carraige".... Thats how they do it...Read the small print

I do read the small print, that’s how I felt enabled to pull your leg.

You implied the airline doesn’t guarantee to take you on the flight you’ve booked, this is where you are incorrect. An airline ticket is a contract like any other. So when the airline overbook and a passenger who, having correctly fulfilled the requirements imposed by the airline, has to be bumped, they are breaching the contract. The law compels the airline to find the passenger the earliest possible flight and pay compensation for the delay.

Airline margins are very tight, so when they see a route with a regular percentage of no shows they will take the opportunity to over book knowing that on occasion they will have to placate the odd passenger. On balance the airlines trouser a bit of extra cash even when being generous with the compo. If the ticket didn’t guarantee carraige, you could safely bet airlines wouldn’t be so generous.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Who answered Yes??

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dont understand the question as it is already allowed since decades...

had to face to overbooking and choice was

-hotel and financial compensation

Or

-upgrade from economy class to business class (giant seat, screen, delicious food/drink)

I understand those you said "no" but on my side, its "yes"

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Well, why not? It's their own company and they can make whatever decision on how they run a business in our free part of world. We don't have to like it, but have to accept it as long they also show enough responsibility and pay for damages if caused by this specific business model.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

From what I have seen, many have voted against this. The reason airlines do this is just simply, it's a business, and a business to make money. That being said, they do it because not everyone that has a reservation will not always show up for their scheduled flights because of emergencies, they scheduled themselves for another flight, and other reasons preventing them to get on that flight.

A missing seat means less money for the airlines, so by overbooking, there's the chance to fill that seat. For the passenger's side, there's always rebooking and/or upgrading them due to overbooking and even change in aircraft.

It's happened to me a few times (not always on the same airline). The results have been either rebooking me on another flight, compensation along with a later flight, or upgrading for a later flight. Yes, it's a pain, especially on the busy travel times. So, becuase of this (busy travel time), I just simply don't fly.

I'm not for or against this. I'm just explaining it and that's just part of life. What I do is plan ahead and book early, to prevent this.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I forgot to add that if the airlines didn't overbook, you would be paying more, because the airlines have to compensate for people not showing up for their flights.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Chico3Today 10:35 am JST

Since when did airlines allow you to just not show up and get a refund or to change your flight last minute without any fees?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Only as long as they are also forced to compensate fairly the passengers that are affected by the overbooking and get their flights cancelled for something they had no control of.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mr Kipling is totally correct above

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There is a simple computer fix. When the "Full" number of tickets sold is reached, then the next tickets get a warning, "This flight is fully booked. If you continue with this reservation, you will be on the "Priority" list in the order that the reservation is made." If you don't fly, you get a total electronic refund to your account the next day.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sure no problem as long as the airline has to pay double the cost of the tickets for those that don't get on if the flight is fully booked and they cannot get to fly.

Plus all damages, compensation, penalties that the passengers that don't get to go on the flight may occur.

So if a business person cannot get on and misses an important meeting and loses a $1 million contract, then the airline needs to pay that amount plus damages.

If a vacationer loses a day or two if their vacation, the airline needs to pay the days lost, double airfare all cancelation fees etc... plus hotel and travel if the person cannot leave that day!

This would be fair!

The reality is that the Myth airlines push that they need to overbook because of possible last minute cancellations or they lose money, is just that a myth.

In most cases these days tickets are non refundable non exchangeable unless you are paying for it as an extra add on in which case the airlines are still getting paid.

So when most travelers cancel less than a week and especially within 24 of the flight, the airline have been paid for that ticket and is not giving the money back and now they will put the overbooked person in that seat charging a second fee for that same seat making double the money.

A simple way to see it is.

If a retail store sells a TV to a customer that decides they cannot pick it up on a certain agreed date and time so the store sells that TV to some else but doesn't refund the first customer or provide an equal new TV.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Noriyon73

Mar. 30 01:47 am JST

There is a simple computer fix. When the "Full" number of tickets sold is reached, then the next tickets get a warning, "This flight is fully booked. If you continue with this reservation, you will be on the "Priority" list in the order that the reservation is made." If you don't fly, you get a total electronic refund to your account the next day.

We used to call this "standby tickets" they were cheap and on my youth we all travelled like that.

You paid a low price and only got to fly if space was available.

Advantage was they were cheap tickets! Disadvantage was you could end up waiting a long line before getting on a plane!

I once went to Jamaica this way, got on the flight to Jamaica no problem, but the return I waited 3 days at the airport before getting a flight home (seems people miss their flights more going to their vacation destinations that the flight home.

The problem in the view of the airline was that in order to get people to buy these standby tickets, they had to offer big discounts.

So I don't think very many will be willing to pay full price knowing they don't have a guaranteed seat on the plane!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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