16 Responses

  1. CC
    CC at |

    I don’t know how it is in other countries, but for the US everyone would lose with a policy like that

  2. colpuck
    colpuck at |

    Woah almost had a heart attack there.

  3. HansGolden
    HansGolden at |

    You almost gave me a heart attack with that headline. Rascal. 😛

  4. Noah Kimmel
    Noah Kimmel at |

    It keeps fares low, allows people to get onto planes that would leave with empty seats despite being sold out, and is a win for many travelers who dont mind (or actively seek) being bumped (for the $$/tickets that comes with it). Airlines have no-show rates as high as 5% on some routes–that’s a lot of people and a lot of money!

    The best thing a government can do is make sure customers have good information about what to do–i.e. cash vs. airline credit, defining responsibilities for accommodation costs, etc.

    And for those Americans who truly hate it, fly Jetblue, the only USA airline that does not oversell

  5. applezz13
    applezz13 at |

    Tickets wouldn’t have to go up. Just make them all non refundable, with no airline credit or future flights.

  6. PH
    PH at |

    @applezz13: And that’s consumer friendly?

    In the US we already have a fairly reasonable solution in which the DOT mandates minimum IDB compensation which exceeds the $116 just enacted in the Phillippines, inspiring airlines to make sufficiently sweet VDB offers to get their IDB numbers down. This results in an optimization problem with reasonable dials and buttons to be tweaked.

  7. DaveS
    DaveS at |

    Scared me too. I love to be bumped on certain trips, and there are many others like me. Sure there need to be penalties for INVOLUNTARY bumping, but if airlines couldn’t sell extra tickets based on models of past usage they would have to raise the prices for everyone, and you or I would more often find no seats available on the flights we want. Thank goodness this isn’t happening in the U.S., and I hope it never does.

  8. cook
    cook at |

    Oh, just for fun, let’s change the US rules for overbooking and bumping. It will almost end the practice and, maybe get the load factors down to 96%. Here’s how: Double the current compensation to the bumped pax, make it payable only by cash or check (NO “Credit vouchers allowed.”) and fine he airline $1,000 per bumped seat, payable to some convenient DOT fund, other than TSA. It might also help to lower the abusive cost of some of those last-minute tickets that we often have to buy. It won’t happen and I understand that, but it WOULD solve the problem.

  9. Matthew
    Matthew at |


  10. HansGolden
    HansGolden at |

    @cook: Solve? Problem? US Airlines have very good modeling on load factors. And there’s usually someone to volunteer–in fact, I need to stay sharp to make sure that I beat everyone else to the VDB. (I’ve noticed the new COdbaUA agents care more about you being near the counter and being ready with easy alternative flights than your place on the bump list. They pick and choose people that make their job easiest. Status or time of joining list is irrelevant any more. Just got a $300 bump last Monday.)

  11. Kris Ziel
    Kris Ziel at |

    Even though I read something about this previously, but I nearly had a heart attack reading the headline and first sentence or two.

  12. Jayson
    Jayson at |

    Go ahead and bump me! I’m cool w/ vouchers!

  13. Oliver
    Oliver at |

    So. I am curious: if it’s essential to overbook for airlines to be able to maintain low fares… How does JetBlue compete without overbooking? I believe they aren’t in ch.11 and seem to be doing fine.

  14. DaveS
    DaveS at |

    Oliver, the airlines have models that tell them how many people to expect at the gate based on patterns of ticket sales and historical experience. Just to throw out numbers, let’s suppose there are 200 seats on a flight, and the model says that if they sell 220 tickets on this flight, 200 people will actually show up. So they may sell 220 tickets. Now they are sometimes wrong; suppose 205 show up. They’re overbooked by five. But they were able to sell 20 extra tickets, so compensating five people is hardly a problem in that model. And if only 200 do show up, they’ve made a nice profit on the 20 extra tickets. Those are just numbers I made up; it’s the principle I’m discussing, not actual ratios, which I don’t know. That they would raise prices in general if they weren’t allowed to overbook is simply an assumption based on the need to replace that lost revenue somehow.

  15. Oliver
    Oliver at |

    @DaveS — yes, I know how overbooking works and why airlines do it. And I have volunteered a few times and don’t mind the practice (as long as it’s really unpleasant for the airlines to do IDBs vs VBDs)

    But if the general claim is that without overbooking the fares would be higher, then the logical question for me is: how does JetBlue do it? Are their fares in fact higher than they need to be if they’d only join the rest of the industry and they/their passengers accept that? Or do they have a different mix of customers that doesn’t no-show as frequently as the other carriers? (less business travel, maybe?)