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Southwest will end practice of overbooking, CEO says

Southwest Airlines will end its practice of overbooking, the carrier's CEO said Thursday morning. ( More...

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Being bumped from an overbooked flight can be lucrative...if you know the rules. When you are "that guy" who doesn't get a seat, DO NOT accept anything the airline offers. To do so makes you a volunteer. Instead tell the gate agent you want your DBC...denied boarding compensation. DBC is regulated by the DOT and gives the airline zero wiggle room. To start off, the airline must immediately write you a check then and there. To make it work, you have to know the rules. Research DBC.
I am a casual user of airlines, so when I book a flight, I want to get there as advertised, not sit in some airport for 12 hours for the next flight, or sit in some hotel room til the next day. Yes, I want, what I want, when I want it.
ken young 2
There is a solution to this. Get to the airport and check in ON TIME....Check in at the gate at least one hour before departure.
Most of those bumped are late arrivals.
Traffic, flat tires, the kid's baseball game, mother called at the last minute....All these are the passenger's problem. Not the problem of the airline or the 150 other people on board who decided to get to the airport on time.
I am so sick and tired of 'me me me' and the kowtowing to the lowest common denominator.
Maybe have a chart of the "bottom 5" who would be "re-accommodated" if need be. That way you can see where you are.
Edward Miller -1
Buy a first class ticket.
AWAAlum 2
Does SWA have a first class?
Ruger9X19 1
No first class, but they do have Business Select that will get you priority boarding. Should prevent denied boarding in a similar situation.
BlakeMN 6
Dang, Southwest always overbooked a proper way (taking volunteers BEFORE boarding) that tended to work in my favor. Oh well.
monalisa75 1 too. i usually volunteer to be bumped, in exchange with some compensation.
CFR 250 needs some amendments with "teeth" to prevent airlines from bumping fare-paying passengers who abide by the rules (e.g., arrive ahead of time and check in) in order to accommodate their employees. UAL violated CFR 252 "Denial of Transport" and their own Contract of Carriage.
Ruger9X19 1
What part of 250.2 did they violate?
250.2a says the smallest number of passengers possible should be removed.

and 250.2b Says "In the event of an oversold flight, every carrier shall request volunteers for denied boarding before using any other boarding priority."
maybe the definition of "oversold" from what i've read/seen the flight wasn't "oversold" it was full, and 4 crew came at the last minute.

but i guess UA issued the 4 crew tickets, thus "overbooking" the flight, at the last minute?
Edward Miller -4
Actually, by federal law they were required to bump passengers because they are required by law to minimize the cancellations and delays. These four employees were "must fly" to meet this requirement.
Eric Schmaltz 2
I received a hotel for the night (we were exhausted and traveling with small children ) and 4 round trip tickets on Delta. You can bump me anytime!
Robert Black 2
The airlines always claim they need to overbook, but the airline I use most frequently (AA) when I have been traveling always asked for the volunteers BEFORE boarding the plane. This avoids most of the problems.
MOST, re. UA incident.

only problem with asking is sometimes what airline wants to give isn't equal to what volunteers want. i traveled for about 3 years, and only a handful of times voulnteers were asked for. they always got them. personally $400 for future flight wasn't worth it compared to getting home to see my family. but i think the most i heard was $600. and someone always took it.
Edward Miller 0
United does that too. The problem this time was these "must fly" employees were late arrivers because of some other problems. United only bumps 9 out of every 10,000 passengers. This is a lot of effort to solve a problem that doesn't really exist. If we get a bunch of government regulations as a result, the already bad flying experiencing is just going to get worse. Be careful what you wish for.
AWAAlum 2
Man oh man, I love SWA.
Amazing that 1 person can change the whole industry, This will only raise rates for everyone . There are some travelers including myself that are more then willing to get bumped, now there's no way
And others aren't willing to be bumped. it happens, but I stand by that it wasn't that the guy got bumped, it's the WAY he got bumped is what caused the fuss. I'm sure if the guy wasn't allowed to board, it'd be different compared to him being buckled into his seat.
Taylor Jones -1
I'm surprised you're getting downvoted. Overbooking is a common practice and has been for years. Ignoring the issue that this whole fiasco was due to the force used by the police, not UA, overbooking generally doesn't affect paying passengers. For some, they can take the compensation to get bumped, but the practice of overbooking certainly is one of the (many many) factors that play into air fare. I'm not expecting a huge spike in airfare, but it definitely will have some impact.
bentwing60 2
The first amendment, intellect, tolerance and overbooking may now be quite passé. Another reason to drive. Berkeley anyone.
william baker -3
Really bent wings. I'll take you up on your BERKELEY trip. Let's do as sheriff Beauford d justice does and steal a greyhound bus and chase you in high pursuit to the ends of the earth. LMFAO
william baker -1
That may be hot pursuit.
ken young -5
Oh any sane person knows that idiot was acting like a child and HE initiated the confrontation. Yet the cell phone wielding social justice warriors turned this into "evil company vs poor little man who is a member of a protected class being picked on....If I ran UA, i would have stuck to my guns and waited for the dust to settle, paid off this a-hole and been done with it.
I hate the way UA caved on this.
What this says to me is one person may now screw with all of the other passengers and crew and everyone has to just sit there and take it.
bwkeagy 2
How about a more transparent approach? When tickets are sold beyond the capacity of the aircraft, inform the traveler that they are buying an "overbooked" seat. I'm sure the airline can provide all sorts of statistics to indicate their actual odds of getting on the aircraft to encouraging the customer to buy the ticket, since this is how they currently determine how many overbooked seats to sell in the first place. The customer is then free to choose to continue with the purchase, or try to find a seat on another flight. If indeed the flight is overbooked, those who are bumped are those who checked in late and those who bought overbooked seats, in that order. Seems a more equitable way to handle overbookings while still maximizing the use of available seats, thereby keeping fares lower.
the only issue i can see is that not all tickets are 'equal' in the eyes of the airline. say a plane has 100 economy seats ant 10 first class seats. if they sell 110 economy seats, but only 1 first class seat, and the FC was the last ticket, i doubt they'd really kick him off, esp if his ticket was $2,000 and the first economy ticket sold was onlyl $100 (and the cheapest)
klimchuk 2
Don't forget about passengers who don't buy tickets i.e. non revenue pax: air marshals, dead heads and such. They appear and disappear randomly and there is good day when aircraft flying with empty seats and bad day when volunteers are necessary when technically there is no overbooking.
bwkeagy 2
I would suggest that the first class passenger didn't buy an "overbooked" seat. The last ten coach passengers did. If everyone shows up for the flight, 9 of the ten coach passengers (whoever they are, maybe based on seat class/price paid/frequent flyer status/etc.) can be bumped to first, and one will not get a seat.
alfsoto 2
way to go Southwest...
Ben Bosley 2
Overbooking keeps airfare's down. Now expect them to go up.
Bob Horgan 2
The United Airlines incident has set a precedent that Southwest has followed d with more to come. Some of the f these major carriers are a law unto themselves. It's about time that some of them are pulled a not line.
ken young 0
This will have unintended consequences. As people with ideas will attempt to take advantage of these policy changes. flights will be disrupted and yes carriers will send the costs of these changes along to the consumer.
I was wrong ...
william baker 0
That will teach you to speak to soon. IM JOKING HAHA.
joel wiley 0
That, in itself, is newsworthy. It least is wasn't about the wheels being down on landing. ;-)
I know policies and procedures have and are changing, but when I was working gates,before we even began boarding the flight,we would check the seating chart,number of people with boarding passes,number of passengers on the oversale list not yet accommodated, and then we would start making the dreaded "flight is oversold, would you like to volunteer for whatever amount", announcement..we would "up" the amount offered if need be and if it were a family for example to get more seats,give better seats on another flight and meal vouchers at the airport..overnight accommodations were not offered unless the volunteer was unable to be booked on another flight within a few hours...going on board to solicit volunteers is the last resort and not a fun thing to do..(although i will say if you used a sense of humor often more people would volunteer who did not initially want to give up a seat)..I will be curious to see how overbooking can and will be avoided,when it is done to account for "no shows" with reservations...
Phil Howry 1
Commerical airline travel is not the only mode of transportation. If a traveler(s) must be somewhere in the continental US, or the world, and absolutely must not be inconvenienced in any way, they should buy their own airplane/pilot, charter an airplane, become a U.S. Congressman/Senator, drive a car, take a cruise ship, ride the train or buy a ticket on a "Silver Dog" (i.e., Greyhound Bus).

At least the UAL passengers weren't robbed like the Bay Area Rapid Transit ("BART") passengers were at a station in Oakland, CA. Did the media flood the airways with this coveage, did ("BART") refund the passengers money and then fall all over themselves aplogizing? Are inconvenienced (robbed) rapid transit passengers not worthy of media coverage?
Ken Dillman 1
How about making airline tickets like every other travel ticket you buy? No show;no refund! Buy trip insurance if you can't afford the risk. That should lower ticket prices for everyone and make travel slightly less of a comedy show.
ken young -2
Overbooking of flights is a necessary evil in the business. Companies may claim they are no longer going to overbook, but they will.
Also, this idea that an unruly or disruptive passenger will never be removed from an aircraft would create absolute chaos. I can imagine it now. Some schmuck just BEGGING to get into a confrontation with carrier personnel so they can set up a lawsuit. Or the unruly person who starts screeching about "their rights"....Fine. What about the rights of the other 150 PAX? What? They don't count?
This PC bullcrap of treating people whop act like complete butt holes with kid gloves while everyone else has to obey the rules and suffer for it is absurd.
If I am operating an airline, my first order of business is to set up a "palm grease fund" for jegoffs who disrupt my airline
"Here" m take this money. Strings attached. You are hereby banned for life."


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