Does Alaska overbook flights?

Old Apr 10, 17, 6:25 pm
  #1  
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Does Alaska overbook flights?

Include me in the number of people distracted today with the events of UA3411, resulting in the passenger being removed from the flight.

I've done a lot of reading, and understand from many places that this flight wasn't really oversold, but just not enough seats to accommodate 4 crew.

DL and AA seemed to have defended the practice of overbooking. I've encountered only a few situations in flying with AS, but do they regularly engage in this type of behavior to generate revenue?

Does the repositioning of crews take precedence over paying passengers?

Regardless of the answer, I would hope AS is watching the response to UA's behavior, right or wrong.

Would hope our hometown airline would never find itself in this type of situation.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:29 pm
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Every domestic airline except JetBlue oversells, IIRC. AS does it, but is more conservative with it, as best I can tell. Even on this forum you don't see a lot of discussion on VDB vouchers.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:41 pm
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So far this year I've had two AS flights that were oversold, and one flight that was thought to be oversold right up until boarding was completed.

I took a VDB on one of the flights (ANC-SEA). I was given a $400 MyWallet credit voucher and was rebooked on another flight that departed an hour later. It was the easiest $400 that I've ever "earned."

For what it's worth, there were three other passengers who accepted VDB on that same flight - but they had to be accommodated on later flights into Seattle.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:49 pm
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Originally Posted by PWMTrav View Post
Every domestic airline except JetBlue oversells, IIRC. AS does it, but is more conservative with it, as best I can tell. Even on this forum you don't see a lot of discussion on VDB vouchers.
jetblue does oversell too
(typically very minimal, even less than AS, but they've been having equipment problems recently)
http://crankyflier.com/2016/12/26/fo...-of-travelers/

https://www.transportation.gov/airco...nsumer-reports

(Q4 2016 data, page 33 "Oversales")
https://www.transportation.gov/sites...7MarchATCR.pdf

ALASKA AIRLINES
VDB 1,600
IDB 197
Total passengers 5,665,703
Rate 0.35 per 10k
(2016 - 0.40 IDBs per 10k, 2015 - 0.33 IDB per 10k)

JETBLUE AIRWAYS
VDB 439
IDB 1,036
Total passengers 8,719,175
Rate 1.19 per 10k
(2016 - 0.92 IDBs per 10k. B6's rate for 2015 was 0.02 per 10k, Q1 2016 was 0.03)
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:55 pm
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I took a VDB on VX last month. $1,000 and I was very happy to take a later flight. They were rebooking people on UA and AA but (after a few mess ups by the agent rebooking me) I chose to wait for the same flight the next day. They paid for a hotel, booked me into F and gave me another $150 for the trouble. I wish this would happen on all my flights.

In the end though, they gave me my first taste of VX F and now I am hooked. Have another one at the end of April. All part of their cunning plan, I'm sure.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:57 pm
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Originally Posted by PWMTrav View Post
Every domestic airline except JetBlue oversells, IIRC. AS does it, but is more conservative with it, as best I can tell. Even on this forum you don't see a lot of discussion on VDB vouchers.
I don't think B6 oversells, but they have IDB issues due to equipment swaps (A321 --> A320).

DL seems to have the most VDB, but their IDB rate is very low. They do a good job of getting volunteers.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:57 pm
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That's good information paperwastage. Thanks for sharing that.

It seems to me Alaska handles these situations far more proactively, at least in the few instances I've witnessed. And the numbers I've experienced have been small - 1 or 2.

By conservatively, is the implication they don't proactively do this, but rather occasionally find themselves in these situations due to web/computer glitches where inventory hasn't refreshed allowing people to continue booking?
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:05 pm
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Originally Posted by pdxasflyer View Post
Does the repositioning of crews take precedence over paying passengers?
I would say yes. You never know how "badly needed" that crew is, but it could be a situation where crew is sick or injured or an unplanned issue causing them to time out and keeping hundreds of passengers stuck on the ground. One to four people being kicked off for a few extra hours, maybe a day, and given a decent amount of credit toward a later flight vs 100 to 250 people stuck on the ground, ya, I figure they're pulling your card and kicking you off. :P

That being said, unless there is an issue like a wedding or funeral I wouldn't be too upset on being pushed off the flight, especially if it was a return leg. Might be pretty annoyed if it ate up a day of vacation time or something, especially since I book my vacations very tight and will have event tickets either the night of my arrival or be hitting a theme park starting early the next day, but hopefully then travel insurance from a credit card would kick in or I would work with AS etc.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:08 pm
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AS flight overbooked just last week

The first sign of overbooking came at online check in. There was a notice that the flight was overbooked and a request for volunteers. That must not have worked well because another request for volunteers was made just as the plane was starting boarding. My travel companion and I were not in a huge hurry so we volunteered at that point. We arrived at our destination only a few hours later than originally planned and with a $400 travel voucher each.

I think it is the combination of having definite plans or connections and the uncertainty of what connection a person will receive that makes people hesitate to voluntarily bump.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:51 pm
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AS doesn't offer enough.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 8:09 pm
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I was on standby for a flight from SAN-SEA where they thought it was oversold, but a group of people must have missed their connection or something because I got on that flight. There was another time I was waiting for my flight and the gate attendant at the gate next to mine made an announcement requesting for volunteers to be bumped. Those two instances have been the only times I have ever personally witnessed overbooked flights on Alaska, and I fly Alaska a lot.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 8:15 pm
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Originally Posted by CDKing View Post
AS doesn't offer enough.
I agree....100%....that's one of the things I do like about DL....even though I don't fly them a lot, it seems like when I do, they are constantly asking me if I'd volunteer at the airport kiosk...of course my answer is always yes! Last year my entire family got bumped off a DL SEA-SJC flight and earned a total of $1400 in vouchers!

Years ago you could walk past all the QX gates at the C concourse in SEA and see the same message on the gate displays over and over "Are you interested in earning a free ticket today?"....those were the days
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Old Apr 10, 17, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by SJC ORD LDR View Post
I don't think B6 oversells, but they have IDB issues due to equipment swaps (A321 --> A320).

DL seems to have the most VDB, but their IDB rate is very low. They do a good job of getting volunteers.
Because they will offer until people accept. Ends up costing them but they don't get into the IDB.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 1:15 am
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I can't think of the last time I've seen an oversold AS flight. I made $900 from WN last year for a two hour delay (and best of all, I missed 5p traffic in San Jose on a Friday!). In general oversells on AS, WN and even AA are pretty rare on my routes.

Originally Posted by pdxasflyer View Post
Does the repositioning of crews take precedence over paying passengers?
I'm sure there are a lot of scenarios and moving pieces at play, but generally speaking, yes. If they need four seats to move a crew to a downstream station, then that crew is getting on that plane.

I'm not sure what the specific contract language for AS says, but usually deadheading (the people dozing for dollars, not the commuters) crew is guaranteed a seat. Not a jump seat, not the cockpit, but a normal seat.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 1:34 am
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Had an oversell on AS150 last month (spring break) but was heading to HAV so didn't bite.

~posted from AS150
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