Sold out flights

Old Sep 10, 17, 5:20 pm
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Sold out flights

Numpty question. Sorry.

But when a flight is listed as 'sold out' on the BA website. I'm assuming it has actually been oversold and there may be more people turning up at the airport than seats available. How does that work exactly? Does it mean you have to be at the airport fairly early to make sure you'll get on that flight?

My evening flight in two weeks time is sold out in Y but am flying in J where there are still two seats left (for now). I do hope nothing stupid happens as have an appointment at 9am the next day.
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Old Sep 10, 17, 5:31 pm
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Without the flight specifics this can only be a general answer, or a stab at it. If a flight is showing as sold out in WT and just a few seats in CW then yes there is a chance that the aircraft is overbooked, but not necessarily oversold, which is an important distinction. Given you have 2 weeks before departure then a lot can and will happen, people will shift to other flights, change their plans, get ill, miss their connections and what not. It wouldn't be surprising if WT opened up for sale again. But based on what you are saying, the main movement will be from WT rolling to WTP in turn rolling passenger through to CW. Broadly speaking BA is very much aware of how this works, so there may well be 4 or even 10 unsold CW seats, they know some rolling forward is necessary. So CW would be a good place to be, in general terms. And it's easy to exaggerate the risk of being denied boarding, FT doesn't give a good perspective in that respect.

The best advice is get yourself an allocated seat, if you booked early enough, have a confirmed seat, ideally have Gold status, checkin at OLCI as soon as you can, then I doubt you will have an issue. Turning up at the airport is only a factor if you don't have a seat and boarding pass, for whatever reason. If you have an "on carriage" (connecting flight) then you're pretty much safe.
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Old Sep 10, 17, 5:45 pm
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BA's RM/IM software is actually decent at determining whether to overbook and by how much so as to avoid an oversale.

Your fare basis, status, and class of service will have a great deal more to do with whether, in the unlikely event of an oversale and no passenger willing to accept a voluntary rebooking (in return for some consideration), one is denied boarding, than time at the airport.

No idea where you are flying, but with the EU & US economies on screech, there are a lot of full flights these days, so having zero availability is much more common.
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Old Sep 11, 17, 5:22 am
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Got my seat allocated... so hopefully, nothing happens! All the reports of being bumped here on FT is making me a bit paranoid though!!!
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Old Sep 11, 17, 5:31 am
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Interestingly - I have just seen a photo taken by a friend at BLQ airport regarding a BA sold out flight!
The BA541 BLQ>LHR flight today (11th) is currently showing as sold out and BA are offering 250 cash per person if they give up their seats and they will be booked, with a confirmed seat, on the later BA545 back to LHR.

This doesn't impact EC/261 compensation right? If you had the time it could be a very financially rewarding day!

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Old Sep 11, 17, 5:33 am
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I think that would impact compensation as it would be a voluntary bump. So I'd expect the €250 to be all that you get.
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Old Sep 11, 17, 5:34 am
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Is this a 3 or 4 class service.In case of the latter you or some other lucky person will be rolled forward to F before any bumps occur.
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Old Sep 11, 17, 5:42 am
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Originally Posted by Pilot37 View Post
This doesn't impact EC/261 compensation right? If you had the time it could be a very financially rewarding day!
Yes it does. If you volunteer to go on the later flight then you're changing your ticket, therefore no EC261. Basically they are giving the same money but to volunteers, rather than bumping people off by some other method which may cause hardship, and long may that continue. I'd guess that flight was a A320 or A321 and found itself becoming an A319/320. If there are only a few people oversold then they tend not to put signs up but just speak to the first few people checking in. BLQ does a lot of connecting traffic for some reason so they may not have had many takers.
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Old Sep 11, 17, 7:19 am
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Originally Posted by Tinseltown View Post
But when a flight is listed as 'sold out' on the BA website. I'm assuming it has actually been oversold and there may be more people turning up at the airport than seats available.
There's a conceptual difference between a flight being "overbooked" and "oversold", although I'm not sure whether these terms are used by BA in these senses: "overbooked" means that more reservations have been taken for a flight than there are physical seats on the aircraft, and "oversold" means that more people turn up for the flight than there are physical seats.

There are, routinely, very many flights which are overbooked but not oversold, because people cancel their reservations or simply fail to turn up for the flight. Don't underestimate these numbers. Once, I found out that the economy cabin in which I was booked to fly HKG-SYD was (at that time) overbooked by well over 100 people, but on the day the cabin had lots of empty space.

If the BA website says a flight is sold out, all you can really tell from that is that the flight has been overbooked to the overbooking limit. As people cancel their reservations, space may open up again. The expected number of no-shows may occur, so that even if the flight is still overbooked during check-in, the flight never becomes oversold because by the time that check-in closes the number of checked-in passengers doesn't exceed the number of physical seats.

But like all numbers games, sometimes it goes wrong. That's part of life.
Originally Posted by Tinseltown View Post
My evening flight in two weeks time is sold out in Y but am flying in J where there are still two seats left (for now). I do hope nothing stupid happens as have an appointment at 9am the next day.
You're travelling. Expect that things may go wrong, for this reason or another, and have contingency plans in place!
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Old Sep 11, 17, 8:11 am
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How does it work in practice with the reservation assurance benefit for silver and gold members?

Are you still able to book online in full fare economy or does it say Sold Out still?
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Old Sep 11, 17, 8:35 am
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Originally Posted by geordiejetsetter View Post
How does it work in practice with the reservation assurance benefit for silver and gold members?

Are you still able to book online in full fare economy or does it say Sold Out still?
I tried it once and it didn't work, even with HUACA. I was give a few different excuses by a couple of different agents, like "it's only guaranteed if the flight is not sold out" (doesn't make sense at all - what would the point be...?). Reminds of the price promise - sounds great, but it's really hard to make it work in practice.
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