BA overbooking incentive policy

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Old Oct 1, 17, 11:47 am
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BA overbooking incentive policy

Hey all,

Currently in Pisa awaiting BA607 to LHR. On check in, we were presented with a piece of paper explaining the flight was overbooked and volunteers are sought to travel from Bologna to LHR on BA451 two days later.

In return, volunteers receive a EUR 250 cash card, transport, meals and accommodation.

There is fine print that states if volunteers can still travel as originally booked, the offer is not applicable. I can see the business logic, but is very cheeky if the volunteer has already started making alternative arrangements.

I personally think the offer is very poor for travel two days later. I'm curious what the BA policy is and whether it's an umbrella policy or has provisions to consider other factors (different airport, length of delay, number of overbooked seats, etc). Can anyone better enlightened share further insight?

On a side note, we arrived at 1745 for our 2115 departure. On approaching the check in desk for our boarding passes (HBO), we were turned away as the flight hadn't opened which is fair enough and expected. We didn't ask to move to the earlier BA2601 to LGW departing at 1910, but if we were offered it, we would've taken it. I would have been impressed with the quick thinking
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Old Oct 1, 17, 11:53 am
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Originally Posted by joequimby View Post
There is fine print that states if volunteers can still travel as originally booked, the offer is not applicable. I can see the business logic, but is very cheeky if the volunteer has already started making alternative arrangements.
That is fairly standard across the airline industry. BA will effectively put people on standby and remove the offer if there are a lot of no shows. There have been quite a few reports of this recently, and from what I can make out it is due to a shortage of aircraft at LHR, which means they are downgauging aircraft from A321 to A320 to A319, which can result in silly numbers oversold. As a result, if you can find out the aircraft type and the number of oversolds they are trying to identify, you can work out what sort of gamble is involved.

Two days seems silly to me though, a day's delay for a student on a 50€ HBO ticket would seem like a bit of a win for all concerned.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 11:59 am
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Overselling is simply fraud by a different name. One day we will look back and wonder at how otherwise intelligent people were conned into thinking this was somehow ok.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:04 pm
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BA's practice is standard worldwide. The flight was overbooked and at risk of oversale. No reason to offload people until it is oversold.

By standard, I mean at the airport. As BA was covering hotels and the like, it is a simple matter of not making other plans which can't be cancelled until after the oversale is confirmed.

As a passenger this is a reverse auction. You are by no means required to accept it and could certainly tell staff that you will only do so if staff will process your rerouting and various other goodies on the spot.

EUR 250 seems low for a 2-day voluntary delay, but there are apparently people who will take the offer. No reason for BA to pay out more when it need not. In addition, if there are no takers and the flight winds up with an oversale, BA will simply deny boarding to someone and that person will be entitled to the EUR 250 and a duty of care until BA can get him home.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:06 pm
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Exactly. BA is just requesting volunteers for standard IDB treatment as mandated by law.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:13 pm
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Lioneye View Post
Overselling is simply fraud by a different name. One day we will look back and wonder at how otherwise intelligent people were conned into thinking this was somehow ok.
That day will only come if people are prepared to stop the relentless downward pressure on fares.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:33 pm
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:35 pm
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If you sold any other product twice and used the excuse that you were just trying to keep the price down you would be locked up.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:48 pm
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This is all covered in the contract to which you agree. Don't like the terms then fly a carrier which does not intentionally overbook.

It is also clearly contemplated by law because EC 261/2004 expressly addresses the concept in the form of IDB compensation.

The difference between IDB and what OP is speaking of is the requirement that the carrier solicit volunteers first. There are many who are quite content and would leap at the chance to spend a few more days with some money in their pocket. There are others who are not.

Not sure what the outrage is about given that this arrangement puts two willing parties together where both get something they value out of it. Perhaps those who want an IDB-proof fare ought to be offered one, priced accordingly.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by joequimby View Post
I personally think the offer is very poor for travel two days later.
BA offers the absolute bare minimum that it would have to pay to someone involuntarily denied boarding and not penny more. Yes, I agree that it is a poor offer.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Not sure what the outrage is about given that this arrangement puts two willing parties together where both get something they value out of it. Perhaps those who want an IDB-proof fare ought to be offered one, priced accordingly.
No outrage. We haven't been IDB and would be surprised if we got picked.

I'm expressing my opinion that EUR 250 is poor for a two day delay. My partner and I value the loss of two working days far greater than EUR 250 each.

I'm also curious what the BA incentive policy is and how it scales up if no volunteer comes forward.

​​​​​​
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Old Oct 1, 17, 12:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Lioneye View Post
Overselling is simply fraud by a different name.
Yes, and my grandmother was the Queen of Sheba and she invented the internet.

Quite why people think that using hyperbole somehow strengthens their argument is beyond me.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by joequimby View Post
No outrage. We haven't been IDB and would be surprised if we got picked.

I'm expressing my opinion that EUR 250 is poor for a two day delay. My partner and I value the loss of two working days far greater than EUR 250 each.

I'm also curious what the BA incentive policy is and how it scales up if no volunteer comes forward.

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But other people may have more flexiblity and the cash PLUS free hotel, meals and transport to and from the airport to be well worth it. And in toto that is a lot more then 250

If no ones comes forward then BA will choose someone to IDB based on their policy / algorithm and they would get exactly the same as the VDB offer - the 250 (due to it being an intra EU flight) and the hotel etc.
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Old Oct 1, 17, 1:18 pm
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Originally Posted by joequimby View Post
I'm also curious what the BA incentive policy is and how it scales up if no volunteer comes forward.
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Well, previously I would have said that EC261 would give you the same outcome if you were forced into leaving 2 days later, BA are offering the same Article 7 compensation to volunteers. However given recent CAA pronouncements it would appear you could insist on going on another airline rather than waiting 2 days. From Pisa the non-stop options are somewhat limited, the alternatives being Alitalia and, um, Ryanair. Which may also explain the shortage of seats....
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