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Overselling Flights - why is it tolerated ?

Overselling Flights - why is it tolerated ?

Old Nov 3, 19, 5:32 pm
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Overselling Flights - why is it tolerated ?

Just dropped the wife off for flight BA294 from ORD to LHR - luckily she was traveling with our kids, I say luckily because the check in agent told us that while we were ok for seats she was expecting a rough ride tonight from some of the other passengers as BA had “heavily” oversold every class of service, even First, and that they had the same experience with yesterday’s flight as well. Something to do with half-term in the UK bumping up demand according to her. Sure enough a guy at the next agent along started raising his voice as we completed check-in when he got the news that he was one of those affected and also found out that there are no more seats on any other flights tonight.

I know this is not just BA, and I know it has gone on for decades now - but how is it ok for the airlines to do this to people just so they can ensure max capacity ?
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Old Nov 3, 19, 5:51 pm
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ITo keep your fare low. If BA didn't overbook the flights and optimizing the sale of seats, you would need to pay a higher fare. Mind you, most often it works out well and no IDB is needed but sometimes the calculations are wrong and more pax turn up for the flight than expected and IDB becomes necessary (after VDB have been tried, which often solves the problem). Those affected pax will be compensated though based on EU Regulation. It is extremely rare that IDB becomes necessary.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 6:07 pm
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Each route is carefully monitored. ORD being somewhat business heavy will experience a a greater degree of passengers changing travel plans at the last minute. Ticket costs will also reflect this. By comparison a leisure heavy route like Mauritius will experience far fewer passengers changing plans who will generally be on cheaper more restricted tickets. Over a period of time, data will be calculated to an algorithm that sets a tolerance to overselling. And airlines are allowed to do this. A route like ORD-LHR will generally experience a higher oversell than a primary leisure route like MRU-LGW, however things such as school holidays can change the dynamic somewhat and there will be times where more passengers turn up than there are seats. I guess on days like this BA are going to also hope that there will be a certain amount of connections from AA that for whatever reason miss the cutoff for check-in and aren't able to fly. I imagine a lot of the passengers affected (such as the guy checking in next to your wife) will be cleared at a later stage once check in has closed.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 10:50 pm
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Equally on the flipside I'm sure many of these situations are solved with volunteers. There are some very lucrative offers available for those with flexible schedules although I've never had any on BA.

Overselling is also the reason we get opups so for both those reasons long may it continue.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 10:51 pm
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I don’t know if it’s different from the US but in the UK the VDB is the same as the EU261 compensation for the length of delay to your journey.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:23 am
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Originally Posted by SK AAR View Post
ITo keep your fare low. If BA didn't overbook the flights and optimizing the sale of seats, you would need to pay a higher fare.
So how do Southwest and Ryanair manage to muddle along without overselling?
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:32 am
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Originally Posted by Dambus View Post
So how do Southwest and Ryanair manage to muddle along without overselling?
Ryanair doesn't seem to offer fully flexible and refundable (even on a no show) fares from what I can see
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:40 am
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I was on an oversold Ryanair flight yesterday.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:42 am
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Originally Posted by Dambus View Post
So how do Southwest and Ryanair manage to muddle along without overselling?
Apple with oranges. One of the reasons why Ryanair don't do overselling is because then they'd need to look after passengers who've been overbooked and that would drive complexity. It's also one of the reasons why they aren't IATA or why they don't do hub and spoke. Additionally, their model is to drive high capacity: if you sell regularly 90-95% of your seats, overbooking becomes a hindrance, not a help.

Ryanair and Southwest, for once, aren't in the business of long-haul. They thrive in the short-haul, they do 25 minute turnround, they have a highly streamlined operation, simplified IT (before they introduced Baggage Reconciliation Systems about 5 years ago - and this I've heard from the folks that introduced their system - LUV didn't even bother checking if they had the right bags on the plane. If they were meant to have 100 bags, and they had 100 or less, all was good. They might have had 90 bags for the plane's destination and 10 for somewhere else, but who cares) and, in the case of Ryanair at least, are very good at squeezing the hell out of every single cost. A number of recent ground handling strikes in Italy are a good indication: since its opening at Malpensa, Ryanair has started to use, as a sub-contractor, a cooperative known as "Alpina", whose prices are unbeatable. They are because of the widespread use of zero-hour contracts, 'Uber-ization' of employees and by offering significantly less (in PPI) than other companie.

Another thing that Ryanair doesn't do is reprotections. A lot (don't know how much, but a lot) of overbookings are due to passengers being moved from a flight to another, often from other airlines. I still fondly remember Air France for turning a half-empty BA 747 from GRU into an oversold one (they were on strike), which then forced yours truly to fly on the jumpseat...
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:43 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
I was on an oversold Ryanair flight yesterday.
to be fair, a https://www.ryanair.com/content/dam/...dfs/eu261-.pdf, It does state "Ryanair, as a policy, does not overbook its flights. " - obviously it doesn't work all the time
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Old Nov 4, 19, 1:00 am
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Originally Posted by SK AAR View Post
ITo keep your fare low.
That may be the marketing line, but it is decidedly not true. It only reduces the cost for BA. But BA charge as much as they can get away with, which is mostly driven by what other airlines charge and how much passengers are willing to pay.

While cost is the long term lower end of the price point, every airline will try to go above that as much as it can.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 2:31 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
I was on an oversold Ryanair flight yesterday.
I tend to take the view that if there in one pax on an FR flight...it is oversold...
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Old Nov 4, 19, 3:14 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
That may be the marketing line, but it is decidedly not true. It only reduces the cost for BA. But BA charge as much as they can get away with, which is mostly driven by what other airlines charge and how much passengers are willing to pay.

While cost is the long term lower end of the price point, every airline will try to go above that as much as it can.
I guess your line of argument is that costs and price points are pretty much unconnected. But look it from the other perspective. Imagine a world where BA would never sell a seat twice, and therefore about a quarter or a third of seats went out empty. I doubt you would be trying to maintain that fares would not rise quite sharply in that scenario? Moreover for the seats typically sold twice over, the first sale covers net margin, your second sale is boosting your gross margin. In other words they sell a percentage of cheap seats knowing some won't make it. For very price sensitive customers this is a real lifeline - so long as they don't change their minds.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 3:43 am
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There are many reasons that a passenger could do a no-show.
Why is passenger no-show tolerated? What do you think?
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Old Nov 4, 19, 3:53 am
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Why is no show tolerated? IANAL but generally you can't compel performance in contract law. Would you arrest someone for missing a flight? Or handcuff someone and carry him/her onto the plane after changing his/her mind and deciding that he/she doesn't want to take the flight?
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