Interesting phone call from Independence Air

Old Feb 16, 05, 7:38 am
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Interesting phone call from Independence Air

I just got off of the phone with an Independence Air representative. We have flight coming up with them on Friday and they called to see if we (my wife and I) would be willing to take an earlier flight as they're in an oversold situation. This is interesting for two reasons. One, maybe it is a sign that their load factors are indeed getting better. Two, I've never had an airline call me ahead of time to alert me to the oversold situation. Now, they were only offering $50 vouchers to change flights, so I doubt they'll get many takers, but it is a different way to handle the situation than the majors go about it.
octopic is offline  
Old Feb 16, 05, 11:31 am
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It's also interesting, since one of their sales pitches has been that they don't overbook flights. Either this was an error somehow or they've changed their policy.
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Old Feb 16, 05, 11:36 am
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Originally Posted by JerryFF
It's also interesting, since one of their sales pitches has been that they don't overbook flights. Either this was an error somehow or they've changed their policy.
Orbitz messed up and did actually oversell a few flights. When they found out they added a few flights to certain markets and are calling asking for volunteers to switch flights. appearently the orbitz software doesn't understand the concept of not overbooking.

They are trying their best to remedy the situation as soon as possible. But the people at orbitz didn't really understand the concept because none of their other customers don't overbook. They had to write some new software to handle us which takes a bit of time.

So I guess it is a good thing, but also somewhat of a bad thing.
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Old Feb 17, 05, 8:36 am
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How is that possible? Orbitz does not manage the seat inventory.
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Old Feb 17, 05, 11:51 am
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Buffers, it's all about buffers.

Originally Posted by JS
How is that possible? Orbitz does not manage the seat inventory.

The easiest explination is that they were probably using a 'buffer' or other setup to keep tabs on inventory but not know the exact count at that particular second.

To explain it: Think of all of the people that are trying to get tickets for various flights throught the world at this very second, that's alot of questions to ask the server, especially when more than one person might be looking to book seats on the exact smae flight on the exact same day.
(cutting to the chase) What orbitz might do is check the inventory for Person A on a flight and find out that there are 4 seats remaining, another person, Person B ask for the smae flight from orbitz a minute later and instead of re-checking the inventory it just says 'hey there are 4 seats' (hoping that there still are 4 seats).
At the same time Person C on Travelocity booked all 4 of the remaining seats and now there are actually none left.
Person A then goes ahead and books the 4 seats (not knowing that they're already gone).
Hopefully Orbitz would be smart enough to tell Person B that the 4 seats that he or she is looking for have been sold if they try to buy them, but maybe not, I don't know.
Now you've sold 8 seats when only 4 were left and you're overbooked.

I don't know for sure that this is how either Orbitz or Travelocity setup their software but I do know that other parts of the travel industry (i.e. hotels) do this all the time because it cuts down the cost of the server that they have to buy.

I hope that this makes sense.
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Old Feb 18, 05, 10:24 am
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Thanks DatabaseDude,

Your post was very insightful. I never thought of the logic that must go into using multiple reservation systems. I heard a rumour a while back that Orbitz has been having a lot of trouble with sale fares. For example, only a certain number of seats are to be sold at a certain price, but Orbitz did not have their software setup correctly and sold all of the seats to certain destinations at the sale price. Too many mistakes like that can sink a company. What are you to do as an airline manager; call everybody and say there was a mistake, or just offer the best flight experience they have ever had and hope they don't shop around next time.

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Old Feb 19, 05, 11:22 am
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Load Factors (Anecdotally) Improving

2/18/05, IAD-ORD, 6:30p: absolutely full. Including a nonrev in the jump seat, I believe. And at least one of those passengers was aboard with highest fare.

OK, we were 60 minutes late. Every other flight has been early, however. That's a DOT score of 80% for me, which is quite respectable.

I'm really liking Independence. It's coach, but they are trying very hard to deliver cheerful service. They also (for some strange reason) have the best flight schedule in one direction for a particular route I fly lots. And I like those electrical outlets at their Dulles gates. (Smart.)

Now if only they had a decent frequent flyer program. (I've said before I didn't even bother to sign up for iClub, and it's still true. The chances of my getting something I'd value -- and being able to redeem it -- are near zero IMHO.) How about a partnership with Virgin Atlantic (like America West), since Virgin has some really interesting reward options?

Also, needs to fix the seat selection not working with Firefox web browser.

Another problem: they're getting popular enough so that they need more/better food service capacity near their gates. Long lines.

Dennis Miller hasn't been funny for 10 years, but he's better than an old 737 PA and the normal "I've done this 1,000,000 times, it's my 14th flight today, and I'm exhausted" FA delivery.

Hot towels. Mints. All snacks with hydrogenated oils. Friendly FAs. Bright, clean planes. Frequent schedules. Elbow room. Faster loading/unloading (no jet bridge).
sipples is offline  

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