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How do travel agents book unavailable flights?

How do travel agents book unavailable flights?

Old Feb 14, 20, 4:11 am
  #1  
ur0
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How do travel agents book unavailable flights?

Hey everyone.

I have to travel for work, and saw that the flight I requested was sold out in economy, both on the airline’s website and expertflyer.

Thinking that I had scored a business class ticket, I approached my corporate travel agent who somehow managed to book an economy ticket on the same flight without any availability.

This is probably a stupid question, but I believed that airlines only mark a flight sold out after they’ve exceeded the overbooking threshold — how did my agent book it regardless?
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Old Feb 14, 20, 5:09 am
  #2  
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Perhaps your corporate travel agent had allocated inventory. Or the airline oversold to them expecting a number of no-shows.
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Old Feb 14, 20, 8:53 am
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I recall some airlines offer last seat availability through their corporate programs too (AAirpass as an example) and award programs (UA used to offer last seat award availability to elites and CC holders, not sure if they still do). There may be some algorithm that zeroes out the GDS (EF) and the website but still allows corporate TAs (or those with things like AAirpass) to have last seat availability and then they either bump someone or have no-shows as LondonElite mentioned.

That is a bummer in this case since it cost your a J ticket!
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Old Feb 14, 20, 9:36 am
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American Airlines guarantees its top-level elites (Executive Platinum) a full-fare main cabin seat on any flight if they book at least 24 hours in advance, even it has reached (or passed) its overbooking threshold. Overbooking is a statistical game, after all. Booking one more person just increases the odds that they'll have to VDB someone by a small amount. (If a plane holds 250 people and they sell 260 tickets, the chances of 251+ passengers showing up and wanting to fly don't increase much if they sell 261.) AA may not be the only airline to do this, officially or as an unpublished benefit of top-tier status.

You didn't say what airline this happened on, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that any airline's best corporate customers get similar consideration.
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Old Feb 15, 20, 12:17 am
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I’m not sure that is it. My TA (a small independent) has been able to do it on more than one occasion.

On one day of major IRROPS when I was auto rebooked to a flight two days later, I said to them “please get me home today by any route by any means necessary” they got me a ticket in the next available direct flight.

When I asked how, they said they would prefer not to tell me.
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Old Feb 15, 20, 9:07 am
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Originally Posted by Ryanardo_daVinci View Post
I’m not sure that is it. My TA (a small independent) has been able to do it on more than one occasion...
The original question involved a corporate TA, whom I assumed was acting in the corporate name. Independent travel agents have their own sales reps or sales desk at all the airlines. The people there can push buttons and pull strings that most of us have never heard of, let alone thought of pushing or pulling. (Mine did this for me a couple of years ago to get me out of LAX and home to BOS during Delta's computer melt-down.) Your TA probably contacted whoever he or she needed to. That's one way they earn their fees.
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