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Transferable, saleable, commoditized seats?

Transferable, saleable, commoditized seats?


Old Mar 8, 19, 7:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
UA tried this for a bit during 2018. I am not sure if it is still using it. Basically offered a free change on inflexible tickets for flights that were not merely overbooked but solidly at risk of an oversale. Reportedly not much uptake. Possibly there aren't that many people who have real flexibility any longer and flights are routinely full so the alternative may be a ways off.
I’m sure they’d get more uptake if the change were not just free, but compensated, even to the tune of $50 or so. That said, the high load factor on so many flights may mean that there just aren’t enough low-demand possibilities to switch onto.
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Old Mar 8, 19, 11:08 pm
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commodity is an economic good or service that has full or substantial fungibility: that is, the market treats instances of the good as equivalent or nearly so with no regard to who produced them
Despite what some people seem to believe, a PHL-PHX and a PHL-DFW flight are not equivalent (E.g., "how can PHL-DFW be more expensive than PHL-PHX??? It's longer!!!!"). They are not commodities. You're not buying a ticket to fly 1284 miles. Origin, destination, departure time, aircraft type, etc., etc. all differentiate flights.

In the very few instances where this was the case (East coast shuttle, anyone), these barriers did come down.

Originally Posted by seadog83 View Post
Why shouldn't you be able to do this with airline tickets?
Because those aren't the terms of the item that the airline is selling. It's as simple as that.

If they wanted to make them resellable they could. But they don't. So you can't.

Anyone is free to offer gold for sale with a contract term that you can't sell it to anyone else. They chose not to.

Originally Posted by seadog83 View Post
It seems that really the airline has all the benefits of every side here.
No one is forced to buy from them, so how do they have "all the benefits"? If no one likes what they're selling, no one will buy it. Then they'll change or go out of business. Other market participants can offer competing products and take their customers.

Last edited by CPRich; Mar 8, 19 at 11:16 pm
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Old Mar 9, 19, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
No one is forced to buy from them, so how do they have "all the benefits"?
Being able to resell tickets isn't exactly the hill I'd die on, but in the U.S. the airlines really do hold all the power leaving consumers with very little. That's thanks to decade of cozy politics and America's extreme pro-corporate culture and political system in general. There desperately needs to be a passenger bill of rights to curtail the most egregious airline abuses. This particular issue wouldn't be part of it, but it did originally come about as a result of that stark imbalance of power between individuals and corporations in America.
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