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Memorial Day Weekend: Bumpfest or Chumpfest?

Memorial Day Weekend: Bumpfest or Chumpfest?

 
Old May 22, 07, 4:04 pm
  #1  
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Memorial Day Weekend: Bumpfest or Chumpfest?

I'm doing a last-minute trip to IAD from ANC this week and am scheduled to fly back out of IAD and then onward to DEN and ANC Thursday afternoon. My Thursday flights are completely sold out: UA stopped selling seats on them.

Have FTers found Memorial Day weekends-past to be a VDB goldmine, or merely annoying because of all the infrequent travelers crowding the airport?
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Old May 22, 07, 4:15 pm
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Could be a bit of both. Also flying Thursday LAX to IAD and then back to DEN. Mornings flights out of LAX on Thursday showing a lot of zeros, no upgrade possibilities. Haven't looked at Friday, but it will be an annoying weekend.
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Old May 22, 07, 4:40 pm
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Called UA to see if I could have a friend join me on my IAD-TPA flight this Friday. Was told that the flight was oversold by 22. Sounds like a bumpfest.
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Old May 22, 07, 4:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Nado View Post
the flight was oversold by 22.
Must be the late flight - all other flights that day are wide open, including one showing Y8 B9 (confirmed by seatcounter). I can just see that ninth person - "I wanted a Y fare, but UA would only sell me a B!"
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Old May 22, 07, 5:05 pm
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I may get flamed for this and being a person of loose if any morals am surprised at my reaction to this however, I think it is contemptuous for one to puposely book a ticket on flights hoping to be oversold solely for the VDB
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Old May 22, 07, 5:07 pm
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Originally Posted by zoegksf View Post
I think it is contemptuous for one to puposely book a ticket on flights hoping to be oversold solely for the VDB
As long as the airlines continue to oversell and bump people, there will be people who take advantage of the situation. The ones I don't like (though I wouldn't go as far as calling hem conteptuous) are the people who purchase full fare, and if they don't get a bump, just refund their ticket. At least the OP actually intends to travel.
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Old May 22, 07, 5:47 pm
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Originally Posted by zoegksf View Post
I may get flamed for this and being a person of loose if any morals am surprised at my reaction to this however, I think it is contemptuous for one to puposely book a ticket on flights hoping to be oversold solely for the VDB
Why?

Are the airlines forced to oversell their flights against their wishes?
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Old May 22, 07, 6:59 pm
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This could be fun. I'm on the 9:00 LGA/ORD on Friday morning with nowhere to be but home. Flight is showing only 1 seat in F, everything else zeroed out. And I have nowhere to be on Friday. Let's see how many VDBs I can string together!
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Old May 22, 07, 7:39 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
As long as the airlines continue to oversell and bump people, there will be people who take advantage of the situation. The ones I don't like (though I wouldn't go as far as calling hem conteptuous) are the people who purchase full fare, and if they don't get a bump, just refund their ticket. At least the OP actually intends to travel.
And wasn't there someone on FT thinking of buying a full fare so they could use the IFL and then cancel ticket ? Goodness!
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Old May 22, 07, 8:00 pm
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I got called today from United asking if I wouldn't mind taking a bump for a Thursday flight, to sometime later because they realized they had oversold it ( I can't, so I didn't get into specifics with them [which flight, how oversold it was, etc])... gonna be a fun weekend for flying
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Old May 22, 07, 8:13 pm
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Originally Posted by zoegksf View Post
I may get flamed for this and being a person of loose if any morals am surprised at my reaction to this however, I think it is contemptuous for one to puposely book a ticket on flights hoping to be oversold solely for the VDB
"Contemptuous" is a bit strong, particularly if the OP has to travel before or after that weekend anyway. Being more willing than most to take the benefits of VDBs is not wrong.

Morality has absolutely nothing to do with the number of people who show up for their scheduled flights. United allows overbooking to the point where the revenue from overbooked flights is greater than the cost of VDBs and IDBs. Overbooking allows them to fill their planes more profitably. If they feel that rapacious VDB seekers are taking advantage of this practice, they can adjust number of fares they sell.

If you want to talk about right and wrong, why not discuss those instances when involuntary denied boardings prevent people from getting on the flights they paid for? Is the airline wrong in such cases? Isn't the person who's willing to take a bump saving another passenger a lot of inconvenience? There are a lot more sides to this issue than whether a VDB seeker is "contemptuous" for selecting oversold flights.
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Old May 23, 07, 12:24 pm
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Back in '95, I worked on a project in New Haven - there were a large number of us flying from DC to CT every week.

I was right out of college and had just started flying so I certainly didn't know how to work the system back then.

Each Monday morning there was a 7:40am IAD-HVN flight (J31 - 19 seats!) and a 7:55am flight IAD-BDL. The HVN flight was oversold almost every week, so one of my coworkers made this his routine:

Book the HVN flight, take the VDB, take the BDL flight, and get a ride down to New Haven from Hartford with other coworkers who were already booked on the Hartford flight.

I don't know how many free tickets or vouchers he ended up receiving but I'm sure it was quite a lot. Don't know if this would be allowed today (would you get flagged if you took to many VDB's??), but I guess back then there was no limit...
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Old May 23, 07, 8:56 pm
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I'm flying out iah-den on Friday...was hoping to get a bump...the bucket numbers show full flights...but probably not VDB possibilities I'll still ask though

They announced today 'oversold' iah-den...and I was right there....then 25 minutes later announced 'thanks for volunteering but we won't need you'. So it was chumpfest for me today

Last edited by Renard; May 25, 07 at 11:26 pm
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Old May 23, 07, 9:14 pm
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I am GLAD (I think.. ) that airlines overbook....AND that there are folks ready, willing (and even eager!) to take VDB compensation...

Correct me if I'm wrong.. but doesn't the current practice of overbooking assist in keeping ticket prices down in some small way? (by maximising utilisation/returns?)

That's "benefit #1" for me....

And because my US domestic flying tends to be "tightly scheduled" I am grateful to the folks who will take a "bump"... thus (unintentionally) ensuring I can fly!

benefit #2

Their actual motivation is their business I reckon....
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Old May 23, 07, 9:22 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
As long as the airlines continue to oversell and bump people, there will be people who take advantage of the situation. The ones I don't like (though I wouldn't go as far as calling hem conteptuous) are the people who purchase full fare, and if they don't get a bump, just refund their ticket. At least the OP actually intends to travel.
Well stated.

BTW, there is no arbitrage in booking a flight in hopes of scoring a VDB voucher. The airlines have FAR more information than you do on the probabilities of no shows or full fare bookings, so while you may get lucky on occasion (I remember in early 2003 I scored three bumps in three months - with minimal inconvenience), there's no free lunch.

Also - a bit off topic - but does anyone feel they "grow out" of bumping? I remember years ago I got so excited about getting bumped... OTOH, I'm on a heavily overbooked flight this Friday ORD-SEA and might be able to score a bump and fly a few hours later... but I'm just thinking "I don't want to mess up my dinner plans...so there's no way I'll bump"
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