Every airline everywhere oversells seats. It’s a fact and in the fine print on your ticket agreements. Algorithms used to determine how many of those seats are sold, based on the likelihood that someone won’t make that flight, are getting more refined.
The annual number of bumped passengers has dropped from more than 1 million in the late 90s to about 500,000 in recent years. While it is an inconvenience, the vast majority of passengers denied boarding give up their seats voluntarily — with the promise of cash or future travel vouchers.
I’ve done it and have been thrilled with my “free” vacation. United Airlines' mistake was in letting a “forced bumped” passenger ever get onto the plane.
Had they planned ahead, they could have continued to raise the incentives to voluntarily give up a seat and had a satisfied client rather than an injured one.
Debra Ruzbasan, Hammond, regional sales representative, Ed-Ventures Inc.