MANY airlines habitually overbook flights, working on the assumption that a few passengers will always cancel at the last minute. By selling more tickets than seats, they can ensure their flights are full even when there are no-shows.
Sometimes that calculation misfires and airlines have to bump passengers. There is a right and a wrong way to do this. Few will be surprised by the option United Airlines seems to have opted for on April 9th.
According to the Courier-Journal, after passengers had boarded a flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, the airline discovered that it needed to fly some stand-by employees to Louisville for a flight the following day. When no passengers accepted an offer of $400 to be placed on a later flight, it upped the ante to $800 (plus a night in a hotel).
That was enough to tempt two passengers to leave. At that point, rather than raising the price further, the crew randomly selected a pair of unlucky travellers, apparently using a computer. The flyers were told to…Continue reading