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What's Happening Now

June 17, 2010 7:52 pm

DOT’s objective in setting this rule should be to ELIMINATE all bumping, not merely achieve some (unspecified) reduction. Regardless of how many caveats an airline might state in its contract terms, passengers neither want nor deserve a ticket for an oversold seat. Bumping is a purely economic device that treats passengers as economic units devoid of humanity, like so many other aspects of airline behavior.

From that objective, it follows that there should be NO cap on compensation and that the financial penalty to the airline should be strong enough to prevent bumping, not just keep it at some arbitrarily “acceptable” level. The 100% of the total ticket price for expected arrival within 2 hours later is reasonable. Compensation for a longer delay should be the GREATER of… more »

…200% of the total ticket cost or the passenger’s demonstrable out-of-pocket costs resulting from the delay (a) including any higher priced air ticket from the same or another carrier at the same class, and lodging, meals and incidentals at average prevailing prices in that metro area, and (b) with the obligation on the passenger to minimize those costs by arranging, with good faith help from the airline, an alternate flight or other means to get him or her to the destination as soon as reasonably practical. « less
June 17, 2010 8:07 pm

I strongly support cash compensation for bumping passengers with zero-price tickets, e.g., those from frequent-flier programs. But to assure adequate compensation and prevent airlines gaming such a requirement, compensation should be at the average (cash) ticket price for that service class on that flight. DOT’s proposed rule using the lowest fare ticket would encourage airlines to bump those with zero-price tickets first, since that cost would be lowest. As long as they continue to offer tickets for miles, airlines should not be encouraged to treat passengers using those tickets as second-class when it comes to bumping. The growing scarcity of actual seats for miles — something that cries out for regulatory intervention — is bad enough.

June 18, 2010 1:52 am

These are interesting proposals citizen_s. What does everyone else think? Are there other alternative approaches airlines could take?

June 20, 2010 12:43 pm

I absolutely agree with citizen_s. Just an additional comment, flying either domestic or international has become the most frustrating part of a travel package. It is difficult to feel human on any carrier these days and for the carrier to feel that overbooking is a right in order to protect them from losing money is obscene. Recently, when I checked in for my next day flight, I was alerted that my flight had been overbooked. This was the first time I have ever been pre-notified of actual overbooking even though I am aware it is considered by the carrier as merely conducting “business as usual”. When did it become okay to sell in good faith something you do not have in inventory to sell? Perhaps they can protect any loses by unbundling the amount of oxygen a passenger consumes inflight.

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