Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Being Bumped from a Flight - Not such a bad thing

airplane cabin
I spent a fair amount of time at airports this month and constantly heard announcements along the lines of:

"Flight ### to Destination X has been overbooked. We are looking for x number of volunteers willing to catch the next flight at 00:00. Volunteers will receive a voucher worth $xxx towards their next flight."

My roommate works for Continental and can look up flight capacities on-line. When looking at recent Cali flights she showed me how most weekend flights were overbooked by at least ten passengers! I'm not sure what algorithm the company is using to determine the percentage of no-show passengers but its clearly not working.

The New York Times has a story on this overbooking trend: More Flights Are Overbooked, but Payoffs Are Rising

The story has some suggestions on how to make sure you're not bumped (checking in early, etc). Frugal (ok, cheap) girl that I am, I'm wondering how to ensure that you will be bumped. Receiving a $400 voucher after having having paid $400 for the flight is just good math.