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[personal profile] walkitout
Here is the Globe coverage of the United report.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/04/27/united-report-dragged-passenger-many-things-went-wrong-that-day/fekKGAwW34fv8lrJEE9qNI/story.html

It's an interesting article. A couple of things stood out.

First, the flight WAS overbooked by one seat and that person was handled before boarding.

Second, the repositioning need occurred because of an earlier delayed flight to Louisville; this is definitely a cascade situation.

Third, the increased compensation for voluntarily giving up a seat is STILL in the form of "Free" travel. And that is a real problem. (This isn't just for United -- Delta's increased compensation is still in funny money.)

All "free" travel is handled in airline accounting as a debit against revenue _when that travel finally occurs_. As every (former) frequent flyer fan (that would not be me -- I've always treated them as fraud and a form of behavior distorting incentive, which is to say, don't do it) knows, points decrease in value over time as people figure out the current system and airlines modify it to reduce redemption of awards. But the current strategy of running all flights full all the time fundamentally makes all "free" travel increasingly impossible. Airlines are promising employees, in the form of passes as part of their compensation, and customers, in the form of compensation for denied boarding and so forth, future travel that they intend to do everything in their considerable power to NOT provide.

This is Bad Faith. This is an entire industry engaging in fraud. And people have mostly figured it out -- that's why so few people on that flight were willing to get out of their seats. That's why so many armchair commentators who thought someone should have given up their seat and uber'd down to Louisville (or rental car or whatever) have missed the point. Once you give up your seat on a plane, the compensation you are given for getting out of your seat, and the re-accommodation to another flight are basically fictional. You _might_ do okay. Some people do. But you probably won't. You will probably wind up flushing the cost of the ticket, abandoning the "compensation" and renting a car to get to your destination. Or buying a bus ticket. Or just not going.

The statutory mandate of $1350 is cash, not certificate travel. And you can still try to negotiate with the airline to get actual cash and in some situations you might even get it. But they really don't want to give you cash, and this isn't exactly a situation where you can get it in writing while sitting in your seat on the plane.

Finally, there is this:

"Chicago Department of Aviation officers, who the report noted, ‘‘historically [have] been effective in getting customers to voluntarily comply’’ then arrived on the scene."

If you are removing a reserved, confirmed passenger from a seat they are sitting in in order to put someone in that seat who isn't a reserved, confirmed passenger, I really believe you are already violating FAA regs. And this is as much as admitting they've deployed police officers to accomplish this goal successfully before this incident.

Deplorable.

And as long as "free" travel accounting collides with 100% paid for seats, this scandal -- this _particular_ scandal, is going to keep getting mentioned in the timeline/summary at the end of future articles on future scandals, as an example of everything that is wrong with travel today.

ETA:

The article is actually sort of horrifying:

"United employees will be given new authority to find creative solutions to get bumped passengers to their final destinations -- even if it means booking them on another airline or sending them to another airport."

"Even if"? I thought this was what legacy airlines _had_ to do -- they used to, 20-25 years ago. That was part of the argument for flying legacy vs. the then new discounters. The discounters didn't have the agreements in place to swap customers in the event of problems, so if something happened, you were stuck. But if you were on one of the majors, they'd put you on a competitors place leaving in the next hour, more often than not.

The legacies have fallen further than I thought.

ETAYA:

OMG Summary said they were going to reduce overbooking. I thought, well, it's a start. Nope, not really!

"Even though United officials say only a small percentage of passengers are involuntarily bumped from the airline’s flights, they said they will reduce overbooking on those flights where volunteers are less likely to come forward."

They are going to reduce overbooking on flights like this one, where they can't get volunteers.

Words fail. If you know you have flights where it is hard to impossible to get volunteers, you _have_ to not overbook. That's just insanity.

Date: 2017-04-28 01:28 pm (UTC)
nodrog: Robot B-9 from LoS (Danger)
From: [personal profile] nodrog

Is it possible that their Master Game Plan is to simply wait for short attention spans to expire?

“We appreciate your concern, and let us assure you that we are doing everything possible to address this situation…”

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