Playing safe with overbooked flights

play safe with overbooked flight

Airlines are trying to fill up every available space, booking extra passengers depending on the previous data of ‘No Show’ rates at terminals. With this tendency, overbooking is a common practice. This helps make flights cheaper and guarantees that airplanes are filled to their capacity.

The number of people that are denied boarding is considerably low; in the USA this was only 0.09% in 2015. This, however, is a frustrating experience for those who actually have to face it. Obviously, when the math goes wrong on a travel-friendly day, and more people show up than is expected, airlines need to deny some passengers from boarding.

How can you avoid being denied boarding?

  • Be a frequent flier. Airlines take into account if you fly with them frequently before considering denying boarding.
  • Choose a time when less people are flying. Off-peak flights are very unlikely to be overbooked.
  • Decline volunteering to be rebooked. While purchasing a ticket, do not tick on any option that asks you to volunteer for rebooking.

Even if all the above factors are well considered, chances are that your flight is overbooked and you stand in that dilemmatic situation. Well, you might actually benefit from an overbooked flight if you know the airlines policy.

When a flight is overbooked, passengers are asked to volunteer to be booked for the next flight. For the rescheduling, voluntary agreement could be compensated from somewhere between USD $200 to USD $400 and other perks by the airlines in the USA. An involuntary denial of boarding leaves you entitled with a compensation of up to USD $1,300 and a refund of the confirmed reservation. However, this doesn’t apply in cases when another flight within an hour is scheduled, the aircraft is substituted for a small one or due to safety and check-in problems.

An incident such as one with the United Airlines was the most unpalatable that happened to regular passengers, largely due to the careless treatment from the staff. Boarding denials are normally made prior to passengers getting on the airplane, making them less cumbersome for passengers.