Here is one page (from BBC News) about United Airlines. It is really about Air Canada too, so I’ll give a few quotes (emphasis mine) and then some snotty comments.
Dr David Dao has said he will sue United Airlines after he lost two front teeth and his nose was broken when the airline called security officers in to help remove him from the plane. He had refused to leave when the airline asked for volunteers to make way for staff members.
In response to the huge backlash the company faced on social media, United said it would allocate seats for staff at least an hour in advance, in future.
What this means is imho this:
In this alternate universe, David Dao would have found the four United personnel already on the plane. United would have had to ask passengers to give up their seats while still in the lounge. What would they have done, had the requisite four booked passengers not volunteered? How would they have kept David Dao from boarding?
Now for Air Canada.
Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada, has apologised after giving a 10-year-old boy’s seat to someone else.
The family eventually made it to Montreal and caught a connecting flight to Costa Rica for their holiday, but have since complained to Air Canada and received an offer of a C$2,500 (£1,500) voucher, along with an apology.
I have (had actually) compensatory travel miles with WestJet in apology for a mess-up. However those miles cannot be used in WestJet Vacations nor in travel booked via an agent. In short, to me they are useless. And, a voucher is only useful if one decides to trust the offending airline again.
I have had an adjustment from Air Canada Vacations after they cut into my travel bag in Cuba, in the Cayo Coco airport (en route to Cayo Santa Maria.) They said the bag was lost, but I saw it through an opened door. They filled out (reluctantly) a baggage damage form that turned out to be
- a lost baggage form
- a form with no serial number on it.
My travel agent is excellent, and got Air Canada to admit liability and offer to repair the bag. I will never travel Air Canada Vacations again. Simple as that.
WestJet is not so easy to avoid; we’re flying west this summer and my travel agent chose them as the most reasonable and convenient flight.
So, travel experience in Canada is weird, and overbooking is common.
Should we ‘stand united’ against this practise? that’s the dumb question.
Now the just-for-laughs part.
I knew an individual (ET) who travelled for IBM Canada frequently when he was in technical education. He would learn a new technology (computer, operating system, transaction manager, database engine, whatever) and then create a course and be sent across Canada to deliver that course. Typically he’d be in a city for a working week, Monday – Friday, and return.
Certain flights eastward on Friday were frequently overbooked. (This would have been Air Canada at that time, I’m pretty sure.) Passengers would be offered bribes to take the next flight, and be guaranteed to be on it.
ET would, if reasonable, deliberately book one of these overloaded flights. Then he’d play poker with the rest of the passengers, guessing when to drop his bluff of disinterest and take the offer.
He’d only go for cash. In those days, they’d offer this when desperate.
Today, they drag you down the aisle, remove two teeth, and give you a concussion.
That’s the payoff of progress.
Overbooking is imho a profit-maximizing scheme. Bumping paid passengers for crew is, again imho, a profit-maximizing scheme (they need to get crew from A to B for a business reason.)
So, if the Canadian government (an oxymoron, or is it a sarcastic phrase?) wants to stop this, it has to make it more expensive than behaving fairly to paid, booked passengers.
Is this likely? that’s your final dumb question.