Southwest to Stop Overbooking

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Mike Z

Jan 8, 2015
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Sadly, this will only raise ticket prices. There is a reason for overbooked flights and it is because people make changes like they do. As Southwest was giving people full credit for their tickets, or at least they were, now they will either start charging change fees or raise ticket prices to compensate for no shows and cancellations.

Out of the millions upon millions of people who fly with them every year and only 15,000 got bumped tells me their model was working pretty damn good. Now the public outcry is going to cost the average consumer more in the long run, and of course they'll blame it on the "greedy business".
 

kenish

Sep 1, 2015
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KSNA
IMHO, a "no overbooking" policy has more PR and financial value to the airline than actually reducing the number of IDB (involuntary denied boarding, or "invol") passengers. JetBlue does not overbook, but has a pretty high rate of invols caused by adding A321's to their fleet. Among the "big 3", the invol rate caused by overbooking (and not other causes) is surprisingly low. Of course the rate is very high if it happens to you!
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
And to think this whole firestorm could have been avoided if the UA gate agent had been empowered to deal with the situation properly in the first place. I know, I sound like a broken record. The horrific PR that resulted from this awful situation costs far more than a few 'agent errors in judgement' that will happen along the way.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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Southwest is not one of the big three airlines and flies less flights than Delta, AA, and United.

I think that them having the most overbookings is even worse for them in view of the fact they are smaller.
 
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kenish

Sep 1, 2015
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Southwest is not one of the big three airlines and flies less flights than Delta, AA, and United.

I think that them having the most overbookings is even worse for them in view of the fact they are smaller.
Untrue. The largest 4 airlines are AA, DL, UA, and Southwest (WN). Here's WN ranking for 2016:

Passengers carried, #3 (UA is 4th).
Number of aircraft, #3 (UA is 4th)
Domestic passengers carried, #1
Average daily flights, #3

WN isn't exactly chump change, though I realize they are off travel agent's radar since they never pay commissions and don't participate in GDS.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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Untrue. The largest 4 airlines are AA, DL, UA, and Southwest (WN). Here's WN ranking for 2016:

Passengers carried, #3 (UA is 4th).
Number of aircraft, #3 (UA is 4th)
Domestic passengers carried, #1
Average daily flights, #3

WN isn't exactly chump change, though I realize they are off travel agent's radar since they never pay commissions and don't participate in GDS.
No airlines pay travel agent commissions anymore- that has nothing to do with it.
I actually am going by their presence on LI. They aren't much of an option we book much of because their flights don't go anywhere our clientele want to go unless they take connecting flights in most cases. They fly out of a small airport in LI with very few flights and a few out of LGA . We are very spoiled here because clients want direct flights not connections. They are not a big presence in NY
 
Aug 29, 2015
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I believe one reason Southwest has overbooked in the past was the number of last minute cancellations. A customer could cancel up to 10 minutes before door closing and receive a refund or system credit. Not too long ago, you could cancel after takeoff and get that credit.

I imagine they will start quietly backing up the time a cancellation must be made to avoid having empty seats.

I fly a lot of Southwest flights when I fky, because they are most likely to get me there without changing planes. They keep adding flights to the STL airport. STL is under used, ever since TWA went under.
 
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VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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the United States
This article explains some of the details.

https://www.dallasnews.com/business...eo-says-company-will-stop-overbooking-flights

Most telling:

"On a 143-seat airplane, we might overbook by one," he said. "I never get complaints from our customers about overbooking. ... I'm not saying there aren't complaints, don't get me wrong. But it's just not an issue the way the company has been managing (it)."

"The company's chief financial officer, Tammy Romo, said the change would have a minimal impact on the company's finances and is already baked into the revenue guidance the company is providing to investors. She said some of the cost savings — presumably from not having to compensate overbooked passengers — would help balance out any lost revenue."
 
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Barry Graham

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Jan 7, 2015
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I don't think that overbooking is a bad practice. Either the flight is full and someone can't get that flight or it's oversold and there is a slight chance that someone won't get that flight. Surely the chances of getting the flight are better if airlines oversell?
 
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kenish

Sep 1, 2015
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I actually am going by their presence on LI. They aren't much of an option we book much of because their flights don't go anywhere our clientele
Understood, but was putting fact to your assertion that "Southwest is not one of the big three airlines and flies less flights than Delta, AA, and United". My mistake on commissions (I knew that and forgot), but Southwest does create extra work for TA's since they don't participate in GDS.