Bumped on US Airways

Jul 17th, 2004, 03:28 PM
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Bumped on US Airways

My husband just called from PHL. He is holding an e-ticked for a flight at 2015 to Munich. When he checked in at Norfolk they said he would need to go to the gate in PHL to get his boarding pass. The gate agent in PHL informed him and others that the flight is overbooked. They might be able to get him on a later flight to Paris with a connection to Munich. How can they do that? I am supposed to fly on the same flights this Thursday. Is there anything I can do to avoid this from happening?
RyanNewman is offline  
Jul 17th, 2004, 03:58 PM
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I received another call from my husband. He stood in line and to talk to the gate agent. He explained that he is active military with orders, and that was good enough for them he is on the plane as I write this.Unfortunately there was a man who was having a full blown temper tantrum - to no avail. There has got to be something I can do to avoid this from happening to me this Thurs.
RyanNewman is offline  
Jul 17th, 2004, 04:36 PM
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Have you checked the flight load for your upcoming trip? Research this forum on overbooking. Airlines frequently overbook as not everyone shows up. They always ask for volunteers willing to take another flight first...and compensate them for doing so. If there are no volunteers, then they can bump who they select...once again...the bumped individual will be compensated.
mjz is offline  
Jul 17th, 2004, 05:46 PM
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How much time between flights did he have at PHL? Was his flight in late?

Suggest you call US Air and ask, up front, if your flight is overbooked and if so by how much. At least if they say there are open seats, you'll have less to worry about. One hopes that Thurs. won't be as busy as Sat., but who knows? If it's drastically overbooked, ask if there's any way you can get your boarding pass in Norfolk or else any way to take an earlier flight to make sure you aren't out of luck.

I wouldn't hesitate to tell them your story about your husband's near-miss, classify yourself as military dependent (unless you, too, are military), and throw yourself on their (unreliable) mercy.
soccr is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 04:08 AM
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Getting a boarding pass, wherever, won't help, as they retain the right to take it away when they involuntarily bump you. How would finding out that the flight is overbooked help you? They overbook because their experience is that a certain percentage will not show. If you panic in advance because your flight is overbooked you will probably be considered a no-show, and if you have the common discounted ticket, you will have to pay a penalty to rebook.

Will there be substantial problems if you are a day late arriving at your destination, with some extra money?

When too many people show up for a flight, they begin the overbooked ritual. Initially, they try to get volunteers in what resembles an auction. Many frequent flyers are eager to volunteer to be bumped, but they hold out until the price is right. Typically, if they have to delay you to the next day, a volunteer can get a voucher for a hotel and meals, a substantial (perhaps even $600) voucher for a future flight (often limited to within one year), and a booking on the flight the next day, often in first or business class, if you play your cards right. Most travellers would be happy to get that deal, so there are almost always volunteers.

In the rare event that you are actually involuntarily bumped, I think they offer pretty much the same deal, except they may have to give cash instead of the voucher for future travel.

Stay calm, get organized so you are ready to play the bumping game (odds are very good that there won't be any bumping), and enjoy your trip. When you think how many people fly, it is surprising how rarely people actually get bumped.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 06:20 AM
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This is an inexact science but having a boarding pass with seat assignment puts you marginally ahead of those who check in later -- and at least on some airlines get a boarding pass with "seat requested" but no specific seat. I asked about connection time, too, because showing up early AND getting a boarding pass with a specific seat so that you are documentably ready to take that seat puts you clearly ahead of those who cut it close (for whatever reason) and are left, again, with "seat requested" passes.

Knowing ahead of time that the flight is NOT overbooked (admittedly, a rarity nowadays) would ease some worry, while knowing ahead of time that it IS overbooked substantially allows you to make contingency plans in case of being bumped, including plans for letting OP's husband know what's happening.

Finally, talking directly to the airline both via Customer Service and at all gates can sometimes -- again, unpredictably -- result in help with a particular need or problem. You never know when an airline will come through with special assistance, and OP has at least some grounds for asking for help.

First rule of Troubled Traveling: never take the first answer as the final answer.
soccr is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 06:46 AM
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My husband's flight left ORF for PHL at 1805. Arrived PHL 85 minutes prior to departure to MUN. He was on a USAirways flight to begin with so their computer should have known that he would NOT be a no-show. I took your advice and called the airline. The agent said to check-in online 24 hrs ahead. She said to get to ORF 90 minutes prior. She was surprised that they didn't give a boarding pass for the MUC flight when he checked in in ORF. I'm not going to worry about this, but I will take every precaution so this will not happen to me. I asked about the flight load, and there are still open seats at this time. Thanks for the good information.
RyanNewman is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 06:59 AM
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Bon voyage, thank your husband for his service, and have a good trip. Let us know how things work out.
soccr is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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I just eyeballed the possible flights you would be talking about and I don't think they look overbooked. In addition, involuntary bumps are not all that common. Have a great trip.
Flyboy is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 09:16 AM
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It is not unusual for an airline to tell several passengers that a flight is overbooked (sometimes by phone at 2 AM the night before) and try to get a few passengers to voluntarily take a later flight without compensation.

I encourage you not to take them up on this offer. Only suckers give up their flight that easily. At least insist on completing the check in procedures for your original flight(s) and if you wish, volunteer yourself.

Travel tips:

Also there are a few airlines, American included, where, if you were not fortunate enough to get a seat assignment in advance, you can be bumped ahead of someone who had a seat assignment and checked in later than you did.

ajaynejr is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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Let's get one fact straight.

Involuntary bumps are very rare. First it costs the airlines real money. Second they have to report it to FAA and it's filed as such.

So any airline will do everything and anything possible to avoid this and get volunteers.
It cost the airline a lot less money. A $500 voucher is worth about $100 in real money. If the airline has to give you $300 cash, it's loosing $200. They hate to do this. These are not exact numbers, it's just an example.
Having to file an actual report with FAA where it's filed and open for inspection by the public is not good for PR. Some reporter one day decides to write an article and it doesn't look good when your airline is on top of the charts for involuntary bumps.

So the reality is that the airline, unless forced to do otherwise, will go as high as possible and there are always people willing to take them up on the offer.

In all my years of flying 100s of thousands of miles I have yet to see an involuntary bump. People practicaly jump over each other when bumps are offered. To them the $500 voucher is worth $500 in travel money, but as I said earlier, to the airline it may be the equivalent of maybe $100 in cash.

You do the math.

I never worry about involuntary bump and on some occasions actually volunteered.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 03:13 AM
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Under no circumstances don't throw a tempur tantrum. My experience is that being rude pretty much gets you the exact opposite of what you wanted with the airlines.

So... the person who pitched the fit probably just made sure they weren't going to get on the plane.
CarolA is offline  

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