Dear Big-Mega-Airline-that-Dare-Not-Be-Named…

I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you so much for overbooking my recent flight by twenty seats. Coming to the airport at the end of a lovely family reunion trip to find out that my family had boarding passes for seats purchased six months ago but did not, actually have any seats on the plane, was the perfect way to wrap up a wonderful vacation.

I apologize if there was a misunderstanding on my part. I was apparently under the mistaken impression that if I paid a lot of money for seats on one of your flights, agreed to the terms and conditions of a non-refundable ticket, checked in 24 hours in advance, and pre-printed my boarding passes, my family would have actual seats to sit in. How silly of me not to realize that it doesn’t work this way.

Of course everyone at the airport was super nice and assured us that this is routine and someone would not show up to claim their seat or someone else would voluntarily give up their seats for us and take a later flight. However since this was the only non-stop flight departing that day AND since it was completely oversold AND since every other connecting flight departing that day was also sold out, you can understand how I might not think this concept would work out in our favor. Still, it was a lovely airport and I appreciated the fact that I could spend all this extra time there waiting to find out if we would get home as planned. I had almost as much fun as I do when my doctor books multiple patients for the same appointment time and I get to wait for two hours longer than I was expecting.

I think it was also a really special time for your airport employees. I could see the joy all around as they scrambled frantically to accommodate the sixteen other people who also had bought tickets but did not get seats. I’m sure they truly appreciate getting to provide quality service for the delightful situation created by this truly customer-friendly policy. Kudos to you for coming up with something that works equally well for both your customers and employees.

Anyway, thanks again for the special surprise ending to our vacation that my family will remember so fondly. I look forward to my next flight away for a vacation when I will probably be buying a ticket on another airline which SHALL be named (JetBlue) who makes it a policy not to overbook its flights.

Best regards!
Tracy Beckerman

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Dear Big-Mega-Airline-that-Dare-Not-Be-Named…

  1. I sympathasize! Some airlines are making the “drive versus fly” argument more valid even on cross-country trips! Welcome home, anyway 🙂

    • Every time we fly there is something. Charging us extra for baggage, losing our luggage, refusing to let me bring my carry-on onto the plane even though it is the right size because they are out of room because everyone wants to bring a carry-on so they don’t have to pay to check bags… it’s ridiculous.
      Let me know when you want to road trip – I’ll drive with you!

  2. Dude. Which airline? Because that is my ultimate fear…

  3. I smell US Airways. But that’s just a guess.

    Here is a little tidbit… NEVER get on a plane without your ticket being connected to a frequent flyer number. Even if you get nothing out of it, this just might discourage some gate agent from bumping you because they see you’re a frequent flyer. Besides, you can always cash in those miles for magazines later.

    Federal regulations entitle you to some compensation from the airline for being involuntarily denied boarding. But what I find odd is that they didn’t ask for volunteers before bumping you off the flight. Usually, someone will be happy to take $400, a hotel voucher, a meal voucher, and a flight the next day.

    Start complaining. Loudly. To the airline. To the BBB. To the FAA. And to your credit card company.

  4. Andi

    I’ve been involved in a denied boarding suit for over three years in federal court and now state court all the same case…airlines will violate contracts/regulations then fight a losing battle using high priced lawyers to try to frivolously dismiss your case….Delta/Northwest airlines

  5. doubleu

    Sounds like the airline had to switch planes (to a smaller version, like an A321 to an A320, or an A320 to an A319, or something similar) because one was out-of-service with unexpected maintenance. Airlines don’t leave “extra” $100 Million planes sitting around — so when something happens, they have to cancel or switch to what is available.

    They could have cancelled the flight and screwed 100% of the passengers. They likely substituted the smaller plane and tried to do they best they could for 80-90% of the booked customers. (Certainly not fun for you.) Were you the last to check-in? That’s my guess from 20 years overseeing airline operations.

    You should not reserve seats in the last 4-5 rows on any of your flights. (Those rows won’t exist on the smaller planes.) That will prevent this from happening in the future. jetBlue is a great airline; but I can name over 900 cities around the world they don’t fly to — which means they’re not perfect for everyone.