If your flight is overbooked, you are entitled to compensations from the airline as mentioned in the EU flight rules. Overbooking is not similar to flight delay compensation claims, and there are a number of differences that you will have to know about before filing for it. Overbooking of flights is more common than you may think, and not all incidences of overbooking are due to clerical errors.
On average, in the UK alone, close to 150 tickets are being issued for every 100 seats. British Airways, one of the leading airlines in the world admits to overbooking nearly half a million seats a year and as a result, nearly 24,000 passengers are affected by it. The practice, shockingly is not illegal and is done, as claimed by various airlines, to make sure that the seats booked by no-shows and those who miss their flights are being used. The only issue here is that, on most flights there are more people who do show up than those who do not. A good number of those who tend to miss their flights have been found to be the business class travellers, who normally carry flexible tickets. Bumping is a procedure in which passengers with valid, confirmed, and fully paid tickets for asked by the airline to take the next available flight.
EU flight rules on overbooking
As of now there are no regulations that govern an airline’s overbooking policies. As per a recent flight delay news article, every scheduled flight operating carrier is known to overbook. Most of the carriers, however keep their numbers under wraps. Overbooking and bumping does make business sense as no airline would want to run its flights with empty seats, especially when there are people willing to fly. The volume and number of overbooked tickets too depend on total seats available overall. British Airways, for example, as mentioned earlier, uses an overbooking rate of 1 percent, that is one ticket extra for every 100 tickets sold. Smaller airlines like the British Midlands have a smaller percentage where about four or five tickets are overbooked for every 10,000.
Will you get bumped
From missed meetings to hotel bookings, a passenger can encounter a lot of losses, both in terms of time and money. Passengers who are travelling with elderly, sick, or even children will naturally face the brunt of being stranded at an airport.
The procedure as to who gets chosen to fly and who gets bumped is also quite arbitrary. Even if you arrive at the airport much before your flight’s departure time, there is a chance that you may get bumped. Airlines are likely to give preference to passengers who are frequent flyers or those who fly alone. Many passengers who do not want to be involuntarily bumped can opt to get their tickets refunded instead of taking a later flight.