Easyjet reveals which passengers are least likely to be bumped from an overbooked flight


Every year tens of thousands of people with valid plane tickets are bumped off flights because they’ve been overbooked.

Overbooking is not illegal and every airline does it to maximise its revenue – because there is almost a zero per cent chance that every passenger will show up for their flight.

In the event that every single ticket holder does turn up for an overbooked flight, the airline will ask for volunteers to be re-routed. If there are no volunteers, the airline will pick passengers to be denied boarding – or deplaned.

Easyjet has revealed that those who’ve booked a package trip with easyJet Holidays are less likely to be ‘bumped‘.

The company said in a statement: ‘Our ground staff are given guidance on which groups of customers to try and avoid selecting not to travel in the event where not enough volunteers come forward when an aircraft is downgraded, which includes a number of groups like those requiring special assistance and, where possible, easyJet Holidays customers.’

Easyjet has revealed that those who've booked a package trip with easyJet Holidays are less likely to be 'bumped'

Easyjet has revealed that those who’ve booked a package trip with easyJet Holidays are less likely to be ‘bumped’

United goes into even greater detail regarding which passengers it prioritises.

Its website says: ‘Passengers who are “Qualified Individuals with Disabilities” and their “Service Animal” or travel assistant, unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 years, or minors between the ages of five to 14 years who use the unaccompanied minor service, and for Canada departures only, families traveling together, will be the last to be involuntarily denied boarding if it is determined by UA that such denial would constitute a hardship.

‘The priority of all other confirmed passengers may be determined based on a passenger’s fare class, itinerary, status of frequent flyer program membership, whether the passenger purchased the ticket under select UA corporate travel agreements, and the time in which the passenger presents him/herself for check-in without advanced seat assignment.’

Overbooking is not illegal and every airline does it to maximise their revenue – because there is almost a zero per cent chance that every passenger will show up for their flight

Aviation expert Alex Macheras told MailOnline Travel that, as a general rule, families will normally be prioritised.

He said: ‘Airline overbooking is necessary as airlines need to ensure that they are not flying with empty seats.

‘However, there are procedures in place that are implemented industry-wide, which guide both airport staff and passengers as to how an overbooking scenario should take place. In normal circumstances, if the flight was overbooked by “two seats”, then the last two passengers to check in/or reach the gate, will be denied boarding.

‘These passengers would more often than not be a little more understanding as they turned up late, meaning they could have risked missing the flight anyway.

‘On the whole, passengers who are travelling as a family, or with children, would not normally be chosen for “denied boarding” on an overbooked flight.

‘It tends to be solo passengers, especially those travelling with hand luggage only – and with a high sequence number [people who check in last].’

What are your rights if you are deplaned or volunteer to switch flights?

Which? said: ‘Those that agree are entitled to a refund or re-route as well as “benefits”, though there are no set rules on what those benefits are.

‘If there aren’t enough volunteers the airline can free up seats by denying you the right to board. If this happens, you have the same entitlement to assistance and compensation as you’d have if your flight was cancelled, the only difference being that you’re also able to claim compensation straight away.’

In Europe, under the Denied Boarding Regulation (Regulation 261/2004 EC), passengers who are bumped under this regulation are entitled to €250 for short-haul flights (1,500km/932 miles or less), 400 euros for medium-haul flights (between 1,500km and 3,500km/932 miles and 2,175 miles) and up to €600 for long-haul flights (more than 3,500km).

Compensation is reduced if the airline gives you the option of re-routing your flights and arriving within two hours of your original scheduled arrival time, for short haul, three hours for medium haul and within four hours for long haul.

The U.S Department of Transportation states: ‘Travellers who don’t get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay.’

Gilbert Ott, founder of the air travel website godsavethepoints.com, added that bumping can be extremely lucrative for passengers.

He said: ‘Airlines run like hedge funds and are so analytical these days that they rarely fly with empty seats and oversell betting that at least a few will no show. Bumps can be a very lucrative “gaming” of the system for passengers, as evidenced by someone who once made $10,000 dollars in Delta vouchers after getting bumped off multiple consecutive flights. If passengers have flexibility, these bumps are a great way to secure credit towards future (free) travel.

‘On the other hand, if they’re not flexible, bumps are a disaster.’

WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS IF A FLIGHT IS OVERBOOKED?

Overbooking is not illegal and every airline does it to maximise their revenue. 

According to the the Department of Transportation: ‘DOT rules require airlines to seek out people who are willing to give up their seats for compensation before bumping anyone involuntarily.

‘Airlines set their own “boarding priorities” – the order in which they will bump different categories of passengers in an oversale situation. 

‘When a flight is oversold and there are not enough volunteers, some airlines bump passengers with the lowest fares first. 

‘Others bump the last passengers to check in. Once you have purchased your ticket, the most effective way to reduce the risk of being bumped is to get to the airport early. 

‘For passengers in the same fare class the last passengers to check in are usually the first to be bumped, even if they have met the check-in deadline. ‘

Any passengers who is forced to get another flight is entitled to compensation. 

The DOT states: ‘Travellers who don’t get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay.’

In Europe, the Denied Boarding Regulation (Regulation 261/2004 EC) applies to passengers departing from an airport within the EU, whatever the airline is and for any aircraft heading to an airport within the EU, and if the airline is based in Europe. 

Passengers who are bumped under this regulation are entitled to €250 for short haul flights and up to €600 for long haul flights. 

Compensation is reduced by 50 per cent if the airline gives you the option of re-routing your flights and arriving within two hours of your original scheduled arrival time, for short haul, three hours for medium haul and within four hours for long haul. 

Andrew Shelton, Managing Director of global flight search and travel deals website Cheapflights, said: ‘For UK travellers, the advice remains that they should check in for their flight online in advance or in plenty of time at the airport and if you’re concerned about overbooking, mention to the check in staff why you need to fly and want to sit tight.’ 





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