The river of news concerning the awful summer travel season ahead continues to flow with a piece in today’s New York Times. According to the NYT, there’s no backup plan for crowded summer flights…and travelers who find themselves bumped could wait days for another flight.
A look behind the scenes of US Airways at the widespread practice of airline overbooking shows the industry’s struggle to fill every possible seat, including those left empty by the millions of passengers who buy a ticket but then do not show up.
The effort at times pits a group of young math whizzes at the airline against battle-tested gate agents, who are often skeptical of the complex computer models used to predict no-shows and to overbook flights.
Some agents even take matters into their own hands, creating phantom reservations — Mickey Mouse is a favorite passenger name, for example — to keep the math nerds at headquarters from overbooking a flight.
“It’s a little bit of black art,” said Wallace Beall, senior director for revenue analysis who oversees overbooking at US Airways.