Poor Ashley, all she wanted was to fly from Houston to Manchester to visit her friend for the weekend. She planned to leave on Thursday, but Continental apparently overbooked a whole mess of flights and could only get her to Detroit the next day. From there Continental planned to send her onto Manchester with Delta, but that didn’t work out either. After spending a night stuck in Detroit, Ashley made it to Atlanta, where Delta figured she would manage to catch one of their many flights to New England. Nope! Instead, things got much, much worse.
Travel guru Christopher Elliott has 5 tips for avoiding what he calls the “newest hotel scam.” It’s called “walking,” and it’s the hotel version of being bumped to another flight due to overbooking. What’s the scam? Well, travelers used to be offered a “comparable” hotel if theirs was overbooked — but lately, hotels have been trying to save a few bucks by booking guests in inferior hotels — and keeping the difference.
Here’s an interesting lawsuit. The widow of an Air France passenger is suing that airline, claiming that their decision to bump her husband “caused him to miss a life-saving dialysis treatment at home.” The lawsuit charges Air France with breach of contract, negligence and wrongful death.
A reader just sent us a description of her flight back from London to Minneapolis that reads like a synopsis of a particularly unpleasant episode of “The Amazing Race.” The return flight, on Iceland air, was supposed to go from Heathrow in London to Keflavik in Reykjavik, then from there to Minneapolis. The initial flight is delayed for 2 1/2 hours—but not to worry, Icelandair tells the passengers, because the other flight is being held. When they arrive in Iceland, however, there’s no plane waiting for them—it’s been overbooked, so the airline has sent it ahead and left the passengers stranded overnight.
Kiplinger’s “Win the Bumping Game” offers some advice on how to minimize the chances you’ll get left behind when your airline overbooks a flight. The main thing you can do is arrive early—it’s the last-minute arrivals, or worse, those who buy their tickets a half hour before departure, who are most likely to get bumped. The other thing you can do is avoid Delta, Comair, or Atlantic Southeast, which have the worst records of bumping passengers, and stick with JetBlue, which has the best. And make sure you have a seat assignment if at all possible.
An editor over at Jaunted has perfected a strategy for hassel-free airline bumping. We all know that we can grab some pretty nice rewards if we give up our seat on an overbooked airplane, but we’re never in a position to do so.
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.