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Bumping Business Class Passengers To Economy?  
User currently offlineRai From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 0 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5833 times:

According to some Air Canada employees, it's standard practice.

Air Canada has adopted a new policy of overselling business-class seats and bumping its top customers to economy when necessary.

The policy, quietly introduced months ago, has outraged at least one of the airline's super-elite customers who was recently bumped to the back of the plane and says the money-losing airline can't afford to treat its top-paying customers that way.

"The Vancouver flights are regularly oversold in executive class," said one Air Canada employee who spoke on condition of anonymity, saying other busy routes are also being hit.

Airlines routinely oversell economy-class seats on the assumption some passengers won't show up -- a tactic meant to ensure as many economy seats are full and as much revenue as possible generated per plane.

But business-class -- commonly called J-class -- passengers are the treasured cash cows of the airline industry and have traditionally been treated with a lot more care.

"Due to the high no-show factor in the J cabin and in order to maximize revenue in the J cabin and to reduce spoilage (empty seats) in the J cabin, marketing will begin minimally overselling J," an Air Canada memo says.

Business passengers without pre-assigned seating are to be bumped first under the policy, introduced late last year, regardless of how early they arrive at the airport.

"The problem with people like me is we're captive," said David Pecaut, who lives in Toronto and commutes to work in New York.

He was shocked to be bumped back to economy although he had a $1,325 business-class ticket. He's been told to expect a refund of just $200 or so from Air Canada, which charged him a full-fare economy rate for the seat.

"I've probably flown that flight 80 times in the last two years, so they know me at the airport. I'm so insulted that they threw me out of business class," said Pecaut, chief executive of iFormation Group, a technology investment company.

Air Canada (TSX:AC) said it's just following the lead of other major airlines, including its Star Alliance partner United Airlines, which have similar policies.

But those airlines have competition, so business travellers have a choice if they don't like being bumped, Pecaut noted. Air Canada is the only airline in Canada offering business class.

Frequent business travellers weren't alerted to the policy change because the overbooking is "minimal" -- usually just a few seats -- and bumping is rare, Air Canada spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade said.

The number of business-class customers between Toronto and Vancouver downgraded for a host of reasons -- including cancellations, aircraft changes and overselling -- is a fraction of one per cent, she said.

© Copyright 2002 Edmonton Journal

This is the link


15 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineB744 From New Zealand, joined Dec 1999, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5801 times:

I encountered a case of overbooking in J class when returning from HKG to AKL a few years ago on CX. The problem wasn't that the overbooking was intentional, but rather that they had a technical problem with two reservation systems not talking to each other. They offered me a choice of flying in economy on the day I was booked for and getting a refund for the difference, or I could have gone the next day and CX would have paid for my overnight stay in HK. On that occasion, I chose to fly back in Y because I needed to be back in a hurry. Overall, CX handled the situation well. The Air Canada example above certainly isn't a good way to treat customers. If I treated my customers that way, I don't think I would have any left!

User currently offlineETA Unknown From Comoros, joined Jun 2001, 2296 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5741 times:

Pax is to expect only a $200 refund??? That doesn't sound right.

User currently offlineFlyboy36y From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3039 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5731 times:

I'd sue for the full fare back. Getting bumped back is embarassing... plus... If I had wated to fly economy I would have found a cheaer fare.

User currently offlineAl From Australia, joined Jun 1999, 593 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5666 times:

"Pax is to expect only a $200 refund??? That doesn't sound right."

Full Y is never much less than a C/J class fare, so it sounds about right. Actually, I'll let the system decide.
Full C/J class YYZ-LGA return on AC is showing at the moment for $1520.00 base fare, but found a discount C/J for $1334.00. The full Y class fare is also coincidentally $1334.00 as well, so the figures don't add up somewhere. Either AC is being generous and refunding the difference between full Y and full C against his what looks like discounted C, or they've not realised he was on what looks like a discounted C.
(Got the figures from using 1100 departure ex YYZ 23 Jul with a 1110 return on 25 Jul ex LGA).
Bumping of J class pax back to Y has happened over the years but rarely because of deliberate overbookings. More normally an equipment change or seat malfunction etc. If they're gunna do it, then you'd hope they are studying the numbers a little more carefully. Don't know how Mapleflot operates, but I know the USA carriers for the most part hide behind the fine print in the conditions of carriage for all manner of things. Think they'd cover themselves under the only obligation is to carry from A to B clause.
Cheers/Regards. Al.

User currently offlineSpk From Thailand, joined Jun 2001, 459 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5640 times:

TG has a much better policy in this regard. Once their J class from CDG-BKK was overbooked somehow and they happily bumped me and my colleague up to Royal First Class. I can't complain about that!

User currently offlineRp tpa From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 852 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 5582 times:


On some of AC,s transborder routes, they have a CY1UP fare which is the same as a Y1. If you pay the Y1, you can get a confirmed business class seat, subject to C class availability. AC also uses C/cls for top aeroplan members who want to use their upgrade certificates. As you might expect, this is capacity controlled so not everyone paying Y1 gets upgraded. If someone definately wants a business class seat, and C/cls is sold out, they can opt to pay the J1 fare.

User currently offlineAussiestu From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 780 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 5519 times:

So this is probably the first time that it has happened to him and there he is screaming and shouting. If he is such a valid and commercially important pax to AC then I am sure that they would be doing more. So it happened so what. This happens in the airline industry everyday. All the airlines try for it not to happen but to make a flight as full as possible this overselling has to happen. It is people with these business class tix that list themselves on more flights than they intend to travel on that cause part of the problem. I am certain that this guy will get more than C$200 refund but hey its headline.

User currently offlineRichardw From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 3839 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 5495 times:

One answer is quite simple, make over selling illegal, no matter what it is for,
airplane seats, theatre seat, concert seats, whatever seat!

User currently offlineJayhup From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 456 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5481 times:

Richardw...although that's a great idea the shareholders of the airline would be the ones complaining the loudest. The goal for any airline is to maximize their capacity and revenue and as most of us who either work or have worked the ticket desk know people tend to change their minds...a lot!

I used to work for BA and on a Friday night it was standard to overbook Club by at least 10. I can't tell you how many times we just had enough seats but we did go out full thus maximizing the space. People decide to stay for dinner or other people left the day before or some got stuck in traffic.

Is it unfair for someone to be bumped? Absolutely, and that's why we'd try and soften the blow by offering Concorde. Some took us up on it and others declined. For those who declined we tried to be as accommodating as possible and accept full responsibility (at least I did) for screwing up their night.

My advice to those people who get bumped...try and be nice because you'll usually get a lot more than people who are abusive. I always made it a point of taking care of the people who were calm and didn't get nasty and most of the people I worked with were the same way. Don't be afraid to ask for compensation but if you are reasonable about it you'll be taken care of....


User currently offlineBestWestern From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2000, 8706 posts, RR: 57
Reply 10, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5471 times:

Overbooking is the mainstay of the airline industry, as 10% of the passengers never turn-up... ever...

The more flexible the fare, the more they oversell, and on some flights this can be up to 175% of the aircraft capacity.

The world is really getting smaller these days
User currently offlineRichardw From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 3839 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5462 times:

10% who never turn up, do they automatically get a full refund?

User currently offlineJayhup From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 456 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5440 times:

If it's the type of fare that allows for a refund then yes. A full fare first/business/economy ticket is usually completely changeable and refundable......


User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 5430 times:

A concorde option for an overbooking error sounds wonderful. THerein lies the difference between British Airways and Air Canada, a monopolistic behemoth that like its old Soviet counterpart, Aeroflot, can't make a dime.

User currently offlineJayhup From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 456 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5353 times:

I always viewed Concorde as a tool to use when things went wrong (overbookings and cancellations). Even if the pax declined the offer they almost alway thought about for a few minutes before saying no. I has made some unpleasant situations bearable.....


User currently offlineZrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3525 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (13 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 5273 times:

This is absurd. If Y were overbooked, the pax would get a voucher for more than $200 and a seat on the next flight out on any airline, possible in C or F. Makes no sense for a full fare C pax to get a lesser deal.

17 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2016
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