We have all seen startling footage this summer on national TV of a passenger being forcibly removed from an American flight because of overbooking. Naturally the impact of overbooking is not usually this physical. But this does make you wonder if and why airlines over book?
Our research has revealed that most airlines overbook certain flights. We asked several of our carriers why they overbook and easyJet explained that around three million easyJet customers each year don’t show up for their flights and if these seats were left empty, it would force up prices for everyone else. BUT the passengers have already paid for their seats so why does it matter? Upon investigation this is because in the first instance revenue is reduced as the empty seat doesn’t buy on board refreshments. Airlines sell a proportion of certain seats on certain routes and flights at certain times more than once to ensure that revenue is earned in order to sustain the lower ticket prices many of us enjoy today.
easyJet said that ‘they get it right in around 97% of cases, meaning that many tens of thousands of customers who want to fly, get to do so. In only a very small proportion of cases – a tiny fraction of less than 1% – will a customer be denied boarding’ as a result of over booking. easyJet highlighted that very few passengers who do not intend to travel with them actually cancel their flights.
Some passengers may be denied boarding as there may also be occasions where, due to unforeseen circumstances such as disruption on an earlier flight operated, technical problems, etc., that the airline needs to make a change to the aircraft type which is operating a specific route. This might mean that a smaller aircraft is substituted than originally planned, which may lead to a shortage of seats.
How do airlines decide which routes and journey’s to overbook?
When overbooking a flight airlines target those flights with a consistent history of no-shows and then overbook them by a small number where they they can confidently predict everyone who wants to fly should be able to do so.
Flybe explained that they ‘carry 8-million passengers a year flying and on average operates some 520 flights a day. Like all other airlines, Flybe carefully manages each flight by employing in-depth statistical analysis to ensure that each departure is as commercially viable as possible. This is to ensure the lowest possible fares are always available to its customers whilst at the same time being confident there is only ever a very small risk that a passenger would be denied boarding. This is primarily employed on multi-frequency routes where historically it is shown there is a consistent percentage of no-shows’
What simple measures can the passenger take to reduce the risk of being denied boarding as a direct result of overbooking?
- In the first instance check in on line at the earliest opportunity; this confirms to the airline that you intend to travel as booked, so that airlines can more accurately understand whether they still have seats which are available for other customers who may not yet have made their reservations.
- If you are denied boarding as a result of overbooking – negotiate, without being greedy. Establish accommodation needs if appropriate, refreshment allowance. Also ask when the next available flight to your destination is due to depart by any airline not just by the one who has denied you boarding and request if you can be allocated a seat on this flight.
- Remain calm and reasonable
What does the EU Directive have to say on the matter?
In the rare cases where a passenger may be offloaded, airlines should take their responsibilities very seriously, fully understanding how frustrating and inconvenient the situation is.
Compensation must be paid in line with EU261 – typically within 5 working days – as well as dealing with their immediate requirements at the airport. The Consumer Council have published a Plane Facts guide to help navigate you through your rights when flying
The booklet details the ‘Denied boarding’ process;
When an airline has overbooked a flight they must first ask for volunteers to give up their seats before passengers are denied boarding.
If you volunteer to give up your seat:
- You must be provided with compensation, either cash or airline vouchers. The level of compensation must be agreed with you.
- If you decide to continue your journey, the airline must also book you onto an alternative flight. If the airline cannot fly you to your intended airport, it is allowed to fly you to another airport within the same region. The airline must then transfer you to either your intended airport or a close by location agreed with you.
- If you decide not to continue your journey the airline must refund your ticket and give you a flight back to the original point of departure if relevant. Refunds should be provided by the airline within seven days. If an insufficient number of passengers volunteer to give up their seats, the airline will deny boarding to a number of passengers
If the airline denies you boarding:
- You are entitled to immediate compensation. (Please see table 2 on page 20 for compensation rates in Plane Facts).
- You are also entitled to the same option of a refund or alternative travel arrangements offered to passengers who volunteer to give up their seats.
- If the airline cannot fly you to your intended airport, it is allowed to fly you to another airport within the same region. The airline must then transfer you to either your intended airport or a close by location, agreed with you.
Compensation and assistance will not be provided to passengers who are denied boarding because they are deemed unfit to travel by the airline, for example if you are intoxicated, or abusive etc.
Airlines regularly review their overbooking methodology to make it more accurate and do everything we can to minimise the number of people who are affected, whilst optimising the yield from the fare levels at which they sell.
Transport Survey 2013/2014
PUBLIC BUS SERVICE
The majority of those interviewed are happy with facilities at the Bus station with 82% falling into the “Good” or “Fair” brackets. However, certain aspects could be improved:
“Need more seats for waiting at bus station for the elderly.”
“Liberation Station is too cold in the winter.”Complaints and compliments
The main complaints are that the buses are too wide for the Island roads and they do not run to
time. The excessive width causes a considerable amount of stopping and starting to allow
oncoming vehicles to pass, resulting in a reduction in passenger comfort.
It should be remembered that the survey was carried out in the early days of Liberty Bus’ new contract and that the general feeling now is that the timings have improved considerably as
less complaints are being received by the bus company.
When a ship/aircraft arrives in Jersey from a place outside the Common Travel Area (CTA), it is a requirement that the passports of all passengers are checked.
When a ship/aircraft arrives in Jersey from a place outside the Common Travel Area (CTA), it is a requirement that the passports of all passengers are checked. Such checks include the swiping of every passport. There can be no exceptions for the holders of passports issued in Jersey. To apply such an exception would place in jeopardy the Island’s position in the CTA, and potentially lead to the UK introducing a passport control between Jersey and the UK.
The requirement to swipe all passports is a relatively new one, but has become necessary as a result of heightened security. It takes approximately 10 seconds to swipe a passport, and this obviously increases the time it takes to pass through the immigration control. It is the view of the Customs and Immigration Service, however, that this is acceptable if this means keeping the Island safe and ensures that the Island’s immigration control is not seen as a weak link in the CTA.
 The Common Travel Area is an open borders area comprising Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. British Overseas Territories are not included.
HAND LUGGAGE put in the hold on a busy flight might seem like a mild inconvenience – but if your bag gets lost, stolen or damaged, it might not be covered by your travel insurance.
More of us are opting to travel with just hand luggage opting out of paying to check in a bag. However, this often means there are too many cabin bags to fit in the overhead lockers and airline staff need to stow a certain number in the hold.
Consumer watchdog Which? found that the leading five UK travel insurance companies including Aviva, LV and Axa don’t cover valuables placed in the hold for loss, theft or damage.
Which? is warning travellers to take any valuables out of their hand luggage before they hand it over to cabin crew.
Another issue with having to check your bag unexpectedly is waiting to pick it up from the baggage carousel. If this process is delayed and a passenger misses a connecting flight as a result, airlines are not required to pay compensation.
These days, it is highly likely that passengers may have their cabin bags taken and put in the hold, because planes simply don’t have the capacity to takes all bags in the cabin.
If you have to put a bag in the hold at the last minute, try to remove wallets, keys, laptops and other valuables. If any items go missing from the hand luggage bag that you had intended to keep with you, do make clear to the airline that you expect compensation.
Make sure that you know if your own travel insurance covers this eventuality before you travel.
Condor Jersey Consumer Group
First Meeting held today (25th May)
Open & Honest discussions between Group Members & Condor
To keep us all grounded we have our own Group Charter and Objective
Group objective the Group will make every effort to identify and craft mutually acceptable resolutions that are aimed at reducing and resolving dissatisfaction, to improve relationships between Condor and the public
The Charter ensures that we all understand our own responsibilities and commitment to the Group.
All participants are presenting individually to the Group highlighting their own views on;
· main areas of dissatisfaction and the impact it has on those around you
· areas of satisfaction
· thoughts on how things could really change going forward
Half the Group had the opportunity today and others will be afforded the same at our next meeting.
The attendees, including Condor’s CEO Paul Luxon, listened, clarified and talked through various aspects of the service. Group members were open, honest and eloquently made numerous substantiated points. Although timetabling, reliability, communication and customer care was amongst the most cited areas in today’s resumes, each speaker articulated the reality and full implications of these dissatisfactions to each person, their commitments and obligations.
As one member said that it’s ‘when all these shortcomings converge at once’ you get a potent recipe for frustration and dissatisfaction.
The Group talked through with Paul about the Frequent Traveller Scheme as there is clearly confusion about decisions made regarding the longevity of the scheme; Paul clarified that they are currently consulting a selection of Frequent Traveller Scheme members to explore how it should look in the future – he assured the Group that it will be staying but will look different.
The points raised by each member will formulate a robust agenda for discussion.
Condor Jersey Consumer Group
We need passengers to join the Group
The Jersey Consumer Council is overseeing the establishment of the Condor Jersey Consumer Group and we are now recruiting volunteers.
We are seeking input from a broad range of consumers who travel on all Condor routes to and from Jersey.
The Group is an opportunity for consumers and Condor to interact face to face, enabling a meaningful two way dialogue to discuss issues from both sides and to carve a way forward to help with customer service issues, reliability and communications.
We are seeking applications from
- Foot passengers
- Car passengers
- Less mobile passengers
- Sports groups
- Specialist groups; horse owners, motorcycle competitors, dog owners and competitors and so on..
To apply, please send a letter by email or by post stating very clearly why you wish to be considered as part of the group, the category of passenger you consider yourself to be and if your work or commitments will allow you to regularly attend meetings. The group will meet on a monthly basis early morning for 1 hour. We plan to hold our first meeting in mid May.
CLOSING DATE 12th MAY 2016
Jersey Consumer Council
9-13 Central Market
The world is at your ‘keyboard’ when using the internet to research or book your holiday or other travel arrangements.
Take a moment to check out all the risks even if you think you may be aware of them all.
- Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages
- Flight scams:
- Where you book a flight and receive a fake ticket, or pay for a ticket that never arrives.
- Holiday scams:
- Fake websites and email offers for holidays or villas that do not exist. They require you to pay a deposit, which you never see again.
- Fake competition scams defrauding you out of a fee to secure a holiday.
- Inadvertently advertising the fact that your house will be empty when you are away, by posting on social networking or travel tracking sites. Some insurance companies are now rejecting claims if homes are targeted by burglars while the owners are away on holiday and made reference to it on social networking sites.
- Ensure that any holiday or travel company unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them online. Ensure that they are a member of a recognised travel authority which offers financial protection and a complaints service.
- When possible, pay for holidays and travel using your credit card as this offers additional financial protection over other methods. Please note that your holiday or travel company may levy a surcharge for credit card payments.
- Double check all details such as travel dates, itineraries, destinations and travellers before confirming payment, as you may be charged for amendments.
- Take out travel insurance adequate for your destination, activities and everyone in your party.
- Do not reply to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise.
- If renting a private apartment or villa, call the owner/agent directly to ensure that it is legitimate. If the number is not provided, email and request it. Check reviews on TripAdvisor or similar sites.
- Get the full address of the property and find it on Google maps to check its location and legitimacy.
- Prior to payment, obtain a contract setting out terms and conditions of the rental, deposits, payment terms etc.
- Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
- There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
- The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
- If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
- Some websites will redirect you to a third-party payment service (such as WorldPay). Ensure that these sites are secure before you make your payment.
- Safeguard and remember the password you have chosen for the extra verification services used on some websites, such as Verified by Visa.
- When making a payment to an individual, never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.
- Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
- Keep receipts for all online holiday or travel bookings and payments.
- Check credit card and bank statements carefully after booking to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the booking.
- Before you post details of your travel dates on social networking or travel tracking sites, ensure that the correct privacy settings are in place.
- Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.
Please refer to the following websites for more information:
ABTA Association of British Travel Agents
ATOL Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing
AiTO Association of Independent Tour Operators
Holiday fraud: look before you book
Get Safe Online is joining forces today with ABTA (the UK’s leading travel association), Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to warn you about the dangers posed by holiday booking fraud. Anyone booking a holiday either in the UK or abroad is at risk.
For information and advice on safe holiday and travel booking, click here
We all look forward to our holidays, and often they can cost a considerable amount of money, which most of us simply cannot afford to lose. Unfortunately, more and more people are being affected by holiday fraud, which means that not only do you not get your holiday … you normally end up losing your money too. The holiday, accommodation or flight they paid for doesn’t exist, or the booking hasn’t been made.Read More
Flying off on Holiday
Check out our Plane Facts guide which highlights your rights if things go wrong
It is important to be aware of your rights:
If your flight is delayed or cancelled you are entitled to assistance and in some cases compensation. If you are denied boarding because the airline has overbooked the flight, you are entitled to compensation.
Your rights are protected by European Law (Regulation (EC) 261/2004) and are the same regardless of the airline you are travelling with.
Your rights are protected for any flight from within the European Union (EU) and on flights from a non-EU country into the EU, provided the airline is licensed in the EU.Read More
Going on Holiday? Its easy to forget to arrange the travel insurance in the excitement of planning your break.
Top Tips for Travel Insurance:
- Make sure that the medical cover is adequate – to help pay medical bills £2 million medical cover is advised by Which for just Europe and £5 million for worldwide.
- Cover your gadgets – you may need to extend your home insurance to cover as single items on your travel policy may only be covered for £250.
- Missed flights and missed connections (make sure that this includes the Channel Islands)
- Check the cancellation provisions – how much are you covered for in the event of the holiday being cancelled by unexpected events e.g. illness.
- A good travel insurance policy should provide cover for Illness, injury or death while you are away; Repatriation (getting you back home
- Check that the policy covers