OK for airlines to overbook but not pick who to bump off - trade sec
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry is willing to tolerate the practice of airlines to overbook flights as long as the carriers do not discriminate in choosing who to bump off.
“We cannot ban overbooking because that’s important to the airlines. [If you ban overbooking], it would increase the fares,” Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said in a press conference on Tuesday, June 26.
Domingo, however, said this practice must continue but only under strict terms. He said the airlines should ask for volunteers among the passengers instead of choosing who to refuse from boarding.
The Trade Department, which is the recipient of complaints from consumers, including airline passengers, is participating in the consultation process for the creation of the Bill of Rights of Passengers, which the Transportation Department is spearheading.
Overbooking is among the top passenger complaints in the past years, prompting the Civil Aeronautics Board, an agency under the Transportation Department, to issue an order suspending it.
Aside from overbooking, the CAB also tried to suspend the airlines' practice of not allowing rebooking or refund of tickets by passengers affected by delayed or cancelled flights.
Four local budget airlines -- Cebu Pacific, AirAsia Philippines, SeaAir and Zest Air -- contested these moves, threatening to increase fares.
The airlines said these practices are crucial to their business model, which, in turn, allows them to offer affordable fares.
Airlines typically overbook their flights to maximize profits. They base it on how many tend not to make it to their booked flights
Passengers who volunteer not to take their booked seats in an overbooked flight are usually provided free hotel accommodation and meals, if overnight stay is necessary, and given a travel voucher valid for a year to a local destination. - Rappler.com
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