I’d Like To Bump Somebody. In The Head. Repeatedly. With A Shovel

I haven’t been on a plane in something like 25 years, but this shit still infuriates me. Air Canada employee says staff trained to ‘dupe’ passengers at risk of being bumped from oversold flights

Seriously, legalized robbery is what that is. Whatever bribes the airlines pay to the world’s governments to get this scam rammed through and keep it running must be massive on a scale that us regular people could never comprehend, and that’s to say nothing of the ongoing cost of the PR clowns trotted out into the wild to keep reminding us that it’s just and good.

But how is any of this right or fair? And what other business could get away with it?

Back at Christmas, Carin and I almost didn’t get to go visit her family because they waited until the last minute to tell us what the plan was. It ended up that the two of us got the last two seats on one of the trains we needed and wouldn’t be able to sit together. We knew this well ahead of time because VIA Rail, like any business with something passing for morals and ethics, told us right away how many seats they had instead of putting on their best airline face and selling tickets willy-nilly while wishing on stars that extra seats would magically appear.

Ditto for Greyhound. They aren’t as organized as VIA, but any time I’ve seen them sell out a bus they either tell you so at the counter before you buy a ticket or they send an extra one to accommodate the overflow.

And when was the last time you went to a baseball game or a concert only to be told that they double sold your seat? Unless you bought fake tickets from some criminal on Kijiji, the answer is probably never.

This is not that hard. Count the number of available seats, and then sell that many tickets. Don’t come out here with some line about how overselling is consumer friendly because it helps pay for less used routes. That’s cash grab rationalizing garbage and everyone knows it. If it costs more to maintain a specific service, charge more for it. Some people might not like that, but I guarantee they’ll like it a lot more than having their plans ruined so you can keep base fares artificially low. And by the way, if it works so well to keep costs down, why the need to nickel and dime folks at every turn? Why do baggage fees keep increasing while at the same time it’s getting less and less likely you’re getting fed on your flight, for instance.

The authorities could end this, of course. But they don’t want to. If you doubt that, just look at this ridiculous fucking idea the Canadian government is hoping to include in its passenger bill of rights.

Regardless of why an airline has more passengers than seats on a flight, new federal airline regulations coming down the runway will make it harder for travellers to claim compensation if they’re denied boarding, says Gabor Lukacs, founder of a Canadian advocacy group called Air Passenger Rights.
Currently, airlines must seek volunteers to give up their seats before denying anyone boarding. Passengers who are involuntarily bumped are entitled to compensation — up to $1,350 — depending on the airline, destination and length of the delay.
The new proposed regulations provide higher compensation, but require the passenger to prove they were denied boarding due to an oversold flight caused by a situation within the airline’s control.
“This is impossible to show,” Lukacs said.
“Passengers don’t have access to the airline’s reservation system. They don’t know how big the aircraft is. They don’t know how many seats were sold. Moreover, in situations where the airline moves passengers against their will to other flights, it is going to look as if the flight was not oversold.”

Lukacs says Canada should be emulating European standards, where anyone with a valid ticket who doesn’t get on their plane is considered to have been denied boarding — and is eligible for compensation.
“In Canada there is no excuse for drafting a definition so narrowly that people who pay their hard-earned dollars for their seats won’t get compensated when they are denied boarding on their flight,” he said.

Nope, nobody’s in anybody’s pocket here. No siree Bob!

There is literally one good reason why anyone with a valid ticket shouldn’t be on his flight. Mechanical problems. If the airline has to switch planes and the new one isn’t the same size, that’s unavoidable. But all these other excuses can go straight to hell. I bet they’ll all make it there on time, too. Even hell has a better ticketing system than the stupid airport.

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