Over the past month, many airlines have been under a lot of scrutiny due to poor customer service efforts. Many of these efforts have come to light due to viral videos that were recorded on the plane. While airlines usually do not respond well when better customer service is needed, an LA Times report reveals that it appears that the airlines are taking this concern far more seriously than ever before.
While airlines have continued to overbook flights, it appears that they are taking steps to ensure that all customers are happy with the results. Airlines historically have only offered customers a few hundreds dollars to accept a delayed flight. However, this process and rule could be changing. After the results of a few overbooked flights, some airlines are now stating that they could start offering up to $10,000 to passengers that are willing to stay in the airport and wait for a later flight. This is a sizable increase, which will likely lead to more customers volunteering to accept a later flight.
Along with the larger offers, airlines are also looking for ways to reduce the amount of flights that are overbooked. In fact, the amount of passengers that need to be pushed back has declined considerably over the past few years. In 2015, the three major airlines in the United States reported that only 6.2 out of every 100,000 passengers needed to be bumped due to overbooked flights. This compares to just 10 years ago when the ratio was closer to 11 out of every 100,000 passengers.
Part of the reason for the reduction in passenger bumps is better analysis by the airlines. The major airlines today are able to predict how many passengers will be last minute no shows and how many will be willing to pay a premium last-minute for a flight. The airlines are now going to focus on over-booking even less going forward. Historically, United Airlines would aim to oversell a flight by about 3%. However, due to some of the recent viral videos shown on TV, the airline will focus on reducing that number to a level that will result in even less passengers being overbooked.