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Bad idea to buy an overbooked flight?

Chrispee

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I'm hoping some frequent flyers can clarify my odds on buying an overbooked flight. It's an end of November flight on Alaska from Lihue to Vancouver, and I grabbed the last two assigned seats for my wife and son. I was able to purchase the flight, but not get an assigned seat. I know there's a likelihood that someone will cancel, but is there anything I'm missing here? If my odds are deemed to be fairly high that I'll get bumped, I'll put my wife in first class and take her economy seat rather than roll the dice, but am I wrong to be optimistic that I'll get on the plane anyway?
 

sjsharkie

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Airlines over book all the time. Not only do people cancel or not show up, airlines block seats on the seat map as well. They may have also sold tickets to bulk discounters.

The fact that you already have seats is a good thing as well. If in an oversold situation, they will ask for volunteers first. In the rare case when they can't get volunteers, they generally will involuntary deny boarding to those who do not have a seat.

Very unlikely you will have an issue IMHO. I am a 2 million miler on American plus another 800k on United - I have never been IDB on a flight yet.

Ryan


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tschwa2

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Lack of pre-assigned seats do not indicate an overbooked situation especially if you were able to get some seats. For example on Delta only 70% of coach seats are pre-assigned. They hold back bulk head (unless you have status) they hold back seat for pre assignment for disabled passengers and they hold back usually the last 2 or 3 rows for family seating and unaccompanied minors.

Your flight may eventually become overbooked but isn't now.
-
 

elaine

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Agree with PP. My Mom got the last assgined seat, aunt and uncle could buy tickets, but not get assgined seats. At the airport, they got assigned premium seats. Almost every flight I have been on in the past year has had all but 1 seat full.
 

Carlsbadguy

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The Alaska seat map will not show the available premium seats in the first few rows for their MVP members so there are usually many more open seats than the seat map showed.
Flew home on Alaska from Maui a few weeks ago and the only seats showing on the seat map were a few in the back of the plane when I made the reservation. When I checked in there were many seats I was able to move to in the first few rows.
 

Chrispee

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Thanks everybody, that puts my mind at ease!
 

SMHarman

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You used to be able to check on IATA or a similar website how many seats were still for sale in each sub class coach-full coach-flexible coach no refund etc.
Also some of those no refund are sold anticipating someone does not fly.
Months out a flight is never likely oversold. Only exception would be holiday weekend flights to holiday destinations with infrequent flights. E.g. Presidents day weekend Non-stop NYC>STT.

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PStreet1

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If you want even more peace of mind, make a phone call and plead your case to a rep. I just did that on a transatlantic and we were immediately given seat assignments where we wanted them.
 

sjsharkie

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Thanks everybody, that puts my mind at ease!

To add to my earlier post ... your odds in 2011 were about 1 in 10,000 of being bumped involuntarily. I don't know your routing, but I doubt you are flying through a weather problematic hub (or connecting at all) which would cause issues (although SFO does come to mind as potential).

Your chances are probably even less than the 0.01% above.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/travel/10pracbump.html?_r=0

Enjoy LIH with the Mrs.! I'm here right now and the weather is beautiful.

-ryan
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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I have been flying Alaska Airlines regularly since 1995 - had elite status almost every year. Traveling for business, I generally arrange my schedule so that there is a backup flight available in case something happens with the first flight - I generally can't afford to miss an appointment. That also leaves me in a situation in which I can easily take bumps if offered, and I readily try for them.

Up until about 2005 I could count on getting at least two bump vouchers per year; one year I collected five. Since 2005, though, they have greatly improved the accuracy of their pricing and scheduling algorithms. In the last five or six years, I've only collected two bump vouchers, and not for lack of trying. Meanwhile the overall occupancy factor of the flights has also increased greatly. So even though the planes are fuller, the frequency with which they offer bumps has declined dramatically.

*****

So, I hope that offers some comfort or assurance.

If you are at the Alaska web site also check to see how many ticket options there are for the flight you are interested in. There are usually three options for coach, "Lowest", "Value", and "Refundable". As a flight fills up the "Lowest" fare offering disappears an option, followed by "Value". So if the only pricing option you see for coach is "Refundable", then that usually means the flight is getting full.
 

Chrispee

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Ryan, I saw your Waiohai pic in the other thread. That's a better view than my last parking lot slash ocean view unit when we stayed there last year. Even with its flaws, there's something special about the Waiohai though... Have a great trip!
 

sjsharkie

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Ryan, I saw your Waiohai pic in the other thread. That's a better view than my last parking lot slash ocean view unit when we stayed there last year. Even with its flaws, there's something special about the Waiohai though... Have a great trip!
Thanks, Chris.

The view is great. Exceeded my expectations and we are having a blast.

Have fun on your trip as well!

Ryan

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