After a series of hits in the news, United Airlines has unveiled a new plan for dealing with overbooked flights. All airlines overbook, and there is nothing illegal about it, but airlines’ bad methods for dealing with it has made recent news. This is particularly true with respect to United Airlines.
Now, instead of dragging passengers down the aisle or forcing children to sit in their mother’s lap, United Airlines plans to notify passengers electronically in advance of the overbooked flights and to offer passengers travel vouchers in exchange for changing their plans. The amount for each voucher will range up to $250.
The plan, per United Airlines, is to get passengers with more flexible travel plans to take an earlier or later flight, but United says it will not ask passengers to change airports or dates of the overbooked flights. United is pitching the new plan as a flexible travel system – no doubt worried it will be interpreted as a move to increase overbooking. But, United has pledged to take other action to address overbooking problems.