This is an abridged version of my last blog post, because I want to make sure my last point comes through loud and clear.I understand why the airline industry is a mess. I understand why they overbook and why they have to cut service to keep fares low. I am willing to pay more for better service, but most people aren’t. I get it. But what I saw happen on Monday night shocked me. United Airlines sold someone a first class ticket, on a sold out flight, just to let them bump someone else off the plane. You know how you were planning to see your family over Christmas? Sorry, the business man with the corporate card is willing to pay more, so you’ll have to wait. Yes, this is legal. But this is going too far. It’s one thing to oversell a flight in advance to make sure every seat is taken, but it’s a whole different thing to do this at the gate. Go ahead and favor your frequent travelers and your business travelers. Yes, it’s ok to give preferential treatment to your most loyal fliers.
But don’t sell my seat on the plane when I’m already at the airport. This seems like a bribe. I could imagine this happening in India, but at least there it would be done under the table.