Published on Thursday, July 13, 2017

United has a new plan to avoid overbooked flights



United Airlines is hoping to ease the hassle of last minute overbooked flights with a more proactive approach.


Keen to consign the infamous dragging incident with Dr. David Dao to history and avoid hefty thousand-dollar pay-outs for bumped passengers, United is testing a new service.


The carrier is introducing new technology which will offer inducements to travelers to give up their seat up to five days before departure.


It has partnered with Atlanta based aviation technology startup Volantio which will offer a travel voucher up to $250 in exchange for changing a flight to a less in-demand departure.


Customers can sign up to receive email updates for the Flex-Schedule Program which will offer buyouts up to five days before the flight, enabling the airline to then resell it at a likely much higher fare.


Volantio describes it as 'dynamically rebalancing flights by reacquiring low-yielding inventory and reselling it at a higher price.'


Customer would be invited to rebook at a different time on the same route in exchange for a travel voucher worth up to $250.


United is taking a low key approach so far, introducing it with little fanfare. 


"We are always looking at new ways to innovate and improve the customer experience and this extremely small test is an example of one of many opportunities we are reviewing," United Airlines spokesman Jonathan Guerin told NBC News.


It will only be an option for travelers booking via United.com and who opt-in to receive alerts.


It is being tested until August and United may add further benefits to the program depending on how well it is received by customers.


 

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  • ONLY $250??

    Glad United is transparent with publicly stating the re-purchased seats would go for more money. But does that make the $250 buy-back offer fair in offer ... especially if the passenger giving up that seat may have to pay more for the "new" (changed) flight?

    By LeAnne Rigsby, Thursday, July 13, 2017

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