April 23rd, 2017

Airline passengers deserve to be treated better


By Letter to the Editor on April 20, 2017.

As a senior I am disgusted at the behaviour of United Airlines; to think that they would treat a paying passenger who also is a 69-year-old senior with such disregard is absolutely appalling. Security not only dragged this gentleman off the plane, they manhandled him so roughly that they broke his nose and his teeth. They are lucky he didn’t have a heart attack in the process.

Why do airlines overbook? It’s like double dipping. They say it’s because they know some passengers won’t show. Well, what difference does it make? The seat has already been paid for and if it’s a no-show at the last minute, I am assuming it would be the passenger who is out of pocket, not the airline. I am quite sure they are not going to refund a no-show so consequently they are getting paid twice for the same seat.

What does Mr. Vaughn Jennings mean as quoted in the paper on April13, “Airlines defend policy”: “Plane seats are perishable commodities. Once the door has been closed, seats on a flight can’t be sold and lose all value.” I ask you what difference does it make if the seat remains empty if it’s already been paid for?

I think it’s about time the airlines started treating the passengers as human beings and not cattle. After all, without the passengers, the employees wouldn’t have a job. Maybe if they want to make more money and cut costs they should start in house and reduce the salaries of some of their top executives, starting with the CEO, Mr. Oscar Munoz.

I for one hope that Dr. David Dao sues United Airlines and wins. He certainly has a lot of people on his side. This type of treatment should not have to be tolerated by young or old, and it’s time we stood up for our rights against these large companies and said “no more.”

Anne Bell

Lethbridge

4 Responses to “Airline passengers deserve to be treated better”

  1. Lethrez says:

    Having experienced being bumped from an overbooked flight where our tickets were purchased months ahead of time and we did the online check in exactly 24 hours in advance (thank you Air Canada), I can tell you that the cost for them to send us in a taxi to another city and airport to catch our connecting flight, plus the compensation they paid us for the inconvenience, amounted to more than the original cost of our tickets. There were at least ten others in the exact same situation.

    Therefore the overbooking actually cost them more money than the risk of having an empty seat. It was also in the high season where the likelihood of an empty seat on a flight was close to nil anyway.

  2. Trevor J says:

    Flying is a privilege not a right. Every single plane ticket unless stated when one books is fully refundable and or transferable to later flights. If it was not there would be issues all over the place. Mainly if you have a connecting flight in a third city that is late and totally out of your control.

    On a flight from Lethbridge to London England you have to get to Calgary first. If the little plane that comes to Lethbridge is late leaving due to weather, they are not going to charge you for your connecting flight in Calgary when you miss it. They are not going to leave it empty, they are going to give it to someone else to make sure the flight is full. Once you make it to Calgary they will put you on the next flight at no cost to you. An empty seat does not mean it was paid for and the person did not show up. One is not charged when you book, only when given a boarding pass.

    Airlines have decades of studies that around 90% of people that “book” on a plane at a set time actually make it at boarding. Being delayed connecting, delayed in security or customs or just delayed getting to the airport because the taxi was late. Airlines have a vested interested in flying full and based on the studies they “book” 10% more knowing that 10% will not show up. If they only book to a full plane it will leave 90% full. The airlines barely break even if planes are not 100% full.

  3. zulu1 says:

    Correct me if I am wrong but to my knowledge Westjet does not not overbook flights, which begs the question , if they do not find the practice necessary and are a successful airline, why do other airlines find it so appealing. ?
    Many years ago I decided , wherever possible I would avoid using Air Canada, because of poor customer service, and employee arrogance and condescending attitudes. About two years ago I decided to give Air Canada another chance to redeem themselves. Flying to Victoria ,BC I flew Air Canada on the outbound leg and Westjet on the return. Air Canada failed miserably and had to apologize with compensation, while Westjet showed their usual caring and humerous selves.
    United Airlines is is a horrible airline also, they lose your luggage regularly without apologies or compensation.
    A passenger bill of rights is long overdue, and supposedly coming soon from the Federal government

  4. already extinct says:

    Thank goodness I don’t have to fly anywhere anymore, but zulu1’s Air Canada experience reminded me, of a particular trip to the orient years ago that provided me my final good-bye to Air Canada. I never considered them again if they would have been handing out freebies.

    I flew AC out of Calgary via San Fran direct to Osaka on those flights. In Osaka (that airport is spotless) we boarded a Thai Air flight. The difference in absolutely EVERYTHING, from the appearance of the flight attendants to the pilots, (who all greeted us upon boarding) was startling. The plane was like it had never seen a human being inside it – and the service was like dining in a fine restaurant in an exotic location, certainly not many places on the ground in Canada could touch the food the service, or politeness and professionalism of that flight crew – pleasantly memorable.

    I could ramble on for hours talking about this particular flight and others I experienced with oriental carriers but sufficient to say, Thai Air makes anything with the name Air Canada (and United, American, Alaskan too) on it look like the clumsy careless bunch of ….. s they probably still are!


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