United Airlines is now detailing how the carrier’s new voluntary overbooking compensation system will play out.
After quietly testing the system last month in a handful of markets, today the Chicago-based carrier rolled out the new system in all of its United States hubs, including Chicago.
Now United management will get a much better sense of whether the system is working and whether it will remain in place for the long haul.
Basically, the new compensation system is set up to alert passengers at check-in (up to 24 hours before flight departure) whether they may be on a flight where overbooking could be an issue.
The alert will offer passengers on that flight — excepting unaccompanied minors and group bookings — the opportunity to decide the dollar amount in travel vouchers they would accept to change their reservation to a different flight.
A United spokesman said the alert will give each passenger three suggested compensation amounts to select from, as well as the option to name their own overbooking compensation figure.
The gate agent in charge of dispatching the flight in question will have all the compensation bid information in front of him or her if indeed one or more passengers need to be rebooked to handle an overbooking issue.
The gate agent will have the final say on which passengers are selected to receive compensation based on several factors, including which passengers came in with the lowest bids and whether any rebooked itineraries might create additional problems both for the passengers and for United.
If an overbooking situation arises and an insufficient number of passengers have volunteered to be rebooked in return for compensation in vouchers, then the situation becomes a matter of involuntary denied boarding. In such cases, United could wind up paying out up to $10,000 in hard cash to any passengers bumped from a flight.
By Lewis Lazare Reporter, Chicago Business Journal
Source: Chicago Business Journal