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There should be a law to disclose this sort of information when you purchase a ticket... as well as the probability that you will be denied passage on the flight you are booking... In fact you could even make it so that they tell you the alternative you will be offered if that event occurs. They could even offer a premium price to guarantee your flight.

The whole point is to make this process more predictable for travelers. The tech exists, only the political will to force its use is necessary.






They could even offer a premium price to guarantee your flight

They do -- they call it a "full fare ticket" -- airlines bend over backwards to accommodate these full fare fliers, even if it means bumping a paid economy passenger from the flight. Though it's a pretty steep fee -- usually several times more than the restricted fare.


The SkyTeam alliance guarantees its frequent fliers (people who hold SkyTeam Elite Plus status) that they can buy a full Y-class fare on a completely sold out flight and they'll kick someone else off to put them on.

BA do this, although only in economy I think. It’s a 24 hour minimum too. I’ve never needed it.

I’ve booked on fully sold flights in a full fare class a few days before and the wait list clears, often in a few hours.


I believe this is all in the contract of carriage, except for the probability (I'm not sure how you'd make a law mandating accurate estimates...). The problem is once you make laws to disclose all the things people need to know (and, to be clear, I think they genuinely do need to know a bunch of stuff) it turns into five pages of fine print.

The alternative that you're offered, 99% of the time, is a seat on the next flight.

Which is sort of workable if you are taking a direct flight to some location within the same continent and the next flight is in a couple of hours... If the next flight is the next day then that is pretty unacceptable.

Depends if they’re offering a hotel too. I’ve been voluntarily bumped more than once when I didn’t have anywhere I needed to be, and the compensation was definitely worth it



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