This is blatantly false. I fly all the time and I see this happen about every other time at a neighboring gate. Gate agent announced flight is oversold, makes an offer. Several people volunteer. End of story.
You don’t hear about these events because they (used to) happen hundreds of times a day all over the US with no hassle.
Then the stupidity of United and the ignorant backlash of the public ruined it. Infrequent fliers associated overselling with the United incident and completely ignored the functioning 99.9% of cases that benefited all fliers overall.
Volantio’s product is ok, but it’s not a substitute to the problem overbooking was solving, nor is it better for passengers who were flexible with last minute changes (because the offers are worse since rebooks days in advance don’t solve the last minute flex fare changes).
Ugh, sorry about the rant but this whole oversale thing is a perfect example of the outrage culture damaging a mostly functional market due to sheer ignorance.
That said, though I can sympathise with the frustration, I've learned that sentiments like "ignorant backlash of the public" and "outrage culture damaging a mostly functional market due to sheer ignorance" don't get us to good solutions.
As you said, the problem is a real one, and Volantio has shown that it can be significantly reduced through smart application of technology well before departure time.
The United incident had nothing to do with overbooking.
1. Unites flight was not overbooked. They wanted to put some of their own employees on this flight. This has nothing to do with overbooking.
2. Law stats that you can deny boarding if a flight is overbooked. Let someone on board and then throw him off the plane was definitely not within the scope of the law, even should the flight have been overbooked. Try to tell this to the authorities, "we let more people on board than seats available and had to remove some..". Good luck with that.
So based on 1 and 2 the airline was wise to settle with the guy ASAP since throwing him off the plane had nothing to do with overbooking, nor was it in any way covered by law.
Proof that you are an idiot. Downvote this :-)
In fact, I’ve volunteered a few times. If I’m flying back home to visit family, arriving one day later isn’t a big deal when the airline pays for a hotel room, meals and offers enough comp that I could fly back home twice.