Denied boarding.

I have been away again.  I was in Germany, which is not a big deal to me anymore.  Just a nice visit to the office with a bit of fun at the beginning of the trip, just to add excitement.

Flying often means that there are things which I research to know the best thing to do when they come up.  There are rules and regulations, and if you don’t know them, the airlines will rip you off.  There will be compensation which they will trick you out of and there will be lies bandied around as the truth.  It is all about cost centres and defending them.  You can’t take it personally.

One of these rules relates to compensation if the airline doesn’t have a seat for you.  Overbooking is a good way of airlines maximising revenue.  For example, if you buy a nicely discounted ticket somewhere two months in advance for £50, and then someone else decides that they simply must fly on the same flight, booking on the day of departure, then an airline will typically charge a HUGE sum of money – say £1000.  For the airline it makes sense to ask me to *volunteer to travel later, compensate me £200 and meet any expenses I have (for me it was an additional £150), put me on a different flight with a different carrier, or one of their own flights but later at nominal expense (airlines sell flights to each other at a different rate) and still come out of it £300 up.

When I got to check in, relatively late, they were looking for volunteers.  As I had never been through this before, I thought, well why not.  It will be a new experience.  I was put onto a later flight to a different city, hired a car, and got to my destination 3 hours later than I would have otherwise.  Yes, it was in the middle of the night, and the 2 hour drive was DULL, but it meant I had a car for a day, and more importantly, the family who were in danger of being split up were able to fly together.

I also have more money paid into my upgrade fund for longhauls.  🙂  What’s more, they booked me into the Y fare bucket, giving me 5 times as many miles as I would have otherwise had.  Additionally, I learnt that an automatic Citroen C3 is a crap car.  Who’d have thought?  Give me a Kia any day please.

*volunteering gives less compensation than if you are unloaded against your will, but if they have to chose someone to unload, it is difficult, because perhaps it will mean someone missing a meeting, or splitting a family.

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