United just isn’t overselling anymore…

I’ve been on about 20 flights this year that have been sold out on United, which in the past meant there was a good shot at a bump. I’d say last year I got bumped about 50% of the time when the flight was sold out. This year, on the other hand, I’ve gotten exactly one bump. So my bumps have been cut by 90%. And there’s a reason for this, it’s not just a coincidence. United just isn’t overselling much anymore. They used to oversell a Boeing 757 by about 16-20 people, but nowadays 4-8 is more typical. Of course it’s route/date/time dependent, but they have adjusted their inventory management, which sure isn’t good for people like me. I’ve all but given up on the lucrative VDB.

Anyone else?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. I think you’re right on the mark Lucky. Bumps on UAL mainline seem to be down. I too remember not long ago when they were begging all the time for volunteers. The only exception I have noted is United Express where I’ve seen multiple bumps on PSP-SFO, SFO-RDM and RDM-DEN so far this year. Too bad I’ve never been able to take advantage. Keep trying!

  2. I dunno. I had a friend just get one last Friday. And I’ve had two domestic bumps this spring, albeit one of them processed me before they realized that they didn’t actually need me. The other, however, was legit.

    And then, of course, there was EZE at the beginning of the year! 🙂

    But yea, I’d definitely agree that it’s gone done. I attribute it to either a.) the new standby policy which ends up forcing more people to fly their scheduled itin, and b.) COntinentalization. In my experience, CO is the best (i.e. worst!) at managing inventory.

  3. I’m sad to say that our days of getting UA to pay us to fly are VERY quickly coming to an end. Fares also seem high. That could make reaching top tier status MUCH harder for the 2012 status year.

  4. Was booked on UX 7680 IND-ORD on Mon 5/31 (day after the Indy 500) on my way back to SFO (on a C-saver award). They were desperately looking for 2 volunteers. They were offering $400 in vouchers, but they wanted to put me on DL to get back to SFO … NOT!!!

    Got to ORD on the flight, but due to weather, missed my connection to SFO.
    Was rebooked in C on UA907 ORD-SFO (3-class 767) on Tue 6/1. The flight needed 20+ volunteers. I was one. Got 4 $100 travel vouchers plus an extra night’s lodging near ORD (Crown Plaza).

    At my request, was rebooked on UA973 (got upper deck on the 747) the next day. Don’t know if it was in fact overbooked, but it had 50+ standbys. However, was not taken up on my offer to volunteer.

  5. I don’t buy it. I think it’s the fare. There’s just too darn expensive for the leisure traveler — the bread and butter of their overbooking. When they were selling L fares like penny candy, there was plenty of overbooking to go around. Now that tcons are in the $300+ range on even simple routings, the leisure folks are going to other carriers.

  6. @unavaca- You are right on the mark! I’m struggling to justify spending $100+ for a flight on UA metal when many other carriers are much lower. Heck, I just paid $205 for a flight from IAD-CLT on USAir where the same was $325 on UA. Doesn’t make sense……

  7. I was actually able to get a bump on a LAX-IAD flight in February, but then I have not experienced many offers in general for bumps in general on UA (but then thats partially because I’ve been working in Toronto a lot lately, where I will make the effort to get on an Air Canada flight because they have superior service, and decent legroom)

  8. I still think the sample sizes mentioned are too small. Receiving x number of bumps out of every twenty flights one year versus another is just statistically insignificant in my book given the total number of flights per year.

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