Greg Hamilton Greg Hamilton

Bumping pax: Don’t blame agents

Airlines appear to be overselling flights and blaming travel agents when passengers are bumped, according to the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ).

‘A number of our members’ clients have reported that on checking in for their international flight whilst abroad (ie in Europe and Asia), they have been told by check-in staff  “sorry but you do not have a seat as your travel agent has booked you on a stand-by ticket and we are full and can’t accommodate you”. In each case this has not been the actual situation,’ says TAANZ CEO Greg Hamilton.

‘The passengers have all had confirmed bookings. Rather, it appears that airlines are back into oversold mode, and check-in staff are using a convenient travel agent line as the easiest explanation, and possibly to negate airline responsibility.’

Hamilton says TAANZ has taken this issue up with the airlines involved and IATA.

He says agents should be aware of the possibility of this occurring and where possible lock in a seat selection early, as opposed to at check-in.

‘Perhaps encouraging your clients to lock-in their seat (often at a cost) is important in this under-supply / over demand market.

‘Suggest early check-in, not just for prevention of this issue but to avoid general airport challenges.

‘Ensure your clients have evidence of their firm (as opposed to waitlist) booking. And ensure they are clear that none of their sectors are waitlist – (ie don’t fall for this situation if it occurs). In general, if a client is the victim of an oversold flight, they should be compensated.’

Hamilton adds that if a client does report this situation to an agent, then it should be taken up vigorously with the airline and reported to TAANZ.

Related items