What is Overbooking

Imagine you have spent months saving, researching, planning and above all, buying everything in advance to live a dream vacation, when suddenly you arrive at the airport and you are told that your flight is ” overbooked “. Many of us have gone through this problem because it is more common than it should be.

Overbooking is a very common practice among airlines, which consists of selling more seats than the aircraft has room for, in order to fill to the maximum capacity in case someone does not show up, misses his/her flight or cancels. This practice, in a nutshell, is meant to avoid empty seats on a plane.

According to the International Air Transport Association, this helps to keep costs and fares lower, which ultimately benefits consumers.¹ However, as travelers we have obligations and rights that protect us in case we have to deal with this experience, because when we buy a ticket the airline signs a contract with us to fulfill services that have been paid for on our end.

If unfortunately, we find ourselves in this situation, we have the right to request the following from the airline staff:

– Another plane ticket on the next available flight, as well as necessary food in case the wait is prolonged.

– In case the flight has to be rescheduled for the next day, the airline must provide accommodations, transportation and food to those affected.

– Refund in full the price of the airplane ticket purchased

– Indemnify the passenger for the effects that this may bring (the percentage will depend on each airline)

Keep in mind that all these details are specified at the time of purchasing your plane ticket, so it is extremely important that you read all the documentation before accepting to buy a plane ticket, in addition, many airlines will not negotiate any of the points above if your ticket was purchased with a discount fare.

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