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Southwest Airlines Vowed Not to Overbook Flights. What It's Doing Now Is Far Worse

The company's policies provide a vital lesson about how not to treat your customers if you want to hold on to them. Airlines are struggling to stay afloat, even as air travel soars. They're doing whatever they can to maximize revenue with every flight. Many are going to one of the oldest tricks in the book: Overbooking flights. It's a gamble that generally pays off. But when it doesn't, Southwest Airlines upholds its title as America's least reliable airline while also… ( More...

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vermaas 19
I have flown Southwest a lot in the past year, and had one cancelled flight but never a downgrade of an -800 to a -700. I am not sure whether the article makes it a much bigger problem than it actually is...
April Hill 13
"Airlines are struggling to stay afloat"... knew the article wasn't worth reading after the second sentence.
Julie Parnell 9
Are there really that many people out there who miss their confirmed flights on a daily basis? Like seriously? 30% of seats on average? Just think about that for a second… if each major airline flight had a 30% over-booking for no-shows, for every single flight, that is an amazing amount of irresponsible or incompetent people who book flights! Who is the problem here? Southwest for trying to cover their butt or customers who can’t seem to catch their flights on time?
Highflyer1950 5
The airlines have historic records that show which flights get no-showed the most and based on that info they overbook those particular flights, generally by the no- show percentage. I used to see certain flights that never went out empty and nobody was left behind however, I also witnessed many flights that showed full the night before and left with 30 open seats in the morning. They were typically destinations the airline served 3 or 4 flight times a day. Other issues like weather or mechanical breakdowns affect the daily schedules with a knock on effect which is why travel in the early usually is the best. And yes, if you watch any airline operation long enough you would be amazed at how many rude, inconsiderate, self centered immature travellers are present every single day. There were happier times but it seems people are just angry at everything these days.
Gary Eldridge 9
I flew a SWA flight a few weeks ago that was oversold so they asked for a couple volunteers to bump off. They offered another later flight PLUS $1500. You should have seen the crowd scramble to the gate desk upon that announcement.
MSU Sparty 8
This.”aviation writer” is truly a keyboard warrior who has it out for Southwest. She does continue to fly them. Slow news day so she resorted to click bait and very slanted writing.
Greg Mermel 3
Garbage journalism, and ill-researched.

According to Airfleets, WN has 435 active 700s, and 285 active 800s/Max8s. At 40% of the fleet, the 175-seaters can scarcely be called "standard." As a WN regular, I've seen 800s subbed in for 700s several times, but never the other way round.

As for reliability, based on Brett Snyder's recent Cranky Flier posts, they're near the top on completion percentage, though well below the other carriers on A14 arrivals. Those statistics are somewhat interdependent.
k1121j 3
I fly often and almost exclusively on American. Flying both long haul and regional flights this has not happened to me in the last 6 years. On flights that I book 11 months in advance I do often have a rescheduled departure / arrival of a few hours. Ill stick with American Airlines.
paul trubits 10
That is not the experience that most people flying AA have experienced especially if you have to take one of their "feeder" carriers. SWA is struggling, but they are still far superior to AA
Mike Boote 2
I remember a SWA gate agent in Los Angeles once told me they overbook their flights by an average of 30 seats per flight, and that was when their planes held typically 130 passengers. I thought that was very high, but I thought they must have stats to back that up. As a business traveler I avoided SWA since they have no interline agreements and it was just too easy to get stranded and I had contracts to fulfill.
Highflyer1950 5
The travelling public is the reason for overbooking flights….nobody else. People just continue to No-Show their confirmed flights and the airlines pay the price, especially when you need load factors of at least 72% to break even today. If everyone showed up, everyone would fly……..circumstances as sickness (Dr’s Certificate) accident (police report) cancelled vacation (note from Employer) gets you a full refund. Sleeping in, forgot, transportation issues…not the airlines fault. They don’t hold buses, trains or ships & airlines are no different. Now if a down gauge in equipment, the Airlines should be bending over backwards to get you where you need to go.
srobak 2
this is crap. no-show still paid for their ticket, and even with trip insurance there are very few legitimate reasons the passenger