United Airlines has had a rough few weeks.
And yet, the days of overbooked commercial flights are likely here to stay. So what’s an airline to do? When crew must get from A to B and all the seats are filled with paying passengers, the options are often limited.
United Airlines recently offered four passengers $800 each – $3,200 in total – to give up their seats on a Louisville, Kentucky-bound flight and be re-booked on another flight. No one accepted the offer, and that’s when things turned ugly.
Why? Because that is how painful airline travel has become.
I’ve been in that situation. I’d hazard a guess many of us have been.
My thought is always, “I need to get where I’m going. If I accept the airline’s offer, who know when I’ll get where I need to be.” The risk isn’t worth the reward.
That’s where the lighter end of aviation could’ve helped avoid the situation.
“For the amount United was willing to compensate their four passengers to make room for their team members, they could have booked travel for this entire crew through FlyOtto.com,” said co-founder Rod Rakic. “We could have booked a comfortable Piper Meridian for just $2,930, with a pick up from Chicago Executive Airport going straight into Louisville International Airport.”To make the use of FlyOtto more palatable, the first time anyway, Rakic is offering the “next time United is in a jam like this, we are happy to provide this service to them at no charge, to demonstrate better alternates for repositioning crews, or helping their customers get to where they are going.”
That’s mighty generous Rod, but I imagine you’ll charge United real money for future flights.
Which is where it gets difficult for FlyOtto. $3,200 in travel vouchers don’t cost United Airlines $3,200. To book a flight on FlyOtto will cost UAL real money, at least for second and follow-on trips.
It is often said, we don’t know what we don’t know. And in this case, UAL brass likely didn’t know FlyOtto was a viable option for crew “re-accomodating.”
While I’d love to believe that FlyOtto – and other charter operators for that matter – will appear on United’s radar, I won’t hold my breath.
But if you have a business that needs supplemental travel, FlyOtto is something you should take a look at. It is likely you won’t be forcibly “re-accomodated.”