Have you ever been said that you could not board on a flight even if you had bought the ticket? I happened to me once, even if in the end I could flight. Once I was doing the check-in online just if I was fling with low cost company and I had not other choices.
After having risk to loose a coincidence and not to spend one afternoon in my favourite city with my Ukrainian friends, I learn to confirm my presence on the flight as soon as I can. I was leaving Weissendorf and the mother of the children I was taking care picked me up to the airport. We left home 2 hours before the flight and she was reassuring me about the time. Numberg airport is soo small, you are not gonna have any problems. Sure, saved that at the boarding desk they told me the flight was full and there were no places for me. They told me to go at the gate and to hope somebody would not show up. Luckly that happened, but I waited until 5 minutes to the departure.
Why I am speaking about that? I have kind of forgot the world overbooking up to a few days ago, when I saw this video:
A passenger of United is litterally dragged off the plane, cause an overbooked flight. I would make a stand as well in his position: I am on a flight I paid for, why should I leave?
But yes, overbooking is like that, the last checked in is the one who has to leave. Being United I would leave behind one from the crew, instead of threat a passenger in that way. But every company decides how to behave and how to answer to their issue.
Why do the flighting companies use “overbooking” strategy? Money, of course. Lots of people every day run up into an hitch that makes them impossible to flight. Why to loose such a great easy way to double the profit and to sell one ticket more? Sure they have data and they are not guessing randomly how many people will not show up to flight. Every time an overbooking happens. The company will spend money to find the more convenient solution to solve the issue with less stress as possible for the customer. It is more convenient for them to buy a ticket from another company (if their following one is not suitable for the customer) or to pay back the passengers, than giving up using this strategy.
United case is slightly different: they threat the customer as a criminal and the video shared on YT damaged the company image. In those cases, the answer needs to be quickly and efficient. The United Airline CEO apologized and the policy has changed, but what to do when more than 4 million of people saw the video?