No shows have been huge throughout the pandemic, which is odd, especially during challenging economic times you’d think people would cancel their trips to retain flight credit.
Airlines have been cancelling trips at the last minute, too, though that’s died down. By cancelling last minute they didn’t have to refund passengers. Now there aren’t nearly as many passengers to refund – most tickets are purchased within 90 days of travel, so cancelling a flight four months into the pandemic doesn’t have the same economic cost to an airline.
Interestingly one airline is doing something about no shows, by taking a detour to the past. For tickets booked before June 10, for travel July 1 – September 15, passengers have to contact Emirates to reconfirm their flight 21 days prior to departure. (Bookings made through travel agents should be reconfirmed by the agent.)
As a kid growing up I recall the practice of ‘reconfirming’ reservations. When tickets were refundable they might have far more passengers booking than would actually travel. Overbooking was a much bigger problem 50 years ago than it is in recent years, even though it garnered much more attention post-David Dao.
The Supreme Court actually weighed in on overbooking, noting how rare it had become because the airlines had become adept at handling it, in 1976 (Nader v. Allegheny Airlines, Inc., 426 U.S. 290).
Over the last two or three decades it’s been common to hear that no re-confirmation is required and this coincided with the rise of non-refundable tickets. Everything old, it seems, is new again.
(HT: Loyalty Lobby)