Like Bubba Gump listing all the types of shrimp you can eat, it would take far too long to get into all the reasons that flights get oversold. Sometimes it’s greed, where airlines sell more seats than they have, but other times it’s simply that the flight beforehand got cancelled, and the airline now needs to free up seats. While this is a hassle for many, it’s now a great opportunity for others.
Air France has launched a system to tempt flyers into voluntarily solving their overcrowding problems, and they’re doing it with vouchers towards travel.
Could it work? It depends what’s the offer is.
“Swing” is the new system from Air France designed to automate the rebooking process for oversold flights, and with any hope, keep anyone from being denied boarding. The idea is that the airline will send you an email when and if they’re looking for someone to take a different flight, to free up a seat.
If you’re quick on the draw, you’ll be able to peruse the offer, which will quote an amount in Euros the airline is willing to pay to each passenger on the booking. If you accept, Air France will rebook your changed flights free of charge, and instantly credit you the amount offered. The voucher can then be used towards a free flight, upgrade, meals, or basically anything pertaining to Air France, KLM or HOP!
What’s cool here is that sometimes the flights you book aren’t the flights you really wanted. Maybe the flight you wanted was too expensive, but the one you didn’t was cheap. This gives travellers an opportunity to switch flights for free, if needed, and also get paid in the process.
The phenomenon of incentivising passengers to switch flights has been rampant in the USA, with offers sometimes reaching $10,000 in vouchers, but is a relatively new concept in Europe.
So how do you know if you’ll be offered some cash for a change?
Air France will email you. These offers will be pumped directly to passengers inboxes on a need basis, so as always, be sure to include the best contact info to get a hold of you. After all, there could be better flights – and Euros – waiting…