Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
The subject of overbooking has become rather popular over the last few days.
Instead, it was merely trying to get its own employees onto the now-infamous flight.
Still, every airline is now being scrutinized for its overbooking practices. All airlines do it. They're simply calculating the likelihood of every booked passenger actually turning up.
After all, there's no more pleasing profit than selling the same seat twice.
The latest airline to perform a seemingly baffling form of overbooking is Air Canada.
As the Globe and Mail reports, Brett Doyle says he bought tickets for his family last August. When he tried to check-in online in March, only three of his four family members were given a seat.
His 10-year-old was not.
He couldn't understand why. His wife drove to Charlottetown airport, only to be told that the flight was overbooked and her son was, oh, unlucky.
Doyle explained: "The agent told us that the plane only had 28 seats, but that 34 tickets had been sold. She said it was very unlikely that six people wouldn't show up for a flight over March break."
Naturally, the problem was now the Doyles'. They found another flight. That one was canceled. So they drove to Halifax, Nova Scotia and stayed in a hotel in order to get their connection to Costa Rica out of Montreal.
I contacted Air Canada to ask how this particular 10-year-old had been selected. I will update, should I get wind.
The airline did, however, offer this statement: "We are currently following up to understand what went wrong and have apologized to Mr. Doyle and his family as well as offered a very generous compensation to the family for their inconvenience."
Now about that compensation. Doyle claims that he tried several times to talk to Air Canada after the debacle, to no avail. He says that the airline only reacted when he went to the media.
He also says that the compensation he got still didn't cover the cost of the four tickets.
An airline's generosity can often be the equivalent of a loan shark's.
However loudly everyone ululates, overbooking will continue. It's isn't illegal.
Now, though, airlines know there will be more focus on how it is handled. United has already changed its bumping policy, so that any crew member wanting to muscle their way onto a flight has to turn up at the gate at least 60 minutes before departure.
With startling coincidence, Delta has just raised its maximum compensation limit for bumping to $9,500. It used to be $1,350.
So, still be prepared to be disappointed and even treated like the random number you are in the eyes of every airline.
Be also prepared that, at least for now, the airline might realize it has to treat you slightly more generously. Might.