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Airline bulls***

Photo on 2009-12-22 at 17.11 #2

I arrived at Laguardia Airport yesterday for my flight to Palm Beach Gardens. I’d booked my ticket months ago. Walk up to the Northwest counter, am told I don’t have a seat.

“Don’t have a seat?” I said.

“The flight’s been oversold,” I was told. “We might have to bump you for tomorrow morning. But you’d be able to fly first class.”

I was calm. I was cool. But inside, I was neither calm nor cool. I was pissed. Can someone here please, please, please explain to me why airlines are allowed to oversell their flights? It makes absolutely no sense; is a true abuse of the paying customer. Imagine making a dinner reservation, then showing up at the restaurant and being told that someone else got your table. Imagine booking a hotel for a week, then hearing, “Unfortunately, we overbooked the Hyatt tonight. But we can put you up at the Motel 6 for tonight, then bring you in tomorrow.”

Someone once said to me, “Well, the airlines worry about people not showing up, so they sell extra seats.” I call bulls***. Why does the airline get the upper-hand here? Why is the business allowed to screw the company? And heaven forbid I decide I want to cancel my already-paid-for ticket. There’s a $100 penalty here, a $50 penalty there.

Just infuriating.

I love to travel; love getting out of my Cosi corner and seeing the world.

But this is just wrong.

PS: The worst part—I feel terrible for the poor employees working behind the desk. The blond woman above is one of the nicest, most accommodating people I’ve ever met. In the center of a tornado, she was calm, cool, pleasant. And she found me a spot!