Airlines invest to prevent overbooked flights
Following the ugly case of David Dao, the Kentucky doctor who was dragged from an overbooked United Airlines flight, the U.S. airline industry vowed to fix the problem of oversold planes.
Now some airlines seem to be backing up their promises with money.
The parent company of British Airways and the venture arms for JetBlue and Qantas recently offered $2.6 million in financing to an Atlanta-based startup that has created software designed to end the drama and frustration that comes from overbooked flights.
Volantio has created software that contacts passengers via a mobile device days prior to their flight to ask whether they would be willing to accept offers of upgrades, vouchers and frequent-flyer points to give up their seat in the case of overbooking. If the airlines need to unseat a passenger, the software automatically contacts those passengers willing to give up their seats and re-books them on a later flight.
Volantio’s software is already in use by Qantas, Iberia, Alaska Airlines, Volaris and several other carriers.