Forum: Airlines should explain how they decide which passengers are bumped off due to overbooking

I am heartened by Consumers Association of Singapore president Melvin Yong's call to review overbooking practices in the tourism sector (Case chief calls for review of overbooking practice in tourism, Sept 12).

In June, my Singapore Airlines flight was overbooked and I had to wait six hours at the airport for the next available one.

This occurred even though I had checked in online 48 hours before the scheduled departure, and arrived at the airport more than two hours before take-off.

It was reported that Singapore Airlines "will first ask for volunteers willing to give up their reservations in exchange for compensation agreed with the carrier" (Genting Dream passengers turned away: Why do cruises and airlines practise overbooking?, Sept 12).

This did not occur in my case. I was not given a choice on whether to give up my seat, and was told only at the check-in counter that the flight was full and I had to wait for the next one.

I was given cash compensation, but the long wait was exhausting and an entire day was wasted.

A fellow passenger on the same flight was also denied a seat. I do not think it was a coincidence that we were both travelling alone.

Conversations with friends seem to suggest that airlines have a tendency to bump solo travellers off overbooked flights.

If overbooking cannot be eliminated completely, then airlines should explain how they decide which passengers to bump off flights.

Oh Jen Jen (Dr)

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