After more than two years of border restrictions, Singaporeans are travelling with a vengeance. While the demand has been surging, supply chain issues show that the travel industry has yet to catch up in terms of services and delivery. The latest imbroglio is over the industry practice of overbooking. More than 100 customers were affected earlier this month when the Genting Dream cruise ship could not accommodate passengers due to overbooking. Overbooked flights too have resulted in delays for travellers who were informed only at the last minute that they could not board their scheduled flights. Travellers who have taken leave, paid for their tickets and planned family getaways are understandably upset. Last-minute disruptions to well-laid travel plans are unwelcome, to say nothing of the hassle for business travellers who might have tight schedules and important meetings.
With complaints on the rise, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) has called for a review to protect consumers. Singapore, unlike some countries, does not regulate the practice and there are no guidelines for how consumers should be compensated when they get bumped off flights and cruises. Some regulation would offer consumers peace of mind as well as ensure that airlines and cruise companies exercise due diligence in their business practices. But regulations take time to put together and enforce.