posted at 4:06 pm on April 21, 2009 by Tanya
Could any other company do business the way airlines do business? They’re willing to sell you something that they don’t have, can’t provide, and know with absolute certainty they can’t give you. Not just promise it to you, but charge your credit card for the full price.
I always buy non-stop plane tickets, when possible, because I know full well that the flights will be overbooked (because they always are). Personally, I think it’s worth the extra hundred bucks to be stranded in either my originating or destination city — rather than Detroit or DFW or somewhere, trying to sleep across three plastic chairs without getting my carry-on stolen.
But that doesn’t negate the fact that the airlines are selling you a ticket for a flight that they know you’ll never take. And that extra money you paid for the non-stop flight? You’ll be lucky to have less than three stops on the flight you finally get, two days later.
It’s like if you went car shopping, did your research, and decided on a Honda. So you do your negotiating, decide on a price, give them your financing paperwork, and write a check for the balance. After all this, you’re about to drive it off the lot, and the salesman laughs, “Hahaha. No, no. Just kidding. You can’t have that car. We already sold it to someone else.”
“But,” he says, “you can go across the street to that Fold dealership. They agreed to give you an old Pinto that’s been on their lot for a while. You can pick it up next Tuesday. Oh, and the air conditioning doesn’t work.”
Seriously, could that happen in any industry other than air travel?