Seeing the words “Sold Out” against a flight is very unexpected right now. Nobody is travelling, so unless a whole passel of people suddenly decided to travel, how could this be so? Well, it turns out the airline is limiting bookings.
This surprised me somewhat, as I have read first hand reports online of some flights that are quite full. No doubt the restriction on passenger numbers is to ensure a good level of social distancing on board. Surprising though!
Sold Out? No, Limiting Bookings
Aer Lingus sent me an advertising e-mail earlier today. On it are destinations in France and Italy, on sale for travel through to 31 October. Since one of the places on the list is where I’m heading, I went to the web site to see if the flight was much cheaper than what I paid.
When the search results appeared, the day I am flying is listed as Sold Out. Naturally, my first reaction was, “Oh, they’re not flying that day now – reduced schedule perhaps”. Rather than moving my flight to the day before, I thought I’d give them a call.
After exactly zero waiting time, the representative confirmed my details and advised the flight is still operating. When I mentioned it was sold out, he replied, “Yes, the number of bookings is being limited so there are no more seats for sale”.
I was assured the flight is still operating and that I don’t need to change. Aer Lingus did cop a lot of flack back in May when a Belfast to London Heathrow flight was reported to be almost full. Therefore perhaps it’s not too surprising numbers are being limited now. But to what level? I am curious. 50 passengers? 100? I guess I’ll find out on flight day.
Limiting bookings makes sense to avoid any kind of backlash in the media. Considering most services are going out under half full anyway, I daresay not many flights even reach the new limit.
Even so, it is an interesting thing. I would have expected the airlines to take everyone they can get. The fact it’s not even being promoted as a safety feature on social media by the airline is surprising too. Who knows, perhaps the rep lied to me and I’ll find out my flight is cancelled further down the line.
What do you think of airlines limiting bookings? Know anyone else who is doing it? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image via Aer Lingus.