How airlines book hotels for passengers in distress
When I wrote about the big mistake that passengers make when they sleep at the airport, saying that the airline must provide them with a hotel as a result of a controlled flight delay or cancellation, I colloquially mentioned some problems with these hotels: airlines often book poor quality rooms it can be a struggle or a very long queue to get a booking (eats precious 1am sleep time when the rescheduled flight is at 6!), and sometimes these hotels even end up being overbooked.
A reader in the hospitality industry who owns real estate near an airport wants to make it clear that it’s not the airlines that overbook hotels during a flight problem and how each airline deals with such bookings.
- Airlines use a third party to find accommodation
- And they book in inventory that appears to be available, it is hotels that often provide misleading inventory which results in overbooking.
This is of course correct. He then offers “a brief overview of how most airlines provide hotel rooms (at least in the US).”
[United, American, Delta, Frontier, Alaska, Spirit, Air Canada, British Airways, and Volaris] – They use Travelliance’s StormX portal provided by TA Connections. Hotel owners can adjust soft or hard-locked inventory and rates in real time. It is they who must withdraw the specified inventory from the market for the general public. This can be done almost instantly.
[JetBlue] – Hard blocks of numbers through a company in New York called API.
[Sun Country] – passengers go to their room, compensation up to $199 (at least I know that in [a specific airport]). I assume the other stations on the SY line are similar.
[Southwest] – hard blocks, direct bill, net 30, usually payable within 24 hours of check-out.
American Airlines flight attendants complained that they were stuck at the airport, and the pilot was stuck in the lobby of the hotel. So you are not the only one experiencing problems getting accommodation from an airline that cancels or significantly delays a flight due to technical or crew issues.
But it’s also not the airline itself that’s looking for rooms – for passengers, or usually even for crew. And these systems do not always work well with hotels, sometimes it is an outsourcing provider, and sometimes hotels.