Flight secrets: Why you NEVER want this code on your boarding pass – it’s not good news

Flight secrets: Why you NEVER want this code on your boarding pass – it’s not good news

Flights are booked with the full expectation that the passenger will be able to turn up, sit in their plane seat and jet off to their destination.

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Flights are booked with the full expectation that the passenger will be able to turn up, sit in their plane seat and jet off to their destination. However, an airline insider has revealed that sometimes this is not always the case. An Air Canada ticket agent has come forward to state there’s one code that passengers never want to find on their boarding pass. The code “GTE” on a boarding pass means that the flight has been oversold – and you do not have a seat.

The revelation was made by the former Air Canada worker to CBC after he decided to go public because he wanted the public to know how often staff need to find passengers’ seat when flights are oversold.

“If someone has GTE (for ‘gate’) on their boarding pass, it means they don’t have a seat,” the ticket agent worker told CBC. “I train people to dupe passengers.”

He added: “I really wasn’t able to tell people exactly what was going on and give them the full picture. They were strict about that. We’re trained to tell them that … they have nothing to worry about.”

The employee said he had to direct travellers to gates with the full knowledge that there was no seat waiting for them on the plane to avoid upsetting them.

The issue was the same whether fliers were travelling within Canada, to the US or overseas, the former Air Canada agent said.

He claims he quit the job because he could no longer deal with the stress of constantly lying to travellers.

Airlines are permitted to sell more plane tickets for a flight than there are seats in order to maximise revenues.

However, Air Canada has come under fire for being less transparent with its customers.

According to CBC, Air Canada says the practice of overselling is carefully managed, and employees are trained to be transparent with customers.

Passengers who have found themselves without a seat as a result of this code on their boarding pass took to Twitter to share their experience.

“I remember having a boarding pass with GTE on it. Had no idea what it meant,” one person tweeted.

“Waiting in the boarding area my name was called. Went to the gate rep, she took my pass, then gave one back with a seat number on it. Guess someone cancelled. I paid full fare but was really on stand-by.”

Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah disagreed with the allegations when contacted by CBC.

“Overselling… accounts for less than one per cent of passengers booked,” Mah said in an email.

The one per cent amounts to 510,000 tickets oversold, but Mah claimed only a fraction of that number ends in customers being denied boarding because “several million customers per year no-show.”

She said overselling is approved by the Canadian Transportation Agency and is a “common practice amongst many international network airlines to ensure the maximum number of seats are filled on a departing flight.”

Overselling “benefits customers by keeping fares lower” and allows the airline to operate less-travelled routes, Mah said.

Express.co.uk has contacted Air Canada for further comment on the practice of overselling.

For travellers intrigued by the codes on their boarding passes, this is what some others mean and whether they spell good or and news. 

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