There are no regular no-shows any longer. And watch this space:
Most airline employees fly standby. They don't pay full-fare and, if they're crew, they don't pay at all. This is a perq of being an airline employee and most of the crew and stewards I know use it a lot. So when American says it needed to get crew to Louisville...
...I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they weren't even essential personnel. Because really? if United really needed to drag a doctor off the plane to make room for crew, that's United saying "we aren't just overbooking, we're cutting into our overbook margin to cover our staffing shortfalls." And if they were doing that regularly they'd have procedures. They'd have policies. And most importantly? They have reciprocity with just about every other carrier. There's an American that takes off an hour later. Shit, linear will put you in a learjet for $1k per person. This is me, looking this up as a consumer, on fucking Kayak.
I think somebody fucked up BIG at United and they're flat-footedly trying to figure out how to differentiate their typical neutral-evil behavior from their current chaotic-evil move.