Thursday, 19 October, 2017

Rate of People Bumped From Flights Plummets in Wake of United Incident

Airlines get the message Passengers bumped from flights drops to lowest level in decades US airlines making historic progress to reduce passenger bumping
Kelvin Reese | 10 August, 2017, 00:38

In the April-through-June quarter, the 12 biggest carriers reported denying passengers a seat at a rate of 0.44 fliers per 10,000 passengers, the lowest three-month rate since the U.S. Department of Transportation began tracking the data in 1995.

The Transportation Department said Tuesday that just one in every 19,000 passengers was kicked off an overbooked flight in the first six months of this year.

On April 9, passenger David Dao was injured while Chicago Department of Aviation police officers forcibly removed him from a United plane bound for Louisville, Ky.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released the numbers.

Southwest has the biggest decline, bumping about 1,500 fewer passengers in the second quarter than it did a year ago. The incident caused a PR fiasco for United and made other airlines review their policies for involuntary bumping or denied boarding.

Airlines have routinely overbooked flights for years in the expectation that some passengers won't show up.

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That somebody else would have been the federal government, with members of Congress threatening new rules and regulations to change how airlines booked and treated passengers. In the second quarter this year, for every million passengers, airlines bumped 44 people from scheduled flights.

"We all know that when airlines overbook they offer passengers incentives to volunteer to give up their seats; United should never have escalated the situation and should have offered sufficient incentives to avoid this awful outcome", National Consumers League executive director Sally Greenberg said in an April news release. Hawaiian Airlines had the best rate, at 90.4 percent, and JetBlue Airways was the worst, at 60.6 percent.

The department has launched an airline passenger website to make it easy for travelers to understand their rights. That was down from 79.1% in May and 78% in June 2016.

In June, airlines reported six tarmac delays of at least three hours on domestic flights - compared with 27 such delays in May.

The monthly report also covered a mixed record for mishandled bags, and a worse record for punctuality and cancellations in June.

Airlines were less punctual in June, with 76.2% of flights arriving within 15 minutes of their schedules. Alaska Airlines had the lowest rate of complaints. The three incidents compared to one report in May and six in June 2016. From January to June, the DOT received 9,026 consumer complaints, up nearly 8 percent from the total of 8,375 received during the first six months of 2016.

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