Bumping by airlines drops to record low

Dianna Christensen
August 10, 2017

In the second quarter, the percentage of passengers bumped from flights in the U.S. was the lowest since 1995, when the U.S. Department of Transportation started tracking overbooked flights.

Airlines reported mishandling 2.54 bags for every 1,000 passengers during the first six months of the year, which was lower than 2.65 for the same period a year earlier.

Those threats came after Dr. David Dao was dragged off of an oversold United Airlines flight in April. A recent Guardian article reports that airlines could save $35 billion a year if they got rid of pilots and flew fully automated planes, according to a report released by the investment bank UBS. That rate has since gone down for the second quarter of 2017 to 0.44 per 10,000 passengers.

Amid a series of onboard incidents that became fodder for viral videos, the nation's biggest airlines are bumping fewer passengers than ever. Only 42 passengers were involuntarily denied a flight in the quarter, compared to almost 800 a year ago. Besides instances in which airlines sell too many seats, passengers may get booted when a mechanical breakdown causes an airline to use a smaller aircraft, or when the plane's weight must be reduced for safe takeoff.

On April 9, a Vietnamese-American doctor was violently removed from his seat on an overbooked United Airlines flight by aviation policemen at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, to give seats to crew members, which sparked wide-spread criticism on social media.

United and Delta Airlines have both increased how much money gate agents can offer passengers to voluntarily give up their seat. "If the Department of Transportation won't hold the airlines to account for these practices, then Congress needs to step in and fix the problem".

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The transportation report also looked at things like on-time performance, cancellation and other incidents.

Cancellations: About 1 percent of scheduled domestic flights were canceled in June 2017, up from 1 percent in June 2016 and 0.8 percent in May.

The department has launched an airline passenger website to make it easy for travelers to understand their rights.

However, Southwest Airlines said in late April that it has made a decision to end the practice of overbooking flights, joining JetBlue, which has already done away with the practice.

An American Airlines flight from New Orleans to Chicago O'Hare International Airport on June 14 delayed 214 minutes on the tarmac at Chicago O'Hare, said the report.

Delta had the lowest rate among the big airlines, denying just 9 of every million. In addition, 1.09 percent of flights were canceled and 0.26 percent were diverted. June's incidents involved the death of one animal and injuries to two other animals.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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