Bumping by airlines drops to record low


Just one in 19,000 passengers was bumped from their flight in the period between January and June this year, the Associated Press reported.

The incident drew attention to the common airline practice of "overbooking" flights and led United and two other major carriers to change their policies on how passengers are involuntarily denied boarding on flights.

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.

The rate drop comes after several highly publicized airline scandals.

Airlines also reported a lower rate of mishandled baggage - 2.65 reports per 1,000 passengers in June, down from June 2016's rate of 2.82. But surprisingly, the Dao incident - an egregious example of airline bumping - was already exceedingly rare and is becoming more so by the month.

Kaplan said the changes in policies are far better for passengers and airlines. United booted 1,964 passengers in the first six months of 2017, with more in the second quarter than the first.

Those threats came after Dr. David Dao was dragged off of an oversold United Airlines flight in April.

Since an infamous incident this April, airlines have increased compensation to customers denied a seat and have also made other policy changes.

The most cancellations were at Spirit, JetBlue and ExpressJet. That was down from 79.1% in May and 78% in June 2016.

Hawaiian Airlines had the best rating among the 12 largest US airlines, and JetBlue Airways had the worst rate " two of every five flights arrived late. 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.

Sorensen said carriers moved more quickly on this issue than on the issue of planes being stuck on airport tarmacs after bad weather, which continued to occur for years and prompted new regulations that imposed large fines on carriers. Previously, the lowest quarterly rate was 50 per million from July to September 2002. When it comes to involuntary bumping, one right passengers have is, "DOT requires each airline to give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets bumped".