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Airlines Are Bumping Fewer Passengers


Amid a series of recent incidents that gained publicity and sparked outrage, U.S. airlines are bumping passengers at the lowest rate in at least two decades.

In its August 2017 Air Travel Consumer Report, the U.S. Department of Transportation or DOT noted that in the second quarter of 2017, twelve U.S. carriers reported denying passengers a seat at a rate of 0.44 per 10,000 passengers.

This is the lowest quarterly rate based on historical data dating back to 1995 and is also down from the rate of 0.62 posted in both the year-ago quarter as well as the preceding first quarter of 2017.

For the first six months of this year, the twelve carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.52 per 10,000 passengers. This is the lowest January through June rate based on historical data dating back to 1995 and down from the rate of 0.62 posted during the same period last year.

Recent bumping incidents have sparked outrage on social media. In April, a video showing a passenger being violently dragged off a United Airlines flight sparked outrage and highlighted the airline industry's controversial practice of overbooking flights.

In yet another incident, United Airlines bumped an engaged couple from a flight on their journey for their marriage, while a ten-year-old boy was bumped off an overbooked Air Canada flight in April.

Overbooking of flights is a standard practice adopted by the airline industry in which they sell more tickets than the actual seats or capacity on a flight, in anticipation of cancellations.

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

United Airlines has said it will no longer allow its crew members to take the place of passengers who have already boarded overbooked flights.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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