Air­lines bump fewer f liers

The record low rates come af­ter highly pub­li­cized in­ci­dents of pas­sen­gers be­ing forced off flights.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Hugo Martin hugo.martin@la­ Twit­ter: @hugo­martin

The record low rates come af­ter highly pub­li­cized in­ci­dents of pas­sen­gers be­ing forced off f lights.

Amid a se­ries of on­board in­ci­dents that be­came fod­der for vi­ral videos, the na­tion’s big­gest air­lines are bump­ing fewer pas­sen­gers than ever.

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

The bump­ing rate for the first six months of the year was 0.52 per 10,000 pas­sen­gers, the low­est rate for any Jan­uary-through-June pe­riod since 1995, the DOT re­ported.

Fed­eral law al­lows air­lines to over­book flights to make up for pas­sen­gers who fail to show up to claim their seats.

But if an air­line mis­cal­cu­lates and ends up with more pas­sen­gers than seats, car­ri­ers can bump trav­el­ers as long as the air­lines re­book the trav­el­ers on an­other flight or of­fer fair com­pen­sa­tion.

The steep de­cline in the rate of passenger bump­ing comes as U.S. air­lines have taken heavy crit­i­cism for re­mov­ing fliers from over­booked flights, cre­at­ing on­board drama that has been video­taped and seen by mil­lions of view­ers on­line.

In April, Dr. David Dao was blood­ied as he was dragged from his seat af­ter re­fus­ing to give it up on a United Air­lines flight.

Later that month, a fam­ily fly­ing home from a Hawai­ian va­ca­tion was booted from a Delta Air Lines flight af­ter a dis­pute over seat­ing for a tod­dler.

In May, a fam­ily was re­moved from a JetBlue Air­ways flight to Las Ve­gas over an ar­gu­ment about where to store a birth­day cake on the plane.

In the wake of such in­ci­dents, South­west Air­lines promised to stop over­book­ing flights and United Air­lines said it would dra­mat­i­cally cut down on over­book­ing.

JetBlue said it has long had a pol­icy for­bid­ding over­book­ing.

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