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Airline Bumping Rate Drops to Lowest Levels in Decades After United Incident

The rate of bumping between January and June of 2017 was 0.52 per 10,000 passengers, down from 0.62 for the same period in 2016.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:August 10, 2017, 10:01 AM IST
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Airline Bumping Rate Drops to Lowest Levels in Decades After United Incident
Bumping rates have dropped in the US, according to new stats. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ istock.com/ Mie Ahmt)
Airline bumping rates in the US have dropped to their lowest level since 1995, marking a positive turn in what's been a particularly turbulent year for the flying public.

According to the latest statistics released by the US Department of Transportation, the rate of bumping between January and June of 2017 was 0.52 per 10,000 passengers, down from 0.62 for the same period in 2016, and the lowest rate posted since 1995.

Statistics are for the 12 US carriers who report involuntary denied boarding or bumping.

Carriers also posed a bumping rate of 0.44 per 10,000 passengers for the second quarter of 2017, likewise marking the lowest quarterly rate since 1995.

The decline in bumping could be explained by the fallout from the infamous removal of a passenger aboard a United Airlines flight in the same quarter.

In April, footage of UA passenger Dr. David Dao being forcefully and brutally removed from his seat went viral around the world, bringing to light the widespread practice of bumping, denied boarding and overbooked flights within the industry.

Airport security officers wrenched the man so violently out of his seat that Dao hit his head against the armrest across the aisle, which knocked off his glasses and burst open his lip.

The outrage prompted airlines like Southwest to stop the practice of overbooking flights. JetBlue reaffirmed their no-overselling policy, and the incident was seen as a cautionary tale for fellow airlines.

Canada also introduced new legislation in their passenger bill of rights, banning airlines from bumping paying passengers from flights against their will.

Meanwhile, the latest edition of the air travel consumer report also showed that complaints about airline service spiked to 9,026 between January and June, up eight percent from 8,375 from 2016.
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