Number of passengers booted from flights is lowest in 22 years

Enlarge this image

As a result, the rate of passengers being "bumped" from US airlines during the 2017 first half fell to 0.52 involuntary departures per 10,000 passengers, the lowest first-half rate since the US Department of Transportation (DOT) began collecting denied boarding (DB) data in 1995.

The rate was 29 percent lower than the same period a year earlier, when 62 customers per million were bumped, according to department.

During the 2017 second quarter, 0.44 passengers per 10,000 were subject to involuntary DBs, or 7,764 out of 177.1 million passengers, which was the lowest quarterly rate since the 2002 third quarter. Spirit Airlines had the highest rate of booting passengers, although Southwest Airlines, a much bigger carrier, bumped the most people, 2,642 in six months.

Airlines typically overbook flights because some passengers won't show up.

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.

USA politicians called airline executives to a hearing, warning they would consider regulatory action if the companies did not improve.

This is seen as a remarkable improvement after a passenger was forcibly dragged off a flight from Chicago in April. He was removed to make room for a flight crew member.

The passenger later reached an undisclosed settlement with the carrier. United's rate exactly matched in the industry average. 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.

The reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 76.2% in June 2017, down from the 78.0% rate in June 2016. Hawaiian Airlines had the best rate, at 90.4 percent, and JetBlue Airways was the worst, at 60.6 percent.

The number of passengers bumped involuntarily at United fell 88 percent in June when compared with the same month a year ago, according to the company's data.

Additionally, American Airlines also earned the title for the longest non-diversion tarmac delay in the month of June, with flight 1310 from New Orleans to Chicago June 14 sitting on the ground in Chicago for 214 minutes before making its way to a gate.

The steep decline in the rate of passenger bumping comes at a time that US 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.

Related News: