Stats: Bumped Passengers Down 29 Percent Since United Incident

Airplane cabin with passengers
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The number of passengers being bumped from flights has declined since an April incident in which a bloodied passenger was dragged from a United Airlines airplane prompted widespread outrage.

According to the latest Air Travel Consumer Report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, involuntary denied boardings (DBs) were down 29 percent, falling from .62 DBs per 10,000 passengers from April to June 2016 to 0.44 DBs per 10,000 passengers for the same period this year.

United Airlines was struck by controversy in early April when a passenger posted a video to social media showing a bloodied passenger being dragged from an overbooked Chicago to Louisville flight. The airline had called for volunteers to be voluntarily bumped from the flight after they were seated and, when there were not enough, selected four passengers at random. One man, a doctor who said he needed to see patients the next day, refused to leave, and was dragged from the plane by police officers.

The incident prompted the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) to call for expanded passenger protections, and eventually United Airlines laid out a 10-point plan to address backlash over the incident. Notable points included limiting the use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only and increasing the amount airline workers could offer bumped passengers to a maximum of $10,000. (The DOT statistics do not count passengers who take these incentives to take a later flight as DBs.)

DBs were down for the first half of the year as well, falling 16 percent from .62 DBs per 10,000 passengers from January to June 2016 to .52 DBs per 10,000 passengers for the same period this year. Heres how the major airlines stack up in terms of DBs for the first half of the year:

  1. Delta .10
  2. Hawaiian Airlines .14
  3. Alaska Airlines .40
  4. Virgin America .41
  5. United Airlines .44
  6. Frontier Airlines .48
  7. SkyWest Airlines .54
  8. American Airlines .65
  9. Southwest Airlines .68
  10. JetBlue .80
  11. ExpressJet .93
  12. Spirit Airlines 1.06

Source: DOT

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