Airlines’ Involuntary Bump Rates Are Dropping

Nov 18, 2017

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Getting bumped from a flight can be very lucrative for a passenger when it’s voluntary. Delta shelled out $4,000 to one passenger willing to catch a flight only nine hours later, while United now asks travelers to name their price.

Sounds pretty sweet. But lately, the need for bumping has declined — both voluntary and involuntary.

According to Reuters, a report released on Thursday from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reveals that airlines in the United States are not having to bump as many passengers on overbooked flights as they were during the same time period last year. The numbers show the rate of involuntary passenger bumping among the 12 largest U.S. carriers “fell to 0.15 per 10,000 passengers in the three months ended Sept. 30 — the lowest quarterly rate dating back to 1995.”

As for those who are willing to give up a seat to score some extra cash? Reuters reports voluntary bumping is on the decline, too. The total number of passengers bumped fell from 114,119 to 74,358 compared to the same three-month period this time last year.

These recent findings most likely stem from the United incident involving Dr. David Dao, the passenger who was dragged down the aisle of a plane in Chicago after refusing to give up his seat on an overbooked flight back in April.

United later began offering as much as $10,000 for passengers to voluntarily give up their seats while cutting down the “involuntarily bumping rate by more than 90 percent.”

Other airlines have followed suit including Delta, who not only offers a staggering maximum incentive of $9,950, but according to the DOT report had the lowest bump rate of its competitors, from 306 passengers (from this period last year) down to just 29 in the three months ending September 30.

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