In a First, Delta Did Not Involuntarily Bump a Single Flyer Last Quarter

Jul 11, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

During the height of the busy spring travel season, Delta Air Lines didn’t involuntarily bump a single passenger.

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian singled out the milestone Thursday during the company’s quarterly earnings call, saying it marked a first for the Atlanta-based carrier.

Bumpings, technically “involuntary denied boardings” in aviation parlance, is high on the list of travel nightmares for most passengers. As Delta aims to distinguish itself as a customer-focused airline, the achievement was important enough for Bastian to mention in his opening remarks.

What makes the statistic all the more noteworthy is it coincides with high load factors for the airline. Delta has seen a spike in ridership so far this year as some of its competitors struggle to fill gaps in their schedules resulting from the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX.

Airlines across the board have become more aggressive in trying to appease travelers following the 2017 PR nightmare of Dr. David Dao being dragged off a United Express flight in Chicago.

In the wake of that incident, a number of airlines raised their limit for how much gate agents could offer to entice flyers on overbooked planes to take another flight. Some carriers, including Delta, now allow agents to offer up to $10,000 per passenger, though offers like that are exceedingly rare.

The announcement Bastian made Thursday shows how generous compensation —  largely in the form of future flight credits —  can be extremely effective in convincing passengers on oversold flights to volunteer to change their travel plans. It also underscores how reliable Delta’s operation has become in recent years.

Delta’s achievement also comes as American Airlines, the world’s largest passenger carrier, is facing something of a reliability crisis. It has had to cancel flights amid the MAX grounding, and an ongoing contract dispute with its mechanics has led to a rolling series of last minute delays and cancellations as aircraft are taken out of service with little warning.

Featured photo by Patrick T. Fallon/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.