After backlash, fewer passengers are being bumped from US airlines

Airplane

Following widespread outrage over a passenger who has violently dragged off an overbooked plane, US airlines are bumping customers at the lowest rate in at least two decades.

The Transportation Department said today that just one in every 19,000 passengers was kicked off an overbooked flight in the first six months of this year.

That’s the lowest rate since the government started keeping track in 1995.

The biggest decline took place between April and June, partly because airlines began paying many more passengers to give up their seats.

Airlines have routinely overbooked flights for years in the expectation that some passengers won’t show up. When a flight is overbooked, airlines typically offer travel vouchers to encourage a few passengers to take a later flight.

That practice backfired in April when United employees, whose offers of vouchers were ignored, asked Chicago airport officers to help remove four people from a United Express flight to make room for airline employees commuting to their next flight.

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