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Scandals aside, airlines actually don't bump that many people off flights

10 August 2017

In the April-through-June quarter, the 12 biggest carriers reported denying passengers a seat at a rate of 0.44 fliers per 10,000 passengers, the lowest three-month rate since the U.S. Department of Transportation began tracking the data in 1995.

Just one in 19,000 passengers was bumped from their flight in the period between January and June this year, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released the numbers. The rate goes even lower for this year's second quarter:.44 per 10,000 passengers. The incident caused a PR fiasco for United and made other airlines review their policies for involuntary bumping or denied boarding. The rate reflects 17,330 passengers involuntarily denied boarding out of 332,415,301. In April, a video showing a passenger being violently dragged off a United Airlines flight sparked outrage and highlighted the airline industry's controversial practice of overbooking flights.

Since then, United and other large USA airlines have introduced new measures to reduce overbooking, and raised the maximum amount that passengers can be offered to give up a seat. "If the Department of Transportation won't hold the airlines to account for these practices, then Congress needs to step in and fix the problem". The department said 76.2 percent of flights in June arrived on time, down from 78.0 percent in June 2016.

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Travelers were least likely to be bumped on JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

The department has launched an airline passenger website to make it easy for travelers to understand their rights.

An American Airlines flight from New Orleans to Chicago O'Hare International Airport on June 14 delayed 214 minutes on the tarmac at Chicago O'Hare, said the report.

Airlines also reported a lower rate of mishandled baggage - 2.65 reports per 1,000 passengers in June, down from June 2016's rate of 2.82.

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Hawaiian Airlines had the best rating among the 12 largest USA airlines, and JetBlue Airways had the worst rate - two of every five flights arrived late. Delta, Hawaiian and Frontier had the lowest cancellation rates.

Cancellations averaged 1.1% of domestic flights in June, which was more than the 0.8% rate in May and the 1% rate for the same month a year earlier.

Incidents involving animals: In June, there were three incidents involving the death, injury or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from the six reports filed in June of previous year, but up from the one report filed in May. From January to June, the DOT received 9,026 consumer complaints, up nearly 8 percent from the total of 8,375 received during the first six months of 2016.

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Scandals aside, airlines actually don't bump that many people off flights