United States airlines are bumping passengers at historically low rates

Airplane cabin with passengers

Airline bumping rate in US lowest after Chicago airport incident

In its August 2017 Air Travel Consumer Report, the U.S. Department of Transportation or DOT noted that in the second quarter of 2017, twelve U.S. carriers reported denying passengers a seat at a rate of 0.44 per 10,000 passengers.

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

United apologized repeatedly for the incident and reached a settlement with the passenger, David Dao.

The Transportation Department issued the latest numbers of bumped passengers as it released its monthly report card on airline performance. That passenger bump rate was down 29 percent compared to the same time a year ago.

United Airlines has said it will no longer allow its crew members to take the place of passengers who have already boarded overbooked flights.

The website also states that airlines still have a legal right to involuntarily bump or deny boarding to passengers and "it is the airline's responsibility to determine its own fair boarding priorities". More than 177 million passengers flew on the 12 largest airlines during the most recent three months.

Hawaiian Airlines ranked at the top for bumping the fewest passengers off planes and ranked No. 1 for having the best on-time performance for its flights.

But in the wake of the April incident, United announced changes in its procedure, including offering more money to passengers on overbooked flights to encourage volunteers to give up their seats.

Congress held hearings about the incident and threatened legislation.

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

The monthly report also covered a mixed record for mishandled bags, and a worse record for punctuality and cancellations in June.

Hawaiian Airlines had the best rating among the 12 largest US airlines, and JetBlue Airways had the worst rate - two of every five flights arrived late. Of all carriers, Spirit Airlines had the highest rate of cancellations, while Delta had the lowest. In addition, 1.09 percent of flights were canceled and 0.26 percent were diverted. Alaska Airlines had the lowest rate of complaints.

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. The three incidents compared to one report in May and six in June 2016.

Consumer complaints about USA airlines ticked up 3 percent to 1,115 in June. The 9,026 complaints during the first six months of the year was up 7.8% from the 8,375 during the same period a year earlier.

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