Southwest Vows To Stop Overbooking

by Jessica Montevago
Southwest Vows To Stop Overbooking

Photo: Ken Lund


Southwest Airlines last week vowed to put an end to the customer-unfriendly policy of overbooking flights before the month is out.

It joins JetBlue, whose CEO some time ago began phasing out the traditional airline habit of overbooking flights and bumping passengers, and United, which announced it will reduce overbooking in the wake of Flight 3411, although won't stop it outright. 

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told the Associated Press the carrier already was considering ending the practice, but “the issue gained more urgency” after the United incident. A Southwest spokesperson confirmed it could be implemented as soon as May 8.

Interestingly, while Southwest had the highest forced bumping rate among large U.S. carriers, taking nearly 15,000 passengers off planes in 2016, according to Transportation Department data, it still received the fewest number of complaints.  

“Better forecasting tools and a new reservations system coming online" in May will allow the airline to eliminate the use of overbooking, Southwest said.

United has modified its procedures since the incident as well, increasing customer compensation to up to $10,000 for voluntary denied boarding, and said it will no longer require customers already aboard a flight to give up their seats and will reduce the amount of overbooking.

Overbooking, a standard industry practice, allows airlines to sell more tickets than there are seats to make up the cost of no-show fliers. Federal aviation regulations require airlines to ask for volunteers before choosing someone to boot. Airlines often offer monetary compensation, though the amount is up to them, but they are mandated to pay passengers who do not arrive at their final destination within two hours of their original arrival time.

The issue of overbooking also is likely to be on the agenda on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks, as the House Transportation Committee holds hearings on the United incident to determine "what can be done to improve the flying experience." United’s CEO Oscar Munozhas been summoned to testify.

Reuters reported that its analysis of Department of Transportation data found that between 2010 and 2016, the largest U.S. airlines decreased the number of passengers they bumped by more than 42%, even as their number of occupied seats rose from 80.8% to 84%.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have said they do not plan to change their policies regarding overbooking.

  0
  0
Daily Top List

UK Cities Outside of London to Visit

1. Edinburgh

2. Glasgow

3. Newcastle

4. Cardiff

5. Bath

Source: HandLuggageOnly

 

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=46d9854c-8d33-e911-b4aa-782bcb66a2f2

Give a Heads-Up, Get a Leg-Up in Business

Harness your knowledge, share your tips, and leave your clients wondering what else you know that they don’t.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
U.K. Regional Airline Flybmi Ceases Operations, Blaming Brexit Fears
U.K.  Regional Airline Flybmi Ceases Operations, Blaming Brexit Fears

The announcement came as a surprise to the traveling public, as the airline had been promoting its trademark discount fares right up until its collapse.

Delta and EasyJet Join Italian Railway in Alitalia Rescue Plan
Delta and EasyJet Join Italian Railway in Alitalia Rescue Plan

Alitalia, which has been operating under the Italy's version of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, is engaged in discussions with low-cost carrier EasyJet.

Cape Town Turns Crisis into Opportunity
Cape Town Turns Crisis into Opportunity

The city wants to add its innovative handling of the water crisis of 2018 to its list of attractions.

Trafalgar Celebrates Ten Years of Its ‘Be My Guest’ Program
Trafalgar Celebrates Ten Years of Its ‘Be My Guest’ Program

Savings are being offered on Italy itineraries to mark where the program that pairs travelers with locals first began.

Interest in Travel to Cuba Is Up Again, Tour Operators Say
Interest in Travel to Cuba Is Up Again, Tour Operators Say

Survey respondents said they expect to see an increase in U.S. bookings this year.

Culture Sells Old World European Capitals in 2019
Culture Sells Old World European Capitals in 2019

Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria) have been crowned this year’s European Capitals of Culture, both of which are off-the-beaten-path destinations for travelers seeking historically significant cultural experiences.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Luxury Gold