by Mark Albert
Airlines have apparently been shamed into action.
Almost immediately after a video of a bloodied doctor being dragged off a United-marketed flight in Chicago went viral, U.S. airlines sharply reduced the practice of bumping passengers off full flights.
The latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation show involuntary denied boarding, otherwise known as bumping, dropped to the latest level since at least 1995, when the DOT began tracking it.
Bumping Falls to Record-Low
In the first six months of 2017, the top 12 U.S. airlines denied boarding to 17,330 passengers, a drop of 13.9% in total numbers compared to the first half of 2016, and a 16% decline per 100,000 travelers.
The reduction was even sharper in the three months after the video of Dr. David Dao went viral and major airlines overhauled how they implement denied boarding and greatly increased the total compensation possible to bumped passengers.
The rate of passengers involuntarily bumped per 100,000 nose-dived 29% for the April-June 2017 period compared to the same three months of 2016, USDOT figures showed.
Southwest bumped the most passengers from January to June, denying boarding to 5,179 travelers.
Flyers were most likely to get bumped on Spirit Airlines, which had the highest rate of bumping per 10,000 passengers at 1.06, the same as in the first six months of 2016.