Data analysis from 2010 suggests all three carriers bump over seven of every 100,000 passengers
Flyers who are hoping to get to their destination quickly and without fully booked flights may want to consider not buying a ticket aboard Delta Air Lines, United Airlines or Southwest Airlines in the near future. The Chicago Tribune reports a recent data analysis suggests the two airlines bumped over seven flyers per 100,000 who board with the carrier.
The data comes from the Department of Transportation and was analyzed between 2010 and 2016. After reviewing the data for flyers voluntarily and involuntarily denied boarding, both Delta and Southwest had the most passengers bumped per total flyers. Delta lead the group with an average of 10.1 passengers bumped per 100,000 over the last six years, with United and Southwest virtually tied for second with just over seven passengers bumped per 100,000. The bump rate is over two-times more than smaller competitor JetBlue and low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines.
While passengers who get bumped are entitled to compensation, how that gets actualized is different. Those who are involuntarily bumped may receive a cash payout, while those who volunteer to leave often walk away with a travel voucher for their seat. For those who are willing to take a later flight, researchers believe volunteering for a bump may be the best way to survive a delay.
Both Delta and United offered defenses of their ticketing and boarding processes to the Tribune in light of the report. While United said bumping was “rarely” due to overbooking, Delta explained there was a delicate balance in how passengers are accommodated.
“Boarding flights is a delicate balance of filling available seats and meeting the needs of customers on the rare occasion when we do not accommodate them as originally scheduled,” Delta spokesperson Anthony Black told the Chicago Tribune.