People, Travel

Overbooked UK Airlines Bump 50,000 Passengers p.a.

Overbooked UK Airlines Bump 50,000 Passengers p.a.Overbooked UK Airlines Bump 50,000 Passengers p.a.

Around 50,000 airline passengers a year are bumped off British flights, many of which have been deliberately overbooked, according to the aviation watchdog.

Paying customers can be forced to abandon a pre-booked journey under the practice, which aims to slash costs and promote greener travel, The Independent reported.

Global outrage was provoked when footage surfaced of a Chinese-American doctor being violently manhandled off an overbooked United Airlines flight, leaving him bloodied.

Data from Britain's Civil Aviation Authority showed an average of 0.02% of passengers traveling to or from the UK experienced so-called denied boarding in 2015, equivalent to more than 50,000 people.

The CAA said in a report: “The main reasons airlines denied boarding were due to overbooking or having to bring in a smaller aircraft than planned to operate a flight.”

Many airlines operating at British airports overbook to mitigate the losses made when passengers cancel or fail to show up for their seats.

Overbooking is also said to spell cheaper fares for travelers and less fuel waste from planes, according to an expert.

When too many passengers show up, airline staff will ask, conventionally before boarding, if they are any willing to surrender their seat in exchange for a so-called “bump” offer.

Such incentives, which are often increased until there are enough volunteers, can include cash, a night in a hotel or an upgraded replacement flight, travel writer Simon Calder said.

He told the Press Association: “Overbooking is a benign practice in general. When it is done properly, it is a win-win for everybody involved" as the airlines end up operating full flights and bumped passengers end up making more money on the deal than they paid on the flight in the first place."

If volunteers do not materialize, however, customers face being randomly selected to leave the flight.


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