Tags: southwest airlines | overbooking | united

Southwest Airlines Overbooking Practice Ends After United Fiasco

Image: Southwest Airlines Overbooking Practice Ends After United Fiasco

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly speaks during the Airlines for America (A4A) Commercial Aviation Industry Summitt in Washington, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

By    |   Friday, 28 Apr 2017 02:27 PM

The Southwest Airlines chairman announced Thursday that it will end the practice of overbooking flights, a practice that led to a public relations disaster for United Airlines when it dragged off a passenger on one of its commercial airplanes this month.

Gary Kelly made the comments while talking about Southwest's quarterly earnings on CNBC. In the interview, Kelly was asked about the overbooking practice in light of the April 9 incident that led to security personnel dragging David Dao off a flight at Chicago O'Hare International Airport to make room for United staffers.

"The company has made the decision that we'll cease to overbook going forward," Kelly said on the show. "We've been taking steps over the last several years to prepare ourselves for this anyway. We never like to have a situation where we we’re oversold, which is a little different than the overbooking practice. At least for us, it will be something we will be discontinuing shortly."

The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday that a private settlement was reached between Dao, 69, and the airline. Dao reportedly suffered a concussion, broken nose and sinus injury while he was dragged from the plane by Chicago Aviation Department officers.

Kelly told CNBC that Southwest overbooked sparingly and there is not a hard-and-fast rule that is consistent with all airlines.

"I think that’s an airline-by-airline decision," Kelly said of its overbooking policy. "I'll speak for Southwest Airlines. We overbook very, very modestly today. The reason we overbook is to try to fill empty seats. To the extent we're able to do that, we're able to keep the rest of our fares lower."

The website TechCrunch reported that airlines overbook to make sure empty seats of no-show passengers are filled, which could range from 5 percent to 15 percent each flight.

TechCrunch said some 46,000 travelers were involuntarily bumped from flights in 2016 because of overbooking by airlines.

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The Southwest Airlines chairman announced Thursday that it will end the practice of overbooking flights, a practice that led to a public relations disaster for United Airlines when it dragged off a passenger on one of its commercial airplanes this month.
southwest airlines, overbooking, united
316
2017-27-28
Friday, 28 Apr 2017 02:27 PM
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