If you’re flying an airline that’s not Southwest, chances are you received a seat assignment when you purchased tickets. With your spot on the plane secure, it’s easy to forget to check in until arriving at the airport. But imagine running late and getting through the check-in line just to be told you don’t have a seat.
It might sound ludicrous: How could you not have a seat if you paid for one? But bumping is standard practice for most carriers.
Stacker collected information from the April 2022 Air Travel Consumer Report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation using data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to rank airlines based on how often they “bump,” or deny boarding, passengers. Passengers are bumped when the airline oversells a flight and shifts or compensates passengers afterward. The data covers the period from October through December 2021 with rankings based on the number of passengers involuntarily denied boarding per 10,000 passengers boarded.
For ties, the airline with a higher number of passengers boarded ranked lower. A passenger is considered voluntarily denied boarding if they gave up their seat on an oversold flight in exchange for compensation. This data includes U.S. airlines with at least 0.5% of total domestic scheduled-service passenger revenues, operating aircraft with more than 30 seats. Airlines in this report also include their branded codeshare partners. This section furnishes data on the number of passengers who hold confirmed reservations and are denied boarding (“bumped”) from a flight because it is oversold. These figures include only passengers whose oversold flight departs without them; they do not include passengers affected by canceled, delayed, or diverted flights.
Before reading on, some things to note: While not ranked on this metric, SkyWest Airlines had the highest rate of voluntary denied boardings, and Southwest Airlines had the highest absolute number of involuntary denied boardings.
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