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Please: don’t be seated

Sunday, 22 Sep, 2009 0

Air travel has become bumpier than ever — on the ground
 

Airline passengers are getting bumped from flights at the highest rate in more than a decade, experts say.
 

That’s the case even though the US Department of Transportation last year doubled the penalties paid passengers who have tickets but are denied seats.
 

“Among the reasons: Passengers are more reluctant to voluntarily give up seats when flights are oversold for fear of being stranded for a day or two. And some airlines have made their vouchers less generous to save money,” says the AP.
 

Bumping is still relatively rare, affecting fewer than two passengers out of every 10,000. But the rate at which passengers were bumped in the second quarter skyrocketed 40 percent compared with a year ago, and airlines say the higher rate will likely continue.
 

"It’s pretty simple: It’s just because planes are more full than last year," said Tom Trenga, vice president of revenue management at US Airways Group Inc. Inc., which had the highest bumping rate among major airlines, at 1.88 passengers per 10,000 in the second quarter.
 

This summer, the nine major airlines filled 85.5 percent of their seats, up from 84.1 percent last summer.
 

That means increased bumping will continue, Trenga said, until airlines see enough of a pickup in demand to begin bringing flights back into schedules, easing the logjam.
 

By David Wilkening
 

 

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