The Not So Friendly Skies “Know Your Airline Passenger Rights”


I travel frequently and know the basic rules the airlines impose when it comes to getting bumped. However, flights are over-sold on a regular basis and airline employees are trained to offer the lowest compensation possible at first to get passengers to give up their seats. They usually raise offers as more seats are needed to get their higher level travelers confirmed seats. For instance Lori Begley Bloom, a  travel  writer cashed her Delta seats in this week for whopping $11,000.  She wrote an article that just appeared in Forbes Magazine this week.  Click here to read more:

The skies haven’t been so friendly with United Airlines lately after the news broke about the airline forcibly removing a passenger with a confirmed seat on one of their flights this past Sunday.

The major news networks aired numerous videos  of a man being assaulted by airline security while sitting in his assigned seat.  The videos have since went viral on social media sites and drawing hundreds of millions of views around the world.  Millions of travelers have become outraged!  The videos show a man of asian decent being dragged off the plane while screaming and bleeding because he didn’t want to give up his seat for the $800.00 compensation offered by United.

My first question: “Why didn’t the airlines up the ante and offer more compensation? Why didn’t the airline supervisor on duty override the computer generated pick and ask the other passengers to give up their seats. Surely if they had upped the ante to $1300 instead of $800 someone would have volunteered.”

Think for a moment, the whole incident could have been avoided possibly for a mere $1300.  As a result China is now calling for a national boycott. Apparently, China has the second largest aviation market in the world and United claims that it “operates more nonstop US-China flights, and to more cities in China, than any other airline.” Wow!  that could be a huge blow financially. Note: United Airlines stock lost over half billion dollars this week as a result of the incident.

I just don’t get it. Who makes the decision to have an airline passenger forcibly removed from a confirmed seat anyway? Apparently, it’s all done by a random computer pick.

At times the airlines show little regard for their passengers when the human element is removed and operations are dictated by computer reliant dimwits that show no signs of human compassion whatsoever?

What do the rules actually say if someone is bumped from their seat by an airline?

According to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) the following rules may apply. (Although on smaller aircraft the rules differ slightly not in favor of the passenger.)

Know your rights for involuntary bumping

  • If you are bumped involuntarily and the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to get you to your final destination (including later connections) within one hour of your original scheduled arrival time, there is no compensation.
  • If the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to arrive at your destination between one and two hours after your original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to 200% of your one-way fare to your final destination that day, with a $650 maximum.
  • If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get you to your destination more than two hours later (four hours internationally), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles (400% of your one-way fare, $1300 maximum).
  • If your ticket does not show a fare (for example, a frequent-flyer award ticket or a ticket issued by a consolidator), your denied boarding compensation is based on the lowest cash, check or credit card payment charged for a ticket in the same class of service (e.g., coach, first class) on that flight.

Click this link to read more on the subject of being bumped on an airline.

The DOT Aviation Consumer Protection Division provides a more detailed explanation of consumer rights in the publication

Contributed by: Martin Allred

Interesting, after I posted this article yesterday I read about another incident with United Airlines here.

A passenger seated on another United flight this week was threatened with handcuffs to give up his seat.. read more about his story here.,amp.html

Just for fun, I couldn’t resist the logo below…





About chowjudge

Martin Allred is a professional photographer and frequent traveler. His organization Nationwide Photographers provides Professional Photography throughout the USA and Canada. Martin is a native of New Orleans and currently resides in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.
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