Airline bumping rate in United States lowest after Chicago airport incident

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In its August 2017 Air Travel Consumer Report, the U.S. Department of Transportation or DOT noted that in the second quarter of 2017, twelve U.S. carriers reported denying passengers a seat at a rate of 0.44 per 10,000 passengers.

That practice backfired in April when United employees, whose offers of vouchers were ignored, asked Chicago airport officers to help remove four people from a United Express flight to make room for airline employees commuting to their next flight.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released the numbers. United booted 1,964 passengers in the first six months of 2017, with more in the second quarter than the first.

United Airlines has said it will no longer allow its crew members to take the place of passengers who have already boarded overbooked flights.

During the first six months of 2017, the rate of 52 boots per million passengers was also the lowest recorded for a January-through-June rate since 1995, according to the department.

The number of airline passengers bumped from a flight hit a record low in the wake of the United Airlines debacle in April.

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"We all know that when airlines overbook they offer passengers incentives to volunteer to give up their seats; United should never have escalated the situation and should have offered sufficient incentives to avoid this bad outcome", National Consumers League executive director Sally Greenberg said in an April news release. "If the Department of Transportation won't hold the airlines to account for these practices, then Congress needs to step in and fix the problem". Previously, the lowest quarterly rate was 50 per million from July to September 2002. Hawaiian Airlines had the best rate, at 90.4 percent, and JetBlue Airways was the worst, at 60.6 percent. That belonged to discount carrier Spirit Airlines by a wide margin.

An American Airlines flight from New Orleans to Chicago O'Hare International Airport on June 14 delayed 214 minutes on the tarmac at Chicago O'Hare, said the report. In addition, 1.09 percent of flights were canceled and 0.26 percent were diverted.

Airlines also reported a lower rate of mishandled baggage - 2.65 reports per 1,000 passengers in June, down from June 2016's rate of 2.82.

Incidents involving animals: In June, there were three incidents involving the death, injury or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from the six reports filed in June of past year, but up from the one report filed in May.

Airlines reported the death of one animal and injuries to two others during June. The 9,026 complaints during the first six months of the year was up 7.8% from the 8,375 during the same period a year earlier.