Expect rule changes for overbooking

Amid the media storm surrounding the passenger who was forcibly removed from United Airlines when he refused to give up his seat voluntarily, airlines have started reviewing and adjusting their overbooking policies.

United reportedly said in a memo it would no longer ask law enforcement officers to remove passengers from aircraft “unless it is a matter of safety and security.” Additionally, United is requiring crews to book their seats an hour before departure rather than allowing them to book up to the time of departure. That will avoid the need to bump a passenger after boarding.

American Airlines also has updated its policies to ensure passengers are not asked to give up their seats after boarding.

Delta increased compensation maximums for bumped passenger from $1,350 (R18,020) to nearly $10,000 (R133,483), according to an internal memo reported by The Associated Press.

In South Africa, allowances are made for the offloading and overbooking practice in the Consumer Protection Act in article 47, detailing parameters of due process that should involve prior notification and compensation where possible.

News 24 reported that local airlines say the conduct is outlined in their individual conditions of carriage, which explains the due steps around notification and compensation policies of each particular airline.

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