The leaders of four major US airlines on Tuesday rivaled promises of reform against congressional parliamentarians, outraged by recent incidents mediated with passengers.
Senior officials from United, American, Southwest and Alaska Airlines were summoned to a House of Representatives hearing Tuesday with a top item on the agenda: how to reduce overbooking, which involves selling more notes than Seats available on a flight in order to take passengers who do not show up.
United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, has once again been honored for the incident of April 9, when a passenger, David Dao, was forcibly disembarked from a flight to Chicago to free a seat for the benefit of the company.
“I would like to apologize once again to Dr. Dao, his family, every person on Flight 3411, and to all our customers and employees around the world,” said Oscar Munoz, Turning point “for the company.
He listed the reforms undertaken, including the increase to $ 10,000 instead of 1350 of the maximum compensatory amount to induce a passenger to surrender his place on an overbooked flight, as well as new training for employees.
At American Airlines, “we have not set a limit,” said Kerry Philipovitch, Director of Customer Experience. And like United, American agrees never to lower a passenger already seated on a plane against his will, she said.
Southwest Airlines Commercial Director Robert Jordan repeated the recent announcement that the company would completely abandon overbookings as of May 8. According to him, a new reservation system will better predict no-shows, those passengers who do not show up for their flight.
While detailing their reforms to minimize the number of denied boarding, United and Alaska officials have defended the inevitable recourse to overbooking.
Most are due to operational reasons such as weather or technical incidents that require, for example, replacing one aircraft with a smaller one, said Scott Kirby, another United official.
In 2016, according to Alaska Airlines’ director of communications, overbooking resulted in an additional 675,000 passengers who would otherwise not have had a chance to get a ticket. “Making available these additional seats allows us to keep rates low,” Sprague told the elected officials.