7 things to know about overbooked flights

7 things you should know about overbooked flights.

The CEO of United Airlines has apologized on social media after a 69-year old was violently dragged off a plane Sunday. 

Cell phone video shows the man screaming while being dragged through the aisle with a bloody mouth. United says the flight was overbooked and since no one volunteered to leave, they selected four people at random.

The man refused to give up his seat after being offered a voucher.

As of Monday, the passenger remains unidentified. Other passengers say the man claimed to be a doctor and said he didn't want to give up his seat because he had to see patients. In 2016, nearly half a million passengers were denied boarding on U.S. airlines according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Air Travel Consumer Report. Over 40,000 of those passengers lost their seat involuntarily. 

MORE INFO: Can an airline kick you off a flight that's too full

1. Airline overbooking is allowed. No federal regulations exist against factoring in possible no-shows.

2. An airline may force a paying passenger to give up their seat and take another flight. However, if the delay will be more than one hour, the involuntarily bumped passenger is owed compensation. 

3. Ask for delay details up front before accepting the compensation.

4. How the money breaks down: DOT has a set amount that each person gets depending on how much later you arrive at your destination.

Less than one hour means you aren’t entitled to any money.
One to two hours on domestic flights gets you 200 percent the cost of your ticket up to $675.
Two or more hours on domestic flights gets you 400 percent the cost of your ticket up to $1,350.
One to four hours on international flights gets you 200 percent the cost of your ticket up to $675.
Four hours or more on international flights gets you 400 percent the cost of your ticket up to $1,350.
Passengers using frequent flyer award tickets get cash based on the lowest amount someone paid for that flight.

5. Leaving is not optional. Refusing to comply with flight crew instructions can result in federal charges. The FAA reported 79 'unruly passengers' in 2016 and 104 in 2015. This is approximately 25 percent less unruly passengers in 2015 and 2016 compared to 2013 and 2014. 

6. Insist on cash or a check, if preferred. If you are involuntarily bumped, you can demand to be compensated by check. The airline may offer a travel voucher but the passenger is entitled to money. 

7. Don't settle too quick. If being bumped costs you more money than the airline will pay you at the airport, you can try to negotiate a higher settlement with their complaint department, according to DOT. If this doesn't work, you usually have 30 days from the date on the check to decide if you want to accept the amount of the check. You are always free to decline the check (by not cashing it) and take the airline to court to try to obtain more compensation.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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