Compensation increase for ‘bumped’ passengers

Compensation increase for ‘bumped’ passengers

Passengers bumped from overbooked flights in the United States could be in line for an increase in compensation following a decision from the Department of Transport.

At present airlines are obliged to offer compensation of $400 or $800 to bumped passengers depending on the length the delay.

This could now be set to increase to $1,200 following a sharp increase in the number of passengers bumped from flights in the United States.

According to official statistics incidents of passengers being bumped from oversold flights increased in three of the past four years and jumped by per cent - to 762,422   - in 2009 alone.

This is the highest total since 2002.

Moreover, with capacity in the airline industry being reduced in the face of the economic slowdown, passengers are often forced to wait longer for a replacement flight.

However, airlines argue this is explained by an increase in the number of passengers taking to the skies.

According to the Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics fewer than 13 in 10,000 American aviation passengers were bumped from their flights last year, while the figure has historically been closer to 20 in 10,000.

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Inflation

In response to the developing situation United States transportation secretary Ray LaHood is expected to adjust the amount of compensation on offer to account for inflation.

At present when a flight is overbooked passengers who voluntarily give up their seats are entitled to travel vouchers, while those forced off flights must be paid in cash.