By Cailey Rizzo
November 26, 2019

American Airlines bumped more passengers in 2019 than all other U.S. airlines combined, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The carrier bumped more than 3,400 passengers this year in the travel period from July through August. During that same time, Southwest bump 314 passengers, United bumped 15 and Delta did not bump any (the airline has only denied boarding to six passengers this entire year).

An American Airlines spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News the airline was aware of its increase in bumping this year and attributed that rise to certain aircraft being out of service. The airline grounded 24 of its Boeing 737 Max aircraft earlier this year after the federal mandate. The mechanics union also participated in a work slowdown during this period because of ongoing contract negotiations, which the airline says contributed to delays.

American Airlines plane
Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

The Dallas Morning News reported that bumping was more likely on smaller regional airlines owned by American than on the mainline itself. The regional airlines like Envoy or PSA Airlines fly smaller planes, which are more susceptible to weight and balance issues, caused by reseating passengers, rearranging cargo or even shifts in temperature.

To prevent bumping, the airline made changes to its app earlier this month in how passengers can bid for compensation in the event of an overbooked flight.

However, despite American’s high numbers, a study by the website Upgraded Points released earlier this month said that Frontier and Spirit are the airlines most likely to bump you. The study, which was based on ratios, said in 2018, Frontier only bumped a total of 1,219 people. But when figuring in the total number of passengers flown, that number worked out to 6.28 passengers per 100,000 people.

Just behind was Spirit Airlines, which bumped 5.57 passengers out of every 1,529. While American had the highest number of passengers bumped in 2018 (2,614), their ratio only came out to 1.95 passengers per 100,000.

Passengers afraid of getting bumped from their flights are best advised to check in early for a seat assignment.