Southwest Airlines will no longer overbook flights, according to CEO Gary Kelly.
“We’ll cease to overbook going forward,” Kelly said in an interview on CNBC, “The last thing that we want to do is deny a customer their flight.”
The announcement comes on the heels of United Airline’s disastrous decision to forcibly remove a passenger from an airplane at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
While United is trying to make up for the incident by reviewing its policies and offering up to $10,000 to passengers to give up a seat in the future, Southwest is going the route of eliminating any overbooking. (JetBlue also never overbooks.)
Overselling tickets under the assumption that some passengers won’t show up isn’t all bad — it’s one of the ways airlines are able to keep ticket prices down. And, in fact, overbooking isn’t what caused United’s catastrophe. As CNN Money noted, an airline may need to bump passengers when cabin crew, pilots, or air marshals require a seat — precisely the reason United bumped David Dao.
But for travelers flying Southwest, the odds of needing to relinquish your seat are lower than ever.
“We’re going to work very, very hard to eliminate as many pain points for travel [as] possible,” Kelly added