Fewer people than ever are being bumped from their flights.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 2017 had the fewest passengers kicked off their flights since it started recording the data in 1995 — and nearly half the number that was reported just one year before.
For every 10,000 passengers that flew on U.S. airlines in 2017, 0.34 were bumped. In 2016, that figure was 0.64.
The dramatic drop can likely be attributed to United Airline’s infamous bumping of Dr. David Dao in April 2017.
The bump seen round the world created a PR nightmare for the airline. In the following weeks, not only did the airline increase the compensation for giving up a seat, it announced a complete overhaul of its overbooking policies. The effect spread to other airlines, as well. Delta substantially increased the amount it would pay customers to voluntarily give up their seats. Southwest announced it would stop overbooking flights.
The U.S. DOT also reported that fewer passengers voluntarily removed themselves from flights in 2017.
In total, airlines bumped 23,223 fliers last year. About one-third of those passengers came from Southwest Airlines (8,279) although passengers on Spirit Airlines had the highest likelihood of getting bumped (about one of every 12,000 passengers).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, passengers flying on Delta are the least likely to be bumped (0.05 per 10,000), followed by Hawaiian Airlines (at 0.09 per 10,000 passengers). United passengers have a 0.23 chance out of 10,000 of being bumped from their flight.