Here’s some unwelcome news to start the summer travel season: Your chances of getting bumped off your flight is on the rise.
After boasting record low bumping rates, U.S. airlines in the first three months of this year denied boarding to travelers at the highest rate since 2017, according to Department of Transportation data released Wednesday. The increase was partially driven by the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, which took more than 70 of the high-capacity planes out of service.
Aviation authorities worldwide, including the Federal Aviation Administration, grounded the Boeing jets after two fatal crashes of the model, one in Indonesia and another in Ethiopia, within five months of one another. A total of 346 people were killed in the two crashes.
American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which have 58 of the jets in their fleets combined and posted higher-than-average bumping rates, told federal officials that the 737 Max grounding hurt their results, the Department of Transportation said in its report. Bad weather added to the number of passengers who were denied boarding, said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein.