A Bump for a Bump?

April 30, 2017

Can you buy a plane ticket only to be bumped from the flight? The answer: yes. You see, airlines often overbook their flights. Why? Because an empty seat on an airplane means that an airline could have filled it—it’s a wasted opportunity to, you guessed it, make more money! After all, it costs the same amount of money to y a plane that’s full as it does with one that is half full, so airlines often overbook to gamble on the fact that there will be empty seats on a flight.

On April 9th, Dr. David Dao boarded an overbooked flight to Louisville, Kentucky. Although United had offered passengers incentives to give up their seats, there were no takers. United Airlines proceeded to randomly select passengers to give up their seat. Dr. Dao was one of these passengers. When he refused to give up his seat, airport security was called. Airport security dragged Dr. Dao out of his seat and down the aisle of the airplane, bumping his head along the way. Fellow passengers taped the incident and were outraged by how Dr. Dao was being treated.

The incident has brought up many questions including those about how minorities are treated and whether airline policies are right and fair. United Airline’s CEO has apologized for the incident, the airport security officer has been put on leave, and Dr. Dao plans to sue United Airlines.

What do you think United airlines could have done differently? How about the security officer?

Interesting Fact: On average, 5-15% of passengers don’t show up for their flight.