News

Actions

The fine print: Why airlines can legally decline you boarding

Posted at 9:58 PM, Apr 11, 2017
The viral video of a United Airlines passenger getting physically taken off an overbooked flight has taken the internet by storm. But did United have every right to kick that passenger off the plane?
 
It's the video that has been shared in more destinations than United Airlines services. The incident playing out just moments after United offered to compensate to 4 customers to voluntarily deplane an overbooked flight. Now it's the company getting dragged on social media, even their stocks taking a plunge. “That should've never happened never,” said one flyer.
 
At Cleveland Hopkins Airport, one passenger told News 5 she's questioning her 30 plus year loyalty to the company. ”They treated him like a dog like an animal,” the flyer said.
 
But we have learned that overbooking flight is a common practice at United... and the airliner is not flying solo. "All of the airlines do practice that policy assuming that people are going to cancel or change their flights," said Kim Gray, owner of Travel Leaders.
 
And we found out several airlines including Delta, American Airlines, United and Southwest all reserve the right to kick you off the plane if they overbook. "If they can't accommodate you on that plane, they do have to offer you a voucher," said Gray.
 
Unless they get you to your destination within an hour of your scheduled arrival time. And how much they offer is also up to the airline.
 
Overbooking is just one of the reasons you can be denied boarding. Frontier also mentions customer size stating that customers who cannot sit in a seat with both armrests down have to buy another ticket or can’t fly.
 
Also, several airlines also reserve the right to deny boarding to customers with insufferable body odor.