Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Air Travel Complaints

United Airlines Involuntary Passenger Removal Incident Sparks Further Controversy On Flight Overbooking

The past weekend’s incident on a United Airlines flight where a passenger was forcibly removed by security from an aircraft after refusing to give up his seat to a United employee has shed increased light on the all-too-common practice of airlines bumping passengers off planes when flight are overbooked. The practice is an ongoing problem as so many flights are routinely overbooked. A viral video of the United passenger being violently being dragged off the flight has sparked outrage, concern, and a social media uproar towards the airline and its policies and passenger dealings.

In addition, complaints are on the rise from passengers of other airlines like United, Delta, American, Southwest, and JetBlue who have similarly been involuntarily bumped from their ticketed seats on flights and not properly compensated.

Flight overbooking is an airline practice designed to fill up all the empty seats in case there are passenger no-shows. Such oversellings are more common on popular routes, further increasing the prevalence of the problem. Bumped passengers must either take a different or later flight or cancel their travel plans entirely, despite having a confirmed reservation. If an individual with a confirmed seat on an overbooked flight is involuntarily de-boarded from their seat, the airline must reimburse them or arrange an alternative flight that will get the passenger to their final destination within an hour of their original scheduled arrival time.

Though various airlines have different flight bumping rules, according to federal law, a bumped passenger who does not get accommodated with a parallel flight bringing them to their destination within an hour of their originally scheduled arrival time must be reimbursed and the compensation required increases with the increased delay from that original scheduled arrival time.

Though it is not illegal for airlines to overbook seats, it becomes a legal issue when an airline does not properly compensate involuntarily bumped passengers.

Contact National Consumer Rights Lawyers at Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser is investigating widespread complaints by passengers who were involuntarily bumped from ticketed seats on flights by United Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, or JetBlue Airlines. The law mandates significant compensation for any passengers who are bumped involuntarily from flights, but bumped passengers complain that they are not being properly compensated when they are removed against their will from overbooked flights.

If you or a family member have been involuntarily bumped from a flight with United, Delta, American, Southwest, or JetBlue, please contact us today about your legal rights. The information you provide will be valuable in helping us hold the airlines accountable for any improper and illegal practices with respect to mandatory compensation for bumped travelers.