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Which Airlines Involuntarily Bump the Most Passengers?

Good News: The summer of airport and airline chaos comes to close with the end of Labor Day Weekend.

Bad News: We’re just two-and-a-half months away from the holiday travel season.


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With that in mind, the financially centric publication The Street has sifted through the data and found which major airlines are at the top of the list – or bottom, if you will – for involuntarily bumping passengers from flights.

The involuntary bump is not a new phenomenon. Airlines have long overbooked flights with the same kind of thought process that goes into wedding planning. Count on a certain percentage of invitees to RSVP that they can’t attend. Airlines figure on a certain percentage of no-shows or those that need to change their flights to another time or day.

But when everybody shows up, carriers will first ask for volunteers to be bumped, and the compensation in addition to the new flight can sometimes be lucrative on top of what you already might be mandated as compensation for giving up your seat for another flight.

But when nobody volunteers, the airlines invoke a policy of using a computer to randomly select passengers to be involuntarily bumped from the flight.

And The Street found which airlines have the most probability for involuntarily bump the most flyers. They include:

-Frontier Airlines is a bit of a surprise to find it is leading the pack. Frontier does not nearly have as many flights per day as other U.S. carriers but it is a low-cost airline and draws many passengers interested in its pricing structure.

-No. 2 for involuntarily bumping guests is Southwest, the nation’s fourth-largest airline and No 3 when it comes to the number of daily flights.

-Coming in at No. 3 is Spirit Airlines. Again, a situation where this is a budget carrier but popular for that very reason.

-The country’s No. 1 airline for having the most daily flights is No. 4 for the probability of involuntarily bumping the most passengers.

-And rounding out the list is for involuntarily bumping passengers is Alaska Airlines, which is also No. 5 for flying the most daily flights.

JetBlue, United, and Delta complete the rankings of the top eight domestic airlines.

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