Southwest Airlines will now terminate flight overbooking, a common practice used by most airline companies. In 2016, the company had the biggest number of passengers that were bumped off flights because of overbooking. It reached to about 15,000 passengers and was greater than any other airline in the U.S.
The decision was made because of the incident that happened on the overbooked United Airlines flight 3411, where a man was forcibly dragged off by security personnel. According to Travel Market Report, Southwest Airlines now joins JetBlue, which will also stop the practice of overbooking flights. United Airlines also said that it will reduce overbooking but wouldn't stop the practice completely.
Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO, already made a statement that the carrier has long been considering to stop the practice, but the United incident caused the decision to be implemented as soon as possible. A spokesperson from Southwest Airlines said the company will carry out the new policy on May 8. The carrier would also be using an upgraded forecasting and reservation tool so the airline will be able to stop overbooking its flights.
According to the Southeast Missourian, some politicians have already expressed their sentiments about banning airlines on overselling flights. Kelly said that the decision made by Southwest Airlines could have effects on its revenue but gave no specific details.
However, chief financial officer Tammy Romo said that if the company would stop overbooking its flights, it would also help cut costs. Airline companies use a lot of money to compensate passengers that have been kicked off flights, so doing away with overbooking would offset some of the effects on the company's revenue.
As of now, JetBlue is the only U.S. airline that has a policy on banning overbooking. However, Delta Airlines and American Airlines stated that they won't join the movement and would still practice overbooking.