Q. What is the DOT statement on removal of passengers?
What is the response for the highly publicized event of a passenger being forcibly removed from a plane?
“The Department of Transportation (USDOT) remains committed to protecting the rights of consumers and is reviewing the involuntary denied boarding of passenger(s) from United Express flight 3411 to determine whether the airline complied with the oversales rule. The Department is responsible for ensuring that airlines comply with the Department’s consumer protection regulations including its oversales rule. While it is legal for airlines to involuntary bump passengers from an oversold flight when there are not enough volunteers, it is the airline’s responsibility to determine its own fair boarding priorities.”
Find Air Travel Consumer Report Data HERE
Find more detailed information on boarding priority rules HERE
§ 250.3 - Boarding priority rules.
(a) Every carrier shall establish priority rules and criteria for determining which passengers holding confirmed reserved space shall be denied boarding on an oversold flight in the event that an insufficient number of volunteers come forward. Such rules and criteria shall reflect the obligations of the carrier set forth in §§ 250.2a and 250.2b to minimize involuntary denied boarding and to request volunteers, and shall be written in such manner as to be understandable and meaningful to the average passenger. Such rules and criteria shall not make, give, or cause any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person or subject any particular person to any unjust or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage in any respect whatsoever.
(b) Boarding priority factors may include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) A passenger's time of check-in;
(2) Whether a passenger has a seat assignment before reaching the departure gate for carriers that assign seats;
(3) The fare paid by a passenger;
(4) A passenger's frequent-flyer status; and
(5) A passenger's disability or status as an unaccompanied minor.
[ER-1306, 47 FR 52985, Nov. 24, 1982, as amended by ER-1337, 48 FR 29680, June 28, 1983; Doc. No. OST-01-9325, 73 FR 21034, Apr. 18, 2008]