Fri, May 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

CAA bans use of force, threats in overbooked flights

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Airlines are banned from using violence or threats to prevent people from boarding overbooked flights, nor can they force people to disembark after they are already seated, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.

The agency stipulated the guidelines after meeting with representatives from domestic airlines yesterday.

The guidelines apply to all Taiwanese airlines, the agency said.

If an airline needs to bump people off an overbooked flight, they must first seek volunteers. If no passenger is willing to give up their seat, the airline should follow its own procedures and ask passengers based on order of priority until the number of passengers on the flight matches the number of available seats.

Airlines are also banned from targeting any passenger on the basis of religion, ethnicity, gender or age, the agency said, adding that they must not apply force or make threats to deny boarding of any passenger.

Airlines should help passengers rearrange flights, provide them with compensation and offer assistance, regardless of whether the passenger gave their seat voluntarily or involuntarily, the guidelines stipulated.

They also said that in principle, airlines should make arrangements for passengers who would be bumped off an overbooked flight when they check in at an airline’s counter at the airport, and all arrangements should be finished before boarding.

Except in extenuating circumstances, an airline cannot ask any seated passengers to disembark an overbooked flight.

Airlines should also fully disclose online the procedures it would take to handle passengers on overbooked flights, the agency said.

The new guidelines come in the wake of an incident on April 9 in the US, where Chicago airport security personnel dragged a passenger off a United Airlines flight for refusing to give his seat to a flight crew member who was scheduled to be on duty the next day, causing injuries.

Facing public censure, United apologized and promised to reduce the number of overbooked flights, as well as offer up to US$10,000 in compensation to passengers who voluntarily forfeit their seats.

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