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Monday, 17 April, 2017, 11 : 15 AM [IST]

Number of passengers denied boarding a flight doubled in past 1 year

As per the PTI report, Just a week after a passenger of an allegedly overbooked United Airlines flight was removed forcibly from the aircraft in Chicago, US, the Indian government’s air traffic data has revealed that incidents of passengers being denied boarding by domestic airlines have doubled in the past one year. However, procedure specified by aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) seeks to ensure that people are unlikely to be taken out of the plane like David Dao, the passenger on the United Airlines flight. A total of 18,242 passengers were not allowed to board aircraft between April 2016 and February 2017, the government data said.

This is an increase from 10,561 passengers who were not allowed onboard aircraft during the same period in the preceding year. According to the data for 2016- 2017, more than 80% of the passengers affected were those who flew Jet Airways and 14% were Air India fliers.

While most airlines officially claim that they don’t overbook their flights, industry insiders admit that selling “5-10%” seats above the actual seating capacity of an aircraft is a norm across the world as they don’t want planes flying with empty seats in case of no-shows. “Optimal inventory allocation is broadly governed by two factors - accurately forecasting passenger demand and maximising revenue by accounting for cancellations and no-shows,” said an Air India official. The DGCA, too, approves the practice. “To reduce the possibility of a flight departing with empty seats, airlines generally overbook flights to a limited extent. In case of overbooking, an airline may deny boarding to you even if you hold a confirmed booking for travel on the flight and reported for the flight well within the specified time,” says DGCA’s website.

According to Kanu Gohain, former Director General, DGCA, “A passenger could be denied boarding primarily for three reasons. If he/she turned up late at either the check-in counter or the boarding gate, for security reasons and due to overbooking of a flight.”
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