More Air Travelers Get Involuntarily Bumped from Overbooked Flights

Kaitlin Reiss
Kaitlin Reiss

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The summer travel season heats up, and Hawaii is a popular destination for travelers. More people are flying compared to last year, and that also means more are getting bumped from their flights.

During the first quarter of this year, more than 19,000 U.S. passengers were involuntarily bumped from their overbooked flights, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That's a relatively small number compared to the millions who fly every year. But, if you plan to fly this summer, the advice is: try to be more flexible in your plans.

Hawaii: a favorite destination for vacationers and those looking for a romantic getaway.

"I'm in Hawaii for my honeymoon," said newlywed Kaitlin Reiss. "I'll be here for a week. I'm going to Oahu, then Maui."

Reiss and her husband Michael flew in from San Francisco. Their flight was completely booked.

"What happened though, there was a few people that didn't make it on the flight but they did offer a $500 voucher for anyone that volunteered and we did have volunteers," she said.

With more people traveling by air, airlines are booking fuller flights. That means, there's a greater chance you may not fly out when you thought you would.

More passengers have been involuntarily bumped from their flights this year; a 13 percent increase from just a year ago. Airlines acknowledge this practice, but say they strive to satisfy every customer.

Despite being on a full flight, Reiss said she had a pleasant ride.

"Everything went great," she said. "There was no problems. I had nothing to complain about."

Now, she and her husband get ready to enjoy their honeymoon.

"I'm looking forward to the luau," she said. "I may take surfing lessons. That would be fun, and then definitely the road to Hana when i'm in Maui as well."

Enjoying the islands during one of the busiest travel seasons.

There is a silver lining in all this. The number of passengers who were voluntarily bumped went down by about 16 percent. Airlines said they overbook some flights based on historic data.