The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) filed comments yesterday with the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the issue of Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation. ASTA provided the DOT with numerous recommendations for updating the more than 20-year old rules that currently govern the process of Denied Boarding Compensation practices.
In its comments, ASTA:
- Stated that it is in favor of doubling the ceiling on compensation for involuntarily bumped passengers.
- Suggested that ceiling caps should be adjusted automatically every five years and based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
- Objected to the DOT permitting airlines to establish, without any control, preference as to who will be involuntarily bumped when they are unable to secure volunteers. The DOT currently allows airlines to decide who will be involuntarily bumped based on the price of a passenger's ticket.
- Argued that anyone with a confirmed seat assignment should never be bumped. ASTA also suggested that if an airline reserves the right to bump passengers based on the price of their ticket, the airline should warn the passenger of this risk at the time of purchase.
- Argued that compensation practices for international and domestic travel should be treated identically and based on a combination of length of delay and distance.
- ASTA recommended that the rules abolish the use of vouchers in favor of cash payments, stating that only cash payments will create a full incentive for airlines to closely manage Denied Boarding Compensation.