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The Bottom Line On Airline Bumping

The Bottom Line On Airline Bumping
Originally Published at: http://cbs5.com/topstories/local_story_180203058.html 
Reported by:
Jeanette Pavini


(CBS 5) SFO is expecting big crowds over the 4th of July holiday weekend.

More than half a million travelers will pass through the airport between Friday and Tuesday. That means you should arrive at least 90 minutes before a domestic flight, and two hours ahead of international travel. But for some, even getting there early is not enough to prevent getting bumped from a flight.

Erin Hitchcock was returning to the Bay Area after a family funeral. When she arrived at the Southwest counter she was told that her flight was oversold, and she would not be able to board.

Erin had been one of eight people bumped, and to make matters worse, the next available flight home was from a different airport.

"They offered nothing,” says Erin, who was not given a place to stay, or a car to use until her flight the next day. "I don't understand why they overbook."

Travel Attorney Alexander Anolik says he has an idea.

"It's to make more money,” says Anolik. “They know a seat that has flown empty is a depleted asset that will never be back. If you want to give up your seat, then it's a decent system."

There is monetary compensation for travelers who do have a confirmed flight and check in on time.

In a statement to CBS 5, Southwest Airlines responded specifically to Erin’s case.

"We have a passionate commitment to customer service, and we would like the opportunity to work with her directly," said a Southwest representative.

In the end, Erin says it is the customers paying the price for the practice of bumping.

"There would have been eight extremely happy people on that plane, instead there were eight angry people," says Erin.

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