What are your rights as an airline passenger? - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

What are your rights as an airline passenger?

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
(KWES) -

You've probably seen the viral video of a man being pulled out of his seat on a united airlines flight after the flight was overbooked. So what if you're bumped off your flight against your will?

Overbooking is common and the federal government allows this to happen in case there's no-show passengers. Airlines are required by federal law to ask passengers if they're willing to give up their seats. But if you're a passenger, then what are your rights?

First, you are entitled to some form of compensation and it's really up to airlines to decide how much they want to compensate you. This only happens if an airline gets you to your destination past your scheduled time. If you're flying domestic, and you arrive one to two hours late, then the airline must pay you double the value of your one-way ticket, up to $675.

If you arrive late by two hours or more, that amount doubles again. But if they get you within one hour on time, they don't have to pay you.

Keep in mind that when you buy ticket, you're  agreeing to the airline's contract of carriage. Because every airline has a different contract of carriage, some airlines can deny boarding passengers who are trying to get on the plane when a flight is overbooked.

Disabled persons and children under 18 are usually the last on the list to get bumped. Airlines will typically look at either who booked last or classes. 

The common question is can an airline physically remove you from a plane? It depends on the airline. Some contracts will usually say if an airlines does have the right to eject a person from a seat. 

Aviation experts said that overbooking is a way for passengers to get freebies in either vouchers, free trips, etc. and the best way is to comply.

If you're bumped off a plane, an airline must have a written statement for you explaining your compensation rights.

View more from the Department of Transportation here.

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