After videos went viral of United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) passenger David Dao being forcibly removed from an overbooked flight, the airline industry policy of overbooking flights is now being questioned. “In general, you know, about 50,000 people a year get bumped for overbooking situations, so airlines are allowed to oversell the flight," said The Points Guy CEO Brian Kelly. "But generally they handle that before you board the plane.”
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Dao had already boarded when he was dragged off the aircraft. Did he have a right to refuse to give up his seat? “It’s a grey area," Kelly told the FOX Business Network's Stuart Varney. "Technically it’s, you know, United’s plane and they can argue that it’s their private property, like asking somebody to leave your house, but I think it’s a little bit different.”
Kelly said United incident would likely end up in court and lead to more protections for consumers. "I think United’s going to say ‘we asked him to leave and once he didn’t comply then we’re allowed to kick you off, but they do have 25 set rules, like drunk passengers, where they can kick you off, boarding their employees to take your seat isn’t one of them.”
Kelly says sometimes airlines do have legitimate reasons to remove passengers from a flight. “Sometimes planes are overweight, sometimes you have to get off, so my general advice is, you know, when the police or captain asks you to get off you probably should follow their instructions.”
Kelly described Dao as a hero who stood up for consumer rights by remaining seated.
“I think this man is being seen as a hero and I can see why because passengers have just been treated like garbage so he’s finally standing up for, you know, consumer rights.”