During the weeks following United's decision to force a passenger off a plane at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, various airlines have been trying to avoid their own PR disasters by making changes to their policies. Delta, for example, will now go as high as $10,000 to pay people to give up their seats on flights. United itself has also altered its overbooking policies and upped compensation incentives.
The latest airline to change course is Southwest. According to Travel + Leisure, Southwest's CEO Gary Kelly announced that the airline will no longer overbook flights.
"We’ll cease to overbook going forward," he said in an interview with CNBC. "The last thing that we want to do is deny a customer their flight."
Competitor JetBlue, recently ranked the top airline when it comes to customer satisfaction, also never overbooks.
Even though airline overbooking is a common practice and, to an extent, makes sense — it generally means lower ticket prices, and experience shows that some travelers inevitably won't show up — it can still be a giant pain for customers. And that is exactly what Southwest is trying to avoid.
"We’re going to work very, very hard to eliminate as many pain points for travel [as] possible," said Kelly.