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Airlines body says carriers should be allowed to continue overbooking practices

Recently a passenger was dragged off an overbooked American carrier United Airlines flight.

business Updated: Apr 17, 2017 20:32 IST
PTI, New Delhi
Airlines overbooking,United Airlines,International Air Transport Association
American carrier United Airlines was in the midst of a controversy after the airline dragged out a passenger from its flight, in an overbooking fiasco caught on video that quickly consumed social media.(Reuters)

Carriers should be permitted to continue with the overbooking practice as seats in a flight are a time sensitive and “perishable” product, global airlines body IATA said on Monday.

Against the backdrop of American carrier United Airlines forcibly evicting a passenger recently -- an incident that sparked a global outrage -- the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) said the practice of overbooking flights is an important tool for managing inventory.

“Airlines should be allowed to continue long-established overbooking practices. The airline business is unique in that once a flight takes off, the seats on that flight are no longer available for sale; it’s a time-sensitive, perishable product,” the grouping said in a statement.

Overbooking refers to airlines allowing passengers to book seats in excess of available capacity.

IATA also noted that airlines can, with a degree of certainty, overbook a flight considering the number of no- shows expected.

While stating that some governments are considering regulations which would restrict the overbooking practice, IATA said it is an economically important activity that should not be denied to the carriers.

If the practice of overbooking is stopped then consumers might lose access to more flexible fares that are available, it added.

First Published: Apr 17, 2017 20:32 IST