DOT Fines Delta $750,000 For Breaking Rules On Passenger-Bumping

Delta isn’t great about letting passengers volunteer to be bumped off an oversold flight instead of just bumping them by force. The company just doesn’t have enough CEOs to go around and offer seats to people who need to get home. Don’t take our word for it: the U.S. Department of Transportation gave them a public reprimand and ordered the airline to pay a penalty of $750,000.

Oh, but that whole fine isn’t payable directly to the Department of Transportation. Nope. Delta has been ordered to buy tablet computers (brand and operating system not specified) and they can use more than half of the penalty on that purchase. What are the tablets for? Collecting data from bumped passengers.

Delta may use up to $425,000 of the penalty to buy electronic tablets to record consumers’ decisions on whether they agreed to leave a flight and accept compensation offered by the airline, as well to train Delta personnel on using the tablets. The data collected can be used to help correct any problems the airline may have in complying with the bumping rules.

What was Delta accused of doing wrong? Bumping passengers involuntarily without asking for volunteers first, and not correctly reporting to the DOT which passengers had volunteered to go and which hadn’t.

DOT Fines Delta for Violating Bumping Compensation Rules [Press Release] (via Businessweek)