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Airlines bumped more travelers amid grounding

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Boeing’s CEO stood by the safety of the 737 Max 8 plane and said he would have his family ride on one “without any hesitation.”
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Airlines denied boarding to more passengers in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year amid the fallout from the Boeing 737 Max grounding in March, according to a new government report, with just two weeks of data included since the grounding began.

The Department of Transportation revealed that in the first quarter of 2019, the involuntary denied boarding rate, also known as “bumping,” was 0.32 for every 10,000 passengers, which was more than double compared to the same period last year.

The U.S. grounded all Boeing 737 Max planes on March 13 after an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 on board. The crash has prompted further investigation into the plane’s safety and pilot training, and has also raised questions about a previous Lion Air Boeing 737 Max crash

“American Airlines and Southwest Airlines separately informed the Department that the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft has negatively impacted their involuntary denied boarding statistics during this reporting period,” according to the report.

The DOT report only includes two weeks of data since the planes’ grounding, which means possible ripple effects remain to be seen.

The American Airlines Network (including partners) saw the highest number of bumped passengers: 3,533. Southwest Airlines had the second-most with 1,594 involuntarily denied. Overall, 6,175 were involuntarily denied,

Three U.S. carriers operate the Boeing 737 Max. Southwest has 34, American has 24 and United has 14. American and Southwest have removed the planes from their schedules into late summer.

The report also covered on-time performance rates and cancellation as well as statistics regarding tarmac delays, mishandled baggage, incidents involving animals, mishandled wheelchairs and scooters, complaints about discrimination and more for March 2019.

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Contributing: Dawn Gilbertson

More: Southwest blasted for poor Max 8 customer service: ‘They’re kind of just saying, ‘Too bad”

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