American’s bumping problem


American Airlines is bumping passengers off flights at a higher rate than other U.S. carriers. That angers travelers and is another sign of issues that have helped depress American’s stock. Recent figures from the Transportation Department show that through September, American forced 12,241 passengers off overcrowded planes. That’s a blip among American’s 148 million passengers in the period, but it’s easily the highest number and highest rate in the industry. Delta, United and JetBlue bumped fewer than 100 passengers; Hawaiian bumped none. Another 138,708 passengers on American gave up seats voluntarily,

usually for a travel voucher. Fort Worth-based American won’t say how much it spent on compensation. It’s been a volatile 2019 for U.S. airline stocks, but most are up while American Airlines Group Inc. is down 10%. American has canceled thousands of flights because of the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max jets and a work slowdown by unhappy mechanics. Those cancellations forced American to bump passengers off remaining flights. The Max might return next spring, and American is back in contract talks with union mechanics. Time will tell if that translates into lower bumping and higher share prices.