The Federal Aviation Administration reported Thursday that American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are bumping thousands of passengers off airplanes. The drastic increase of bumped passengers this year comes after their Boeing 737 MAX fleet has been grounded since March following two fatal crashes.
American denied seats to 69,924 passengers voluntarily in the first six months of 2019. That’s up from 28,409 in the same period last year. They also involuntarily denied boarding to 5,022 passengers, up from 678 in the same period last year.
Southwest denied seats to 22,364 people voluntarily through June, compared with 10,364 in the first half of 2018. It also involuntarily denied boarding to 2,525, up from 1,045 in the first six months of 2018.
The FAA noted the airlines told the agency “the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft has negatively impacted their involuntary denied boarding statistics.”
The 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since March after an Ethiopian Airlines plane plunged to the ground soon after take-off. Five months earlier, there was a similar Lion Air fatal crash off the coast of Indonesia.
American has canceled about 115 daily flights into early November because of the ongoing grounding. Southwest has removed the aircraft from its schedule through early 2020 and last month also said it was ending operations at Newark Liberty International airport.