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These airlines compensate best when bumping you from a flight

Aarthi Swaminathan
Finance Writer

If you’re getting bumped off a plane, hope you’re on Alaska Airlines.

Over the past two years, Alaska has made the highest average compensation payments for passengers denied boarding, according to a new study by Stratos Jet Charters.

The company analyzed passenger data from the Department of Transportation from the first quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2017. The study found roughly 64,349 bumped passengers and calculated the rate per 10,000 boardings for each airline.

If you were bumped from an Alaska Airlines flight, Stratos Jet found, the average compensation payment was $1,222.

Image courtesy of Stratos Jet Charters

Airlines are required by US law to compensate passengers when they’re bumped from a flight — except when they put the passenger on another plane that lands within an hour of the original arrival time.

The study also found that ExpressJet had the highest denial rate — at 7.9 per 10,000 boardings — of all the US carriers surveyed in the report. But if you were bumped off an ExpressJet and the company didn’t place you on another flight that landed within an hour of the original time — it wasn’t that bad: The average compensation was $741.

The airlines that had the lowest number of denials were Delta and Hawaiian — tied at 0.6.

Among the five most-boarded airlines — which the report states are American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United — Delta was the most reliable for above-average payouts to its bumped passengers at $816.

Stratos Jet noted that compensation is federally regulated and the pricing is typically a direct reflection of ticket fares. So while you may be bumped, you may not be compensated at the same rates as noted above. It will depend on how much you’ve paid for your ticket.

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