Southwest Airlines CEO just said the company will no longer overbook flights

Southwest Airlines will no longer overbook flights, CEO Gary Kelly said on CNBC on Thursday.

“I’ve made the decision, the company has made the decision, that we will cease to overbook going forward,” Kelly said. “We’ve been taking steps over the last few years to prepare for this anyway.”

Kelly didn’t say when exactly the new policy will be put in place, but said “it’s something that we will be discontinuing here very shortly.” Southwest joins JetBlue in the commitment to end overbooking.

The practice of overbooking recently came under fire after United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger from a full flight to make room for crew members.

Southwest isn’t the first airline to change its overbooking procedure following the outrage incited by the United incident.

Delta will now offer passengers up to $US10,000 to give up their seats on overbooked flights.

United had first asked volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for $US1,000, but when no one volunteered, the airline invoked its involuntary boarding policy and told four passengers they must leave.

Passenger David Dao, 69, was dragged off the flight when he refused to give up his seat, resulting in injuries to his face. United CEO Oscar Munoz has since apologised for the incident after issuing two poorly received statements. Dao is planning to sue the airline.

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