The CEO of Southwest Airlines said Thursday that the company will end its practice of overbooking, USA Today reported.
Gary Kelly, discussing Southwest's quarterly earnings on CNBC, said the airline has made the decision to "cease to overbook going forward, USA Today reported.
“We’ve been taking steps over the last several years to prepare ourselves for this anyway,” Kelly said. “We never like to have a situation where we we’re oversold.”
Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King confirmed the plan, adding that it could be implemented as soon as May 8.
“Southwest is changing our policy and will no longer book flights over capacity as part of the selling process,” King said in a statement. “As we have dramatically improved our forecasting tools and techniques, and as we approach the upcoming implementation of our new reservations system on May 9, we no longer have a need to overbook as part of the revenue management inventory process.”
The subject of overbooking became a hot topic after a Kentucky physician was dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago earlier this month.
United changed its overbooking policy after video surfaced on social media of officers with the Chicago Department of Aviation dragging Dr. David Dao off Flight 3411 after he declined to relinquish his seat to make room for a crew member.
“I think that’s an airline-by-airline decision. I’ll speak for Southwest Airlines,” Kelly told CNBC. “We overbook very, very modestly today. The reason we overbook is to try to fill empty seats. To the extent we’re able to do that, we’re able to keep the rest of our fares lower.”
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