Members of the Civil Aeronautics Board yesterday tentatively agreed on a new board policy: no one should be "bumped" unwillingly from an overbooked flight.
Although a quorum wasn't present so no final action could be taken, the board members at yesterday's meeting also decided they would give the airlines a good deal of latitude in devising ways to accomplish that goal.
The CAB would put forth a number of options for them to consider, however:
They could stop overbooking - the selling of more seats than are available - altogether.
They could develop some sort of conditional reservations system so that tickets could still be sold for flights the carrier believed might be overbooked, but the passenger would know the ticket was conditional and not for a confirmed seat. The traveler is willing to take the chance because of a compensation plan if not accommodated.
In the event of an overbooked flight, the airline might announce that the CAB requires them to pay "bumpees" a certain amount for getting off the flight and asking for volunteers. Alternatively, an auction could be held.
The board reached tentative agreement that it would double the level of compensation the carriers currently are required to give those bumped off flights, and to require that compensation be paid everyone bumped, not just those they can't deliver to the destination within two hours of the original flight's arrival time.
"We would set the goal, but leave it to management initiative to work it out." CAB Chairman Alfred E. Kahn said.