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Know your rights if you get bumped off your flight

Posted at 4:45 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-13 21:19:11-04

After the video of David Dao getting dragged off a United Airlines flight went viral, travelers across the United States were outraged and confused. 

Many people were questioning if airlines have the right to bump a paying customer off a flight.

The answer is, yes.

Airlines overbook flights with the expectation that some customers will not show up.

In the case of Dao, United Airlines needed to fly four of their crew members to Louisville to avoid canceling a future flight.

When a customer buys a ticket, they enter into a contract that allows airlines to bump passengers. However, many people don't read the fine print before they purchase a ticket. 

"Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you have the right to do it," says Ronald Mercaldo, Lawyer at Mercaldo Law Firm in Tucson, Arizona.

"There were so many other options, they could have chartered their crew or offered enough money for people to give up their seat." 

According to the United States Department of Transportation, 631 million people traveled last year.

One out of 14,000 passengers were bumped. 

DOT says if a passenger is bumped from their flight, they can be compensated. Flight compensation depends on how long it takes to get to their destination and whether it's a domestic or an international flight. 

You can also request a full refund, including additional fees. 

You can follow news reporter, Jennifer Martinez on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram