When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

Published: Monday, April 10, 2017 @ 6:10 PM

Why Passengers Get Bumped and What They Can Get For it

News of a man being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight on Sunday after not voluntarily giving up his seat is making the rounds, raising questions about what authority airlines have to remove ticketed passengers in situations of overbooking.

>> Read more trending news

According to accounts from passengers on the flight, which was leaving from Chicago O’Hare International Airport and bound for Louisville, the airline wanted the seats for employees who needed to travel to be at work the next day. Cellphone video from the aircraft shows a man who said he was a doctor being forced from his seat and dragged down the aisle of the plane as onlookers screamed, “Oh, my God!” 

Related: Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat on overbooked flight

It hasn’t been a great few months for United Airlines. In March, the airline received widespread criticism for barring two teens from their flight because they were wearing leggings.

So in what situations do the airlines have the right to force ticketed passengers from a plane? And what is the protocol for doing so?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, overbooking is legal, with most airlines overbooking their scheduled flights to a certain extent in order to compensate for no-shows. When overselling occurs, the DOT requires airlines to ask people to give up their seats voluntarily in exchange for compensation. If no one volunteers, the airline may then bump passengers involuntarily, although they too are entitled to compensation.

According to United’s Contract of Carriage, “If a flight is oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority.”

The contract states that passengers with disabilities, unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 and minors ages 5-15 who use the unaccompanied minor service will be the last to be involuntarily denied boarding. It adds that “the priority of all other confirmed passengers may be determined based on a passenger’s fare class, itinerary, status of frequent flyer program membership, and the time in which the passenger presents him/herself for check-in without advanced seat assignment.”

According to the DOT’s Consumer Guide to Air Travel, airlines must give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily “a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn’t. Those travelers who don’t get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay.”

DOT statistics show that, on average, only about one of every 10,000 airline passengers is bumped involuntarily, although that number can increase over the holidays and during other busy travel seasons.

United has said little about the incident but did release this response to WHAS: “Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation.”

United CEO Oscar Munoz later issued a statement on Twitter Monday, saying,  “Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”

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Fort Ancient, other Ohio sites step closer to World Heritage status

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 6:59 PM


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The Fort Ancient Earthworks in Warren County and other sites comprising Ohio’s Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are a big step closer to being designated as World Heritage sites.

RELATED: Lawmakers join push for World Heritage status

“The U.S. Department of the Interior is scheduled to publish a notice in the Federal Register tomorrow inviting Ohio’s Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks as the United States’ next nomination to be prepared for World Heritage List consideration by the World Heritage Committee,” according to a press release issued Thursday by the Ohio History Connection.

This is the next step in the process through which officials with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decide the sites deserve the designation making them international tourist attractions.

MORE: What you should know about Fort Ancient Earthworks

“The final decision on inclusion on the list will be made by the World heritage Committee, composed of representatives from 21 nations elected from the members of the World Heritage Convention, and advised by the International Council on Monuments and Sites,” according to an announcement by the Department of the Interior.

Other sites include in the Ohio application are the Earthworks at Newark, the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park near Chillicothe, along with the Hopewell Mound Group and Seip, Hopeton and High Bank earthworks.

MORE: Warren County postponed projects due to questions about Trump support

Area lawmakers had joined an effort to win the designation for the sites. The bid had been placed on hold during the transition to the Trump administration, as the appointee to the U.S. Park Service was being made and the department’s direction determined.

“For more than a decade we have worked to recognize Ohio earthworks on the World Heritage List and we are excited to be one step closer,” Burt Logan, executive director and CEO of the Ohio History Connection, said in a press release.

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You'll soon be able to cruise Pittsburgh's three rivers on a Tiki boat

Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 @ 2:30 AM

Stock photo of a Tiki hut at sunset. (Photo by mbrinkley3717 / Pixabay.com)
mbrinkley3717 / Pixabay.com
Stock photo of a Tiki hut at sunset. (Photo by mbrinkley3717 / Pixabay.com)(mbrinkley3717 / Pixabay.com)

When you think of Tiki bars and exotic tropical drinks, you probably don’t think of Pittsburgh. But starting this spring, you’ll be able to cruise the three rivers – Tiki style.

>> Read more trending news 

Cruisin' Tikis Pittsburgh will offer two-hour sightseeing charters on the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers starting in May. Each 16-foot boat fits six people. They’re BYOB and children are allowed.

As the sun sets on a dreary day in Pittsburgh, let’s look ahead to this spring and summer! Who’s ready to watch sunsets on one of the three rivers from one of our Cruisin’ Tiki boats? 🏝 #weownthesummer

Posted by Cruisin' Tikis Pittsburgh on Thursday, February 15, 2018
 

According to a comment on its Facebook page, a two-hour tour will likely cost $400 or about $67 per person. That includes the cost of the boat, the captain and possibly a crew member.

Cruisin' Tikis already operates service out of the following locations:

  • Carolina Beach, North Carolina
  • Exhuma, Bahamas
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Islamorada, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Lake George, New York
  • Madeira Beach, Florida
  • North Miami, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
If you plan on riding the three rivers, you'll get some great views of the city skyline and stadiums

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5 wine tours a lot closer to home than Napa

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 5:41 PM

What you should know about wine.

You can take some of the most lavish, expensive wine tours in the world in the Napa Valley, where wines are all about heritage, taste and sophistication.

»RELATED: Georgia: Whether you love beer or wine, there’s a destination for you

These days, though, even the snootiest oenophile can find a worthy wine tasting in places far from California. And the same goes for the Napa-style custom of wine tours. Travelers in the South or Southeast have lots of pleasurable wine tours to choose from, including self-guided forays, touristy excursions and exclusive itineraries presided over by the wine elite.

Georgia, Tennessee and Texas are just a few of the markets that have come into their own in recent decades and have the wine trails to prove it. While you won't be inundated with award-winners on a few of these tours, you can still find numerous high-ranked wines and others that are fun to sample. The vintners are typically small, but accessible, and it's exciting to see newer wineries just starting to make their mark.

For a taste of fine wine tours nowhere near Napa, consider these five:

Rocky Top Wine Trail

Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Free

All hail Appalachian winemakers. Five Tennessee wineries (and a distillery!) along 12 miles near the Great Smoky Mountains have banded together to present a free, self-guided tour. Each of the wineries is open all week for free tastings. They include Hillside Winery and Apple Barn Winery in Sevierville, Mountain Valley Winery and Mill Bridge Winery in Pigeon Forge and Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery and Sugarland Cellars in Gatlinburg. Plus, there's no law against catching Dollywood as part of your visit. And don't miss the Muscadine Spumante from Hillside Winery in Sevierville, which recently won the Governor's Cup at Wines of the South.

Dahlonega Wine Trail

Dahlonega, Georgia

Free or nominal charge tastings

A scenic drive through the Dahlonega mountains sets the tone for sampling wines from "the Heart of Georgia Wine Country." It's the grapes that make the difference: The growing conditions and mountain elevations are ideal for European, French hybrid and American wine grapes. The trail makes a great day trip from Atlanta, with a driving time of a little over an hour and plenty of chances to meet winemakers and sample their labors of love. Stops include Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery, Frogtown Cellars, Montaluce Winery & Estates, Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery and Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery.

Georgia Spring Wine Highway

Northeast Georgia

Starting at noon Friday, March 16 through 5 p.m. Sunday, March 25, 2018 - 5 p.m.

$50

This annual shebang is a great way to visit lots of wineries and sample a few wine and food pairings, enjoy live music or other mini-wine tasting events. The Winegrowers Association of Georgia sponsors and Northeast Georgia plays host. Travelers pay at the first winery visited and then can enjoy any or all of the other participating winery offerings: Each place does its own format, along with filling up those "passport glasses" that commemorate each year's event. Participants range from Cartecay Vineyards in Ellijay apple country to Fainting Goat Vineyards in Jasper, with dozens of other options around and about Northeast Georgia, all listed on the event website.

Texas Hill Country Wine and Wildflower Journey

Austin to Fredericksburg and Lampasas to New Braunfels and other points in between

April 6-22, 2018

Individuals $45, couples $75

Who says you have to be in California for a lavish wine country experience? The Texas Hill Country's annual wine trail celebrates the blooming wildflowers along with a full 17 days of sipping award-winning wines. Each ticket includes a tasting passport for each featured winery (limit four per day). A small sampling of participating wineries includes Lost Draw Cellars, Messina Hof Hill Country, Narrow Path Winery and Old Man Scary Cellars.

The Driftwood Estate winery in Texas Hill Country is just one of dozens in the area with phenomenal scenery.(Contributed by wayoutwestaustin.com/For the AJC.com)

Texas Hill Country wine trail day trip

Johnson City, Hye and Stonewall Texas

Tasting fees vary

An hour-long sashay that runs about 44 miles, this is a lovely way to enjoy part of Texas Hill wine country. Each place has its own personality and style of winemaking, even though the vintners are all neighbors. Enjoy escorting yourselves to Texas Hills Vineyard, Lewis Wines, Narrow Path Winery and seven others.

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Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 8:57 AM

Florida Beach Named the Best in the Nation

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards.

>> See the full rankings here

The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016. 

>> Read more trending news 

Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for the best beach worldwide.

>> Click here or scroll down to see which other beaches made the lists

Get Paid $10,000 Per Month To ‘Experience’ Cancun

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