United Airlines was a hot topic among observers and passengers Monday on social media.
Web searches for the airline spiked in the Seattle-Tacoma area early Monday compared with the previous week.
United Airlines drives 6.8 percent of SeaTac airport’s traffic. No. 1 is Alaska Airlines, with 50 percent of all passenger traffic, according to the Port of Seattle’s website. United has nine hubs spread across the world, its largest in Chicago.
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United’s on-time arrivals at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have remained relatively stable since 2011, according to data collected by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
United merged with Continental in 2010. The year after the merger, nearly 84 percent of the airline’s arrivals were on time, the data show, with 15 percent delayed.
Last year, on-time arrivals were at 84 percent, with 14 percent delayed and 1.7 percent of flights canceled, according to the data. The airline’s on-time arrivals figures are generally better than the average for carriers flying into or out of SeaTac.
On-time departures were flat, the data show. More than 87 percent of flights were on time in 2011, with nearly 12 percent delayed and almost 1 percent canceled. By 2016, on-time departures had dropped to 84 percent, with 13.6 percent delayed and 2.4 percent canceled.
Airlines can oversell flights because they want to keep planes full. Some passengers don’t show up for a flight, and every empty seat is a lost opportunity. When flights are oversold, passengers who paid a lower fare are asked to accept a travel voucher or cash to give up their seats.
According to recent U.S. Department of Transportation numbers, last year nationwide United Airlines denied boarding to 66,660 passengers with confirmed reservations because the flights were oversold. Only 3,765 passengers of those were involuntary bumps, the data show.
In defining the numbers, the report said: “The number and rate of involuntary denied boardings include both passengers who received denied boarding compensation and passengers who did not qualify for compensation because of one of the exceptions in the oversales rule.”