The Law: A Big Bump for Bumping

The seasoned air traveler acquires a high tolerance for most man-made frustrations. He can take in stride the long check-in lines, extended circling in approach patterns while the air traffic thins out, missed connections, even an occasional trip by his suitcase to Chicago after he got off at Memphis. There is one experience, however, that never fails to boil him: being "bumped" off a flight on which he holds a valid ticket and confirmed reservation. The odds against its happening, according to the airlines, are 2,000 to 1, but given the numbers of Americans who fly each year, those odds translate...

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