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Illegal overbooking highlighted after Pobeda boarding denial

Russian authorities have underlined the illegality of overbooking within the country after highlighting a case in which a disabled passenger was denied boarding by budget airline Pobeda.

Federal air transport service Rosaviatsia has drawn attention to the case, which occurred less than a week after the highly-public enforced removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight – a situation which forced the US carrier to review policies on overbooking.

Rosaviatsia stresses that overbooking is a practice on "some foreign airlines" but is not permitted under Russian legislation.

Russian law "forbids" this measure, it states, and proposals to legalise overbooking were rejected by legislators last year for "not meeting the interests of consumers".

Rosaviatsia is conducting a formal probe into the 12 April case involving Pobeda flight DP407 from Moscow Vnukovo to Ekaterinburg.

Pobeda claims the passenger at the centre of the incident had arrived 2min before closure of check-in and it would have had to delay the departure to accommodate them.

But Rosaviatsia retorts that this explanation is "clumsy" and it has urged the airline to take action against those responsible, including possible dismissal.

Pobeda says it has fired a member of the ground-support team at Vnukovo over the matter, and adds that it is working on guidance for dealing with passengers with disabilities.

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