Why do airlines overbook their flights? | TechCrunch


We’ve all been there: You arrive at the gate and it turns out there are more passengers wanting to fly from point A to point B than there are seats on the plane. You wouldn’t be the first person to have thought the thought that, “Well gee, if you only have 200 seats, why would you sell more than 200 tickets?” It turns out, however, that there are a couple of excellent reasons for doing this, powered by money, efficiency and a whole lot of statistical analysis.

Moving 900 million passengers around within the U.S. every year is no mean feat, and people travel for all sorts of different reasons, with leisure and business being the two dominating categories. The thing is, not everybody turns up to every flight. On average, the number of people not turning up to flights is around 5 percent, but, in certain circumstances, that number can be up to 15 percent. Obviously, that puts airlines in an interesting position.

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