Overbooking 101

Donal

I’ve read a few outraged articles about United Airlines vs Dr Dao. As he often does, James Pilant questions the business ethics involved. I consider air travel an environmental tragedy, and agree that people wearing police uniforms are entirely too ready to dish out force and violence, but I have been generally aware (one of my brothers has been bumped) that overbooking was a common practice driven by A – people missing or not showing up for flights, or taking earlier flights and B – the airlines wanting to maximize profit by having a passenger in every seat.

I read somewhere that without overbooking the average flight might be only about 83% full. I see far worse vacancies on Greyhound, though. I’ve taken the bus from Altoona to Harrisburg to Baltimore dozens of times, and unless it is a holiday weekend, I see anywhere from 50 to 90% of seats…

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