Here’s a math problem for you:
A typical Boeing 727 holds about 189 passengers. You can seat one passenger per seat. How many seats can you sell per flight?
This is a trick question apparently. The airlines seem to think the answer is 300 tickets. Their computers like to play some sort of airline version of Russian Roulette and sell many more seats than an airplane has in hopes that enough people will pay and not show up so they will have room on the airplane for everyone at the gate.
It is a mystery to me why the airlines overbook flights. I can understand reserving a few seats for people bumped from other flights. But I don’t understand overbooking a flight.
We went to
We dropped off the Dodge Magnum the car rental person had convinced me to rent. It looked like a souped up hearse, but it was kind of fun to drive. We had checked in online so all we had to do was drop our bags off. That’s when the first ticket agent asked us if we were willing to give up our seats. “Give up our seats, why?” I asked. She gave me that smile that loosely masks disgust that airline employees have perfected and said, “The flight is overbooked and we are looking for volunteers to give up their seats and take a later flight. We’ll give you free tickets for anywhere
There it was, the free ticket offer. The catch….there was no guarantee when that later flight would be. We had tickets to Sunday’s Seahawk game and Tess had to be back to teach on Monday. We declined the offer and proceeded to the gate.
Well, they must have really been overbooked because the ticket agents at the gate were doing the hard sell over the loudspeakers. They were pleading with people to give up their seats and accept free tickets, hotel rooms, food. I was waiting for them to offer free pony rides.
Call me jaded, but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush really applies to airline flights around the holidays. We watched the agents lure college kids up to the counter and coax them with free flights to
Anyway, we got on the plane an hour and a half late and it didn’t look overbooked (apparently they got quite a few volunteers). The flight from
But back to my original question to the airlines: Why can’t you simply sell the number of seats you have on the airplane and leave it at that? Wouldn’t it make everyone’s lives easier?