Why Do Airlines Overbook Flights?

The United Airlines incident, where a man was violently dragged off an overbooked plane, has left a lot of people wondering why airlines sell more seats than they actually have available.

Honestly, it’s a great question. Basically it boils down to it’s just better business. But why?

Come to find out, on any given flight, people just don’t show up. For airlines, flying with a empty seat is considered a  lost opportunity to make money even if the seat is already paid for. In addition, airports with several modes of transportation nearby, people are more than likely to miss their flights simply because it’s easy to catch another one.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of data when it comes to exactly how many people per year miss flights. However, every airline bases their entire seating system on those numbers so they can safely sell more seats.

So  how can you avoid getting bumped from a flight? Check in early and get yourself a frequent flyer account.

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