This is the question:

What is overbooking (of flights), and why do airlines all seem to do it?

I was a bit surprised that it was closed. It was about travelling, it was about a "practical" everyday problem that people face "bumping" and it was a genuine, good faith attempt to "find out" something, not part of a pattern of "random" posts.

I had done my homework and research after a fashion, on the mathematics of "statistical formulas" and "load factors," although I admit to having been very ignorant about things that most travellers knew about air travel. But that's what questions are for!

In upgrading the question, I tried to incorporate the comments of others to produce a more informed question.

The other thing I did was to shift the focus from the "airline" to the "traveller," so that it was clear that I was asking about what travellers should do and not the airline.

So what do I need to do to improve the question further so that it can be reopened? I would give the most weight to answers from people who have asked at least 10 questions on the site. (I have not done so myself, which may be the source of my failing.)


1 Answer 1


I'd say it would be better split into two questions, something like why do airlines overbook? and how can I take steps to avoid being bumped in the case of overbooking?, possibly with a third one of how do I take advantage of an overbooking situation if I'm not in a hurry?

This isn't the place to argue about the merits and impacts of airlines overbooking flights, that's basically just how the industry works today. Here we can help people understand it, and help people work their travel plans around it (and sometimes even take advantage of it!). If you want to complain about it, or change it, you'll need to talk to your elected representatives and/or the regulator that covers airlines in your country

Update: I've gone ahead and opened the two questions I suggested, and tweaked the title of the original. I think we've now got three hopefully on-topic questions, and the useful answers on the original one can stand!

  • Actually, I wanted to understand better why the airlines overbook, in order to decide what to do about it, whether to use a "private" solution like take first class, or a "public" solution like the "lobby" for different rules. I didn't mean to "argue" (but maybe I did). I got a lot of ideas from the answers and comments, but "closed" means that no more answers will be forthcoming. That's a pity. More to the point, I am a hedge fund manager who can call up an airline and say, "I will invest millions of dollars in your stock if you can give me some satisfactory answers to..."
    – Tom Au
    Apr 11, 2013 at 15:40
  • In that case, I'd suggest you pull the other parts out to new questions, clarify the current one, and flag it for re-opening. On the last part - good luck! Revenue management is generally super-secret...
    – Gagravarr
    Apr 11, 2013 at 15:53
  • I don't think the "revenune" management is the issue, because it was closed by the "community," not by a mod. I tried to conform to the "formal" rules of the site, but fear that I may have violted some unwritten ones.
    – Tom Au
    Apr 11, 2013 at 15:57
  • No, I meant that even as a hedge fund manager you won't get to speak to or find out much about the workings of any given airline's Revenue Management team, who are the people that tweak pricings / fare buckets / overbookings etc. They're very secretive about them...
    – Gagravarr
    Apr 11, 2013 at 16:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .