Summary of Why Airlines Sell More Seats Than They Have

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Why Airlines Sell More Seats Than They Have summary
Airlines overbook flights to reduce the price of tickets and attract more passengers.


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Selling a single product or service to more than one buyer is considered fraudulent in most sectors, but in the airline industry, the practice of “overbooking” – issuing tickets in excess of the space available – is a norm. Why do airlines pursue such double-dealing, and is it legal? getAbstract recommends Wendover Productions’ pithy presentation to anyone who wants to understand the economics of travel or to avoid getting bumped from a flight.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why airlines overbook flights,
  • How airlines decide which flights to overbook and whom to oust, and
  • How you can reduce your chances of an airline bumping you.


On April 9, 2017, United Airlines forcibly removed a ticketed passenger from Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. A video of the fracas went viral on social media, creating a PR nightmare for United, and a conversation on the principle of “overbooking” erupted. As some passengers inevitably...
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Wendover Productions publishes short educational videos that aim to explain how the world works.

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