On Wednesday, November 6th, I will be presenting upon the mathematics behind the ever-so-frustrating practice of fight overbooking. What is overbooking? It’s when an airline accepts more bookings for a flight than seats on the plane to ensure maximum revenue should somebody not show up for the flight.

Overbooking helps optimize airlines’ revenues, but it helps to know just how many reservations is optimal, since airlines have to payout large sums when they forcefully bump somebody from their seat.

We’ll discuss, in-depth, how to build an equation to model expected revenue using the binomial distribution and how, using computer modeling, we can not only find the optimal revenue for one flight—we can create a function to model the optimal number of reservations for any sized plane!

This presentation is abstracted out of Joe Dan Austin’s “Overbooking Airline Flights” in The Mathematics Teacher: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27962864, I welcome you to check out his article before Wednesday!

Comment by Thain Gi Oo, posted December 3, 2019

Hello Cherven, you did an excellent job explaining your presentation. The math behind your topic is very complicated but you turned it into an interesting story. I know that when you buy an air ticket a month or two months in advance, it is cheaper than buying the day before you travel. However, I never thought overbooking was a practice that used math to optimize airlines’ revenues. Even though this is your first presentation for the Math seminar, you presented it like MAT – 480 a talk. Well done.