Why Airlines Sell More Tickets Than There Are Seats

Nina Klietsch explains why airlines sell more tickets than there are seats on a plane in a TED-Ed lesson about the practice of overbooking. Although it sounds counterintuitive or even unethical, airlines and similar businesses use complicated statistical models that count on some customers not showing up.

Have you ever sat in a doctor’s office for hours, despite having an appointment? Has a hotel turned down your reservation because it’s full? Have you been bumped off a flight that you paid for? These are all symptoms of overbooking, a practice where businesses sell or book more than their capacity. So why do they do it? Nina Klietsch explains the math behind this frustrating practice.