Why Are Airlines Allowed To Overbook

We all know that flying is stressful, especially in the holiday season. During this season, 4.27 million people travel all around the world.

If you are also one of those people, you would know how inconvenient build-up for those who plan to travel by air.

Among all these troubles, getting bumped from a flight because of overbooking is the worst that you can face. The concept of getting proper booking and then not receiving the services seems absurd and feels very odd.

Why are airlines allowed to overbook?

Do you ever wonder why are airlines allowed to overbook? Well, for them, overbooking is not a problem. Rather, it is economical for them in terms of financial gains. It is not because they want to sell more of their seats than they have. Also, they do not want to dupe people into trouble for services they cannot provide.

They mainly do it because people or purchasers are very unreliable. As the margin of profit is very narrow for them, they optimize the system of selling seats with the practice of overbooking. This is the only space that helps them get the financial gains they deserve.

In this article, we will learn more reasons why are airlines allowed to overbook. We are sure that your confusion and doubts will go away once and for all. Let us start with each one of them:

Reasons Why Are Airlines Allowed to Overbook

There are so many reasons behind overbooking airline seats. The airline owners are clever people, and they know who to compensate for the intended losses from the careless bookings. Here are the main reasons why are airlines allowed to overbook:

1. Airlines bump passengers who are unreliable. They do not show up on the main day and become the reason for the financial losses of the airline.

2. Even if it is a domestic flight, airlines follow the same overbooking rule because people suddenly change their minds and travel through the road. The airline has to compensate for this loss by overbooking to ensure that enough people join them for the journey.

3. The travel voucher s given to people who come first and finally, the seats are properly sold to them. They do this to ensure that deserving people get the advantage over careless people who are not sure about what they have to do.

These are some of the main reasons why airlines overbook their seats. It is normal for them to follow this protocol, and no one can complain about it. Laws and department of transportation back this strategy because they understand the concerns of airline owners.

FAQs About Why Are Airlines Allowed Overbooked

1. Why is overbooking of flights legal?

Yes, according to federal law, it is legal to overbook flights. But there are also rules and regulations for passengers who show up for the flight when the seats are oversold. These rules compensate them for the losses that they would otherwise face due to careless booking from unreliable people.

It is a great way of supporting them for their business which would not get stable if such things keep on happening to them on daily basis.

2. How are overbooked flights normally resolved?

The gate agents resolve this problem as they deny boarding when the seats are oversold after overbooking. They send them to the concerned department, such as the department of transportation, to get compensation for the loss of time, money, and effort. They settle down all terms and conditions with such passengers.

3. How do airlines get away with overbooking?

Airlines intentionally overbook seats to avoid empty seats in the plane. They do this because people are not reliable and they do not show up on the day of the journey. It's not an illegal practice because it’s a business and the owners have to optimize the profits by doing this.

4. Do airlines need to overbook seats to stay profitable?

Yes, they have to do it because there is no other way out for them other than that they sell more tickets. It’s a huge business that can face millions of losses in a short time because many times people do not show up after booking flights.

5. How to know if my flight will be overbooked?

An overbooked flight is when the selling rate is more than the actual number of seats. It is very normal for airlines to do this, so it’s better that you check up on late-night flights. As a passenger, you will not face any problem in that case as very few people choose to travel at night.

6. What happens when first-class gets overbooked?

Well, airlines do not oversell the first-class seats, rather they put the burden on business class only. They usually show passengers at the right time and get the seats they get the booking. So, generally, there is no serious issue regarding this.

7. How do airlines determine when to overbook a flight?

When they see that the seats of the plane are empty, they tend to overbook or oversold flights so that they get profit from every seat. They get data from past flights and estimate the no-show rates.

This is what helps them decide that how many extra tickets have to be sold to get the maximum number on the flight for the journey.


From the above information, we are sure that you know exactly that why are airlines allowed to overbook. The reason behind it is simple that airlines are business units like United Airlines and they have to make a profit.

They face problems when people book tickets and do not show up.

Thus, the federal laws have made it legal for them to overbook seats so that they get enough passengers for the journey to make enough profit or financial gains.

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