"Due to our policy of overselling flights, this flight has been oversold."

I am back in the Spring Training saddle after a few days back in the Cleveland tropics. And it's worth noting that my Continental flight from Phoenix to Cleveland was overbooked, as was every other flight between the two destinations that day.

 

As is the case with, well, most things in life, this puzzles me. What does an airline gain by overbooking a flight? Those who were left without a seat -- or those who were willing to give up their seat -- were put up in hotels, placed in first class on another flight and given vouchers for free meals. This can't be a money-making proposition for the airline, can it?

 

I know this much: It's certainly not an inviting scenario for the passenger. You buy a ticket to one flight and end up on another flight on another day. In what other business does this sort of thing occur?

 

I have never bought Bruce Springsteen concert tickets, shown up to the arena and been told, "I'm sorry, but someone else is in your seat. But we'd be happy to give you front-row seats for tomorrow night's Nickelback show." I have never gone to McDonald's, ordered a cheeseburger, paid for it, then been told that they are currently out of cheeseburgers but I can come back the next day for a free one.

 

Well, not yet, anyway.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Naturally, the rotation battle was settled in my absence. As much as the word "competition" is thrown around, so much of these supposed spring battles are decided upon long before the team even arrives at camp. So it was refreshing to see a guy like Lewis come into camp and win a job the old-fashioned way. Back in January, Lewis' name was something of an afterthought. I remember Mark Shapiro listing the candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation and almost forgetting to include him.
  • Well, Lewis won the job yesterday, then proceeded to go out and get rocked today. He allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in three innings against the Angels. Bobby Abreu, Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter went back-to-back-to-back with solo shots off him in the third. And though it was a windy day at the Big Chipotle, none of these were what you'd call wind-assisted. "He wasn't able to get a feel for the baseball," Eric Wedge said of Lewis. "You look at the way he's pitched, and he was probably due for one of those days."
  • Adam Miller will throw a bullpen session Friday. It will be his third bullpen since being cleared to throw with decreased range of motion and strength in his right middle finger, and it will be his last bullpen before the Indians decide whether to let Miller pitch with the problem or to have him undergo season-ending surgery. Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff will update the media on the situation, but that update might not come until Saturday. We shall see. For what it's worth, Miller is telling people that he feels pretty good.
  • Masa Kobayashi is showing improvement and not a moment too soon. He worked two perfect innings today, striking out four batters. He's mixing up his pitches better, working in his split-finger fastball more often.
  • Rafael Betancourt stepped off the mound and got looked at by the trainer in the midst of his inning of work. Still not sure what that was all about, but he went on to finish the inning without any problems.
  • For those wondering if the talk about the "dry heat" affecting the flight of the ball in Arizona, PR guru Bart Swain passed along some stats comparing Grapefruit League ERAs to Cactus League ERAs, and there's a discernible difference. The bottom line is that, through yesterday's games, the overall ERA was 4.42 in Florida and 5.68 in Arizona. Also, 10 of the lowest 13 qualifying ERAs among pitchers belonged to guys in the Grapefruit League.
  • Progressive Field press box attendant Joe Corrado is retiring. Corrado spent 59 years with the club at old Cleveland Stadium and the ballpark formerly known as The Jake. He started out as an usher in 1949. He's a good man, and he'll be missed.
  • It's a busy night in the Phoenix area. You've got the Billy Joel-Elton John show at the U.S. Airways Center downtown and the Sweet 16 going on at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale. I just hope nobody gets confused and shows up to the concert in their Mizzou gear or the West Regional in their tattered "Storm Front" tour T-shirt.

~AC

8 Comments

Yeah, airlines are pretty ridiculous. They do that because there’s a certain percentage of people who miss their flights, so they overbook so they don’t have to worry about flights with empty seats. If you think about it, that means they get twice the payment for each of those seats.
I was under the impression that you had your own private jet, AC.
Kobayashi was definitely the highlight today (and I actually got to see it, thanks to the MLB Network).

We’re just glad that you made it back safely! Did your luggage make it with you? lol!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Thank You, Nickelback is garbage.

PLEASE please please Julia, you don’t HAVE to comment on every blog entry. If you’ve got nothing related to say, don’t think up something just so you have something to write. I’m getting pretty sick of reading you crappy little one line comments. Are you that OCD that you feel you have to comment on everything that’s posted on this blog. You’re not even an Indians fan!

Airlines overbook because it makes good business sense to do so. If a flight goes out 4-5 seats light those seats are wasted because each seat on each flight is a perishable good. Your flight was probably over booked by a calculated amount based on historical no-show rates and other metrics used to try to guess the exact amount of seats to sell.

As far as the money losing proposition the airlines while it might seem like that based on the ticker you bought, the tickets that were sold to overbook the flight were the most expensive ones. (Yield Management) The airline knows anyone who buys within a couple days of the flight is less price sensitive so they try to squeeze for yield on that particular flight. The airline would rather take the person buying a $600-700 even if it there are no seats left because that is much more than it will cost them to re-route or put them up in a hotel. Furthermore the incentive they use to get people to give up their seats is incidental as they are usually standby tickets that can only be used on flights that would otherwise go out light a couple seats.

So yea it doesn’t seem like it should be beneficial to the airline but it is and airlines will continue overbook until it is financially unacceptable to do so.(ie. The govt requiring certain compensation for getting bumped off a flight like in Europe)

Good lord – AC was making a joke (nice Simpson’s reference btw) we don’t need an explanation on airline policies or an economics and statistics lesson. Oh, and deep.fried – I couldn’t agree more.

Right on deep.fried and joeybelle… Julia please stop promoting your blog.
I don’t know about everyone else but I’m here for the Tribe and the wit… two of my favorite things…

Nagyon szép üzenet. Én csak belebotlottam a blog, és azt akarta mondani, hogy én igazán élveztem böngészése blogbejegyzések. Elvégre leszek előfizető a RSS feed, és remélem hamarosan újra írsz!

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