The Impact of Over ticketing in the Air Travel Industry


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Denied boarding or bumping as is conventionally known occurs when an airline company sells more tickets for a scheduled flight than the number of seats available on the aircraft (Borenstein, and Nancy 65). The rationale from the airline’s viewpoint is premised on the fact that various premium class passengers of airlines have a tendency of ticket cancellation, delays in checking up, or postponement of their travels to different dates, leading to huge losses by the airline, especially when flights depart with empty seats. The over ticketing is, therefore, meant to counterbalance such effects to the airline in the event of ticket cancelation or related activities by premier class passengers. Knight explains that airlines have found themselves in quagmires, especially after it becomes apparent that a scheduled flight has been overbooked leading to the prioritization of customers based on principles not well defined to the public (85). A case in point is in the United Airlines where a passenger was forcefully evicted from the airline with several sustained injuries is one such incident among many others that raise more questions than answers on the rights of airline passengers to board, especially based on operational blunders made by airline ticketing staff (Gary 1). Therefore, the discussion will review the impacts of over ticketing in the air travel industry with a view of establishing a balanced position that touch on the rights of travel for passengers after booking and the legal frameworks or its inadequacies meant to support it.

Problem Statement

The revenue maximization systems employed by airline companies are developed to manage future forecasting of demand leading to optimum allocations of flight capacities. In this case, the system has failed; leaving the unsuspecting customers or the organizations to carry numerous category of loses. The EU statistical documentation reveals that the ratio of passengers with valid tickets, checking in on time for air travels is approximately 1: 10000 on the higher level (Kreimeier et al. 5). Even though this ratio can be understood as a justification to overbooking currently practiced by airlines to caution them from losses, the extent of damage experienced by passengers and patients who are denied boarding rights for travels either related to medical tourism, leisure, and business assignments is inconceivable. Under those premises, some analysts have argued that delegitimizing overbooking through law or statute will lead to higher air travel costs.

Previously, airline passengers have accepted compensations or bribed off the flights leading to awkward situations between those with urgent and time-bound travel assignments. Passengers who have declined off flight orders from the management or security have been mishandled with some forcibly removed from the aircraft with little or no compensations. The case of a doctor who was mishandled and forcibly removed from the United Airline leading to a two-hour delay reflects some of the operational difficulties. The realizations that the delay was caused by airline crews who were cleaning blood stains for injuries sustained by the ejected customer raises worries and operational ethics in the airline industry, especially the United Airline Company.

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Research Questions / Hypothesis

Given the importance of this issue in modern-day air travels, the study indicates that it is imperative that various opinions are consulted from all the airlines’ stakeholders to establish a viewpoint that is agreeable in the industry. Therefore, the research will be designed to test a hypothesis on the impacts of over ticketing to the scheduled passengers, which leads to denied or rescheduled travels.

H1:  Regardless of the projected losses in the airline industry, over ticketing by airlines carry negative impacts on customers scheduled to travel, especially in relations to flight bumps to passengers.

H0: Regardless of the projected losses in the airline industry, over ticketing by airlines carry minimal negative impacts on customers and can, therefore, be mitigated through compensations values and travels reschedule.

Objectives and Aims

The overall objective of the research is to study the impacts of over ticketing by airlines to customers or scheduled passengers with a view to cover their operational cost or reduce loss scenarios forecasted on ticket cancellation from premier class passengers.

Specific Aims

The study aims to ascertain the extent to which customers have suffered systemic and material losses due to the ticket blunders of the airlines.

The study also seeks to investigate the relevance of the compensation mechanism that has been institutionally used by the airline to cover the losses accrued by passengers due to canceled or rescheduled travel timetables.

The long-term goal of the study is to provide a win-win situation for the airline and the customers. Although airlines require operational freedoms to manage their business, especially in developing effective loss reduction strategies, it is important that such strategies are supportive, or even seem to be supportive on the interest of the customer.

Controlling for the Probability of Type I and Type II errors

The research shall be tested on the hypotheses provided above. The gap between the hypotheses H1 and H0 will be the main determinant of the sample size. In the event the gap between the two variables will be minimal, the study will call for a higher percentage of respondents or model data for descriptive analysis to distinguish the alternatives. In case a wider gap is established, a smaller size will be used in testing the hypotheses.

It is evident that the airline sector is a multi-billion industry with superior structures and systems. The research forecasts that the industry could suffer reasonable influence meant to widen or minimize the gap between the tested hypotheses. The research will, therefore, take cognizant steps to ensure the authenticity of data received and the sources from which they are derived. The formulas for calculating the date received will be dependent on the variability within the population it is tested. Therefore, this implies that if the null hypothesis is not rejected, the research shall have stronger evidence for it.

Secondary Data Sources

To develop an empirical view of the research objectives, the study shall review the secondary literature and statistical data available to test the hypothesis. Therefore, the research projects to investigate through relevant documentation available on the research topic, find out the models that were used to resolve them, and develop a viewpoint that will qualify them into the two hypotheses tested in this study. In this case, the secondary data made available will form part of the data analyzed in the research and together with the primary research results received from questionnaires and interviews, which will form a solid part of testing the research hypothesis.

Background and Significance of Study

A higher percentage of the world economies rely on airlines and their operational systems. Airlines across the world have become a model of business connectivity. This is simulated through the connection of global business to professional and technical support coming from various parts of the world. Airlines have equally become a principal infrastructure and partner in the health tourism in the world (Connell 75). Worth noting is that several patients use air travels to access treatments and other related support from different parts of the world. Therefore, business, health, and leisure-related activities have ostensibly grown to levels never anticipated in the entire world economy. The reflex of such demands has led to a desire for improved profitability through “full to capacity booking models practiced by the airline.” This is despite the improved demand brought about by global business to business linkages through knowledge transfer for technocrats and the contemporary medical tourism.

Efforts by the airline companies to obtain a full board booking have been challenged by operations dilemma and unforeseen circumstances leading to bumping.  Ritorto and Stephan explain airline bumping as the denial of boarding rights to customers caused by overbooking (561).  Even though some airlines have identified alternative compensation measures to such customers, the impacts are sometimes greater, leading to massive losses on the side of customers. It is worth noting that many patients have missed their medical appointments and thus failed to attend procedures and diagnosis. On the other hand, many businesses have experienced losses due to the delayed arrival of professional or technicians leading to scheduled meetings. Perhaps the worst case scenario has been the loss of lives when doctors are delayed or denied travels for scheduled flights ostensibly due to ticketing blunders.


Section Two


Research and Methods


Sampling Methods

Data Sources

Data Analysis

Study Limitations


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