Why Airlines Will Keep Overbooking, Even After United Incident – WSJ

How many seats they oversell is proprietary by airline, but experts said they have fine-tuned this practice relying in part on historical trends on no-shows by time of day, day of week, season and popularity of routes, among other factors.

Southwest Airlines said it typically oversold just one seat on its each of its Boeing Co. 737 jets configured to carry 143, though still had to involuntarily bump almost 15,000 passengers last year, by far the highest level in the industry.

Source: Why Airlines Will Keep Overbooking, Even After United Incident – WSJ

 

Consider the sheer size of the industry: projected $738B in annual revenues making a net profit of $29.8B (4.1% margin) in the US alone.