Should JetBlue Start Overbooking?

The ultimate goal for every airline is to fill as many seats per plane as they possibly can. Empty seats means lost revenue, which may drive up ticket fares for other passengers. So after many years of data collected on passenger no-shows, airlines know to sell more tickets than there are seats per plane. In fact, it has become a common industry practice. It is particularly necessary for airlines that offer refundable tickets. Passengers who change or cancel their flights will leave unfilled seats. By overbooking or “bumping” each flight, carriers are able to make the most efficient use of their aircraft and increase revenue.

From an airline’s perspective, bumping passengers is mutually beneficial. Not only does it provide additional revenue for airlines, it also saves customers from higher ticket prices. But, how does it look from a passenger’s perspective? JetBlue never bumps passengers because the the carrier stronly believes that is the correct way to treat customers. Every customer who purchases a seat should get a seat.

Although JetBlue is proud of its lowest bump rating in the industry, most people are not aware because it is not monetized. In additional, there is very little evidence indicating that customers will choose an airline based on its overbooking statistics.

Furthermore, the carrier has been facing low returns on capital and higher costs. If JetBlue were to join in on the practice, each of its flight would be more profitable.

Should JetBlue start bumping passengers? Will the benefits outweigh the risks? Do you believe it is a deceptive practice? Let us know your thoughts below.