Carriers should be permitted to continue with the overbooking practice as seats in a flight are a time sensitive and “perishable” product, global airlines body International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said. Against the backdrop of American carrier United Airlines forcibly evicting a passenger recently – gan incident that sparked a global outrage – IATA said the practice of overbooking flights is an important tool for managing inventory.
“Airlines should be allowed to continue long-established overbooking practices. The airline business is unique in that once a flight takes off, the seats on that flight are no longer available for sale; it’s a time-sensitive, perishable product,” IATA said in a statement.
Overbooking refers to airlines allowing passengers to book seats in excess of available capacity. IATA also noted that airlines can, with a degree of certainty, overbook a flight considering the number of no-shows expected. While stating that some governments are considering regulations which would restrict the overbooking practice, IATA said it is an economically important activity that should not be denied to the carriers.
If the practice of overbooking is stopped then consumers might lose access to more flexible fares that are available, it added.