I read an interesting article about the history of airline overbooking from the University of Illinois News Bureau. Julian Simon, a former faculty member in Economics, pioneered the idea back in the 1960’s. Simon “devised the notion of rewarding passengers on overbooked flights if they gave up their seats. The seemingly subtle switch provided a $100 billion jolt to the U.S. economy over the last three decades, says former colleague James Heins.” What the article doesn’t say is that although an economist came up with the idea from which he never profited, operations researchers ran with the idea, accounting for much of the $100B in savings. If you google anything about airline overbooking, numerous operations research papers come up (such as the classic 1985 Marvin Rothstein paper). I am more interested in a more recent history that highlights how operations research has contributed to airline overbooking. Post a link in the comments if you know of any good overview articles. The Travel Insider has a good lay overview of how overbooking works, but it doesn’t mention OR, of course. Link.
September 8, 2009
By Laura Albert
This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 at 12:04 pm and tagged with aviation and posted in Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
One response to “airline overbooking”
Leave a Reply
- A blog by Laura Albert.
Join 6,563 other subscribers
Search Punk Rock OR:
Punk Rock OR TweetsTweets by lauraalbertphd
Tagsacademia analytics art aviation blogs cheese computing conferences cooking coupons criminal justice data decision analysis disasters education elections emergencies engineering environmentalism & natural living finance football analytics grand challenges health healthcare higher education holidays home homeland security humanitarian invited talks lightning lottery march madness math programming mip MODA newspapers Olympics optimization pandemic PhD phd support pirates podcast and video Poisson politics probability public policy publishing queuing risk communication sabbatical science communication science fair secretary problem slidecasts social justice social networking sports star wars stochastic processes supply chains teaching teaching with technology traffic Transportation TSP twitter vampires weather werewolves women work-life balance writing zombies
September 8th, 2009 at 1:24 pm
My first professional project in OR was to estimate the cost of a passenger who was involuntarily denied boarding on one of the major airlines. This isn’t so easy to do especially considering that airline data was much less automated at the time. But we found that it was surprisingly low.
Unfortunately, this was some internal work for the airline, so I didn’t publish a paper on this.