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Airline Puzzle

Why don’t airlines generally charge less for “middle” seats than for aisle and window seats?

2 Responses to “Airline Puzzle”

  1. Speedmaster says:

    Good question. On a related note, the Buffalo Sabres started using a new variable pricing scheme last year for seats. Seats for games in high demand cost quite a bit more than seats for games with lackluster opponents. The last I read it was considered a success.

  2. wintercow20 says:

    Joel sends me:

    Perhaps the uncertainty of the first-come-first-serve seat selection sells more Economy Plus [1], Business and First Class seats? Another thing to think about is that airline seats are priced in such a way that a fixed number of seats are allocated for a flight and are priced in an extremely complex way that almost mimics an auction [2-6]

    [1] http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1314,00.html
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_Reservation_System
    [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITA_Software
    [4] http://www.paulgraham.com/carl.html
    [5] http://www.demarcken.org/carl/papers/ITA-software-travel-complexity/ITA-software-travel-complexity.pdf (slide 23 talks briefly about pricing)
    [6] http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?did=57304679&Fmt=6&clientId=17941&RQT=309&VName=PQD (also useful for its references)

    This topic is of interest to me because some of the highest paying CS jobs in the world are in the airfare industry!

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