Friday, July 19, 2013

Why you are paying extra for premium airplane seating?

Summer travel season is upon us. Many of us will spend many hours in front of the an internet device to try and find the best deals. And best seats.


airplane seating charts
Image search for airplane seating charts

"Best seats" - here is where you might find you are being taken on a ride (different than your destination).

Many of us who follow big data stuff closely have seen much being written about how travel industry can benefit from big data. But only some of us understand what is behind the statement.

To help answer this $$$ question, read the following snippet describing the study (conducted by Dr. Garrow) said:

"Using publicly-available seat map and pricing data from a major U.S. airline, Garrow's research showed that customers' purchases of premium coach seats (with extra legroom and early boarding privileges) are strongly influenced by seat map displays.

Garrow found that customers avoid seating in middle seats and seats near the back of the plane by purchasing premium coach seats. In fact, customers are 2-3.3 times more likely to purchase premium coach seats when there are no window or aisle seats that can be reserved for free.

Garrow used these results to show that if this major U.S. airline were to block certain rows of seats for premier customers, the airline could sell more premium coach seats and potentially increase seat revenues by more than ten percent."

So, effectively what the author found is that airlines by showing artifically full planes on their booking sites to the customers can get them to pay more for premium seating. And also that there is still room to extract more money from the hapless customers...10% to be exact. So, next time you book a flight on a reservation website, remember big data might have helped your airline dig deeper into your pockets.