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Author Topic: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand  (Read 2435 times)

Offline Dutch

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Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« on: August 22, 2012, 06:20:44 PM »
A new idea, which I believe hasn't been posted here yet after a quick search.

My theory can be explained most easily with an example: I'll take one of my own routes: EHAM-EDDB. Amsterdam Schiphol to Berlin Schönefeld. I do not have competition on this flight at the moment (would be nice if it stayed like that for a while  :P) and I fly it daily with a Boeing 737-800. The daily demand is 200 pax per day, but I only use 159 with my flight. All my 738s are configured with 15 C seats and 144 Y seats, as I'm too lazy to configure all of them in their optimal configuration per route. The  business demand on my route to Berlin however is only 5/day. It would be a nice option, to sell your unoccupied C seats as Y seats, against Y seat pricing, so Y class passengers will book them. With this I can still fully fill my aircraft, and for this route it would give me an extra 10 sold seats a day. The same with F seats. If no F demand, sell the seats against C pricing, if no C demand, sell against Y pricing. Could bring you a decent extra profit, as it doesn't cost you anyting extra.

This method is used IRL by many airlines, and seems to be a good addition to AWS. I have however no idea whether it's easy to program or not.

Thanks for looking at it!

Dutch


Offline alexgv1

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2012, 06:55:43 PM »
Yes who is to say an airline will not adjust the prices accordingly to fill the seats. Even at a lower price it is better than flying them empty. With the current pricing I.e. one fare for each class your suggestion would work in the sim.
CEO of South Where Airlines (SWA|WH)

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2012, 08:37:46 PM »
While I understand the logic, airlines do not really do this.  Employees flying for free will get c class before pax who aren't paying for it because you don't want pax flying in c class for "free" while the rest of the suckers paid a huge premium.  There are upgrades for frequent flyers etc, but people off the street can't get c class for y class prices.  I believe aws is coded so that c class pax will fly y class if there isn't enough c class supply.  It is much more realistic for pax to downgrade due to supply versus upgrading.

Perhaps a better solution would be adding an economy+ class that c and y pax would feed into.  That would solve a lot of the need for huge numbers of different seat configs.

Offline Frogiton

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2012, 02:29:58 AM »
I don't see how this is possible in real airlines. It's hard to word, but basically, in your case, the airline would sell tickets up until the flight for 144 Y and 15 C seats. Tickets stop being sold for Y class when it gets filled up, however they are still selling C tickets because those aren't sold out. When it's time for the flight and there are 10 open C seats, there is no way to magically spawn 10 customers that are willing to buy tickets. It's already flight time, it's not like people are sitting there waiting for a sold out flight to grow seats.

Just reconfigure your aircraft if you think it's such a big deal that a new feature implement is needed.  :P

No replacement for displacement

Offline EsquireFlyer

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2012, 04:04:21 AM »
While I understand the logic, airlines do not really do this. 

Yes they do (see below), although they don't advertise it as a C seat for a Y price.

Employees flying for free will get c class before pax who aren't paying for it because you don't want pax flying in c class for "free" while the rest of the suckers paid a huge premium.
This tends to happen on US airlines, but employees flying for free in C does not usually happen on Asian airlines, like SQ, for example.
If the purpose is to protect the "integrity" of the C cabin, giving it to an employee who paid nothing is even worse than giving it to a customer who paid a Y fare.

On intra-Europe flights like in the OP's example, European airlines can usually convert Y seats to C seats and back again between flights, because the "C" offered on such flights is just a Y seat with the middle seat in each row blocked.  ;D

I don't see how this is possible in real airlines. It's hard to word, but basically, in your case, the airline would sell tickets up until the flight for 144 Y and 15 C seats. Tickets stop being sold for Y class when it gets filled up, however they are still selling C tickets because those aren't sold out. When it's time for the flight and there are 10 open C seats, there is no way to magically spawn 10 customers that are willing to buy tickets. It's already flight time, it's not like people are sitting there waiting for a sold out flight to grow seats.

It does happen on real airlines. The key is that tickets do not stop being sold for Y class when it fills up. Instead, the airline oversells Y, as long as there is room in C (and maybe a little more, depending on the airline's expectation of no-shows in Y), and oversells C as long as there is room in F.

And then, at the airport, when 150 Y pax show up for 144 Y seats, and meanwhile 10 C seats are empty, guess what happens?

Six Y pax get operationally upgraded into C.

Depending on the airline's rules (and the employees' decision to follow/break the rules), it could be the highest-tier frequent fliers, or the passengers who paid the highest Y fares (since unlike in AWS, real-life Y pax pay a variety of fares), the pax who checked in the latest, or just total luck of the draw (e.g the pax who happened to be at the podium).

And so, in effect, the airline literally does sell C seats as Y seats, although they only offer a Y seat up front, and convert it to a C seat on the back end. They try to be discreet about it, and they don't make any promises. If there are cancellations, and Y turns out not to be oversold, no one gets upgraded.

So, the net result of the above (without all the complex intermediate steps) could simply be modeled in AWS by allowing C seats to be sold at Y prices when C is undersold (or there is no C demand on the route) but there is more Y demand than Y seats.

Currently, on a route with no C demand, even if you manually set C prices at the same price as Y, no one will buy C.

And ever since domestic F demand was eliminated from the US and EU international flights (btw, Sami, can you please confirm officially whether this is a glitch or a permanent change that we should adapt our strategies to accomodate?) if you price F below Y and C, no one will buy F, even if Y and C are completely sold out. This is not a realistic result at all, and it creates huge headaches when an international plane has a domestic leg as part of its schedule. In real life, a lot of the int'l F and C seats would be sold at Y fares, through (1) the operation of frequent-flier upgrades, (2) overbooking Y and operational upgrades, and (3) the cheapie first-class buy-ups that United/Continental is starting to offer these days because they have recently decided that they would rather nickel and dime the Y pax than give a free upgrade to a frequent flier.

Offline Dutch

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2012, 09:34:39 AM »
Yup, EsquireFlyer got my point, but is way better at explaining it  ::).


Offline LemonButt

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2012, 12:36:19 PM »
Yes they do (see below), although they don't advertise it as a C seat for a Y price.
This tends to happen on US airlines, but employees flying for free in C does not usually happen on Asian airlines, like SQ, for example.
If the purpose is to protect the "integrity" of the C cabin, giving it to an employee who paid nothing is even worse than giving it to a customer who paid a Y fare.

On intra-Europe flights like in the OP's example, European airlines can usually convert Y seats to C seats and back again between flights, because the "C" offered on such flights is just a Y seat with the middle seat in each row blocked.  ;D

Protecting the integrity of the C cabin is exactly why employees get the nod over Y pax.  The only times I've ever been in C class is flying for free and you are required to be dressed for C class and mind your manners.  It's better to have a employee flying for free that is not going to get drunk and/or tell everyone else they didn't pay a premium for the seat.  If the highest paying Y pax is some redneck wearing a shorts, a wife beater, and flip flops, are you going to put him in the C cabin with free alcohol?

None of this is relevant to the AWS changes, I'm just saying that protecting the integrity of the C cabin is more than just the price you paid for your seat.

Offline Andre

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2012, 09:48:32 PM »
Protecting the integrity of the C cabin is exactly why employees get the nod over Y pax.  The only times I've ever been in C class is flying for free and you are required to be dressed for C class and mind your manners.  It's better to have a employee flying for free that is not going to get drunk and/or tell everyone else they didn't pay a premium for the seat.  If the highest paying Y pax is some redneck wearing a shorts, a wife beater, and flip flops, are you going to put him in the C cabin with free alcohol?

None of this is relevant to the AWS changes, I'm just saying that protecting the integrity of the C cabin is more than just the price you paid for your seat.

They don't just give out the seats to the highest paying pax. They look for people with most miles (usually not rednecks), is the most nicely dressed and looks the part. It actually also helps asking the staff at the gate. I've never paid for a Business Class seat either, but 90% of the time I'm flying trans atlantic, I'm sitting in Business. I use stand-by tickets. (It helps being the son of the captain)  ;D

On an interesting side note, it seems like it's much easier getting away with shorts, t-shirt and sneakers in Business/First Class in the US, than in Europe. At least that's my personal experience. lol

Dutch and Esquire is right. Airlines do overbook almost every single flight. They gamble that some pax doesn't show up. And in the event there are more pax than seats, the rest gets upgrades or compensation with a seat on another flight.

It would be great if Sami could implement this, filling up the C seats with Y pax if there aren't enough paying C pax. Also filling up the F seats with C pax if there's demand for that.

Offline EsquireFlyer

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2012, 05:03:36 PM »
Protecting the integrity of the C cabin is exactly why employees get the nod over Y pax.  The only times I've ever been in C class is flying for free and you are required to be dressed for C class and mind your manners.

Although what you are describing is partially true (employees on free travel sometimes get F/C on a space-available basis), it's not sufficient to support the conclusion that you cite this example in support of (real-life airlines will never upgrade a Y pax to F/C for free to make more room to sell Y seats) which is totally not true. As I write this, I am sitting in an (upgraded) F flat-bed seat on United...wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and with my shoes off. :)

It's better to have a employee flying for free that is not going to get drunk and/or tell everyone else they didn't pay a premium for the seat.  If the highest paying Y pax is some redneck wearing a shorts, a wife beater, and flip flops, are you going to put him in the C cabin with free alcohol?
As I stated above, while it's a common US airline practice to allow employees to fly free in C and F, it's not a universal practice. You will never see this happening on Singapore, for example.

And I'm sure you realize that "some redneck wearing a shorts, a wife beater, and flip flops" sometimes buys C/F, too, right? You make a big assumption when you assume that a passenger matching this description is going to misbehave just because there is "free alcohol." The same passengers are routinely served free alcohol on international flights, without causing major cabin disturbances (at least, not any more than the suit-and-tie DYKWIA types also cause!).

And there have also been numerous instances documented, on FlyerTalk for example, where employees flying free in C and F told everyone that they were employees traveling for free, or wore their company badges, or even rearranged the entire F cabin so that the employee's family of 4 could sit together on their free, "space available" tickets!

In any case, the US airlines that do this also typically have published elite upgrade systems, at least on domestic flights, and company policy specifies that elite frequent fliers paying for Y seats are specifically supposed to be upgraded to F and C before a non-rev is given the seat for free.

Finally, even if a passenger is not appropriate for upgrade (e.g. visibly intoxicated), you can just upgrade the next passenger; there's no reason it has to be either the first passenger, or an employee. It's not like there are enough employees traveling on all flights to fill the F cabin anyway. And non-revs aren't modeled in AWS either.

All of which is to support the point that the OP's original suggestion of selling unsold C seats at Y fares (as "upgrades") is completely realistic and reasonable. Most real-life airlines would rather sell the extra Y seats for $ when they can't get paid C $$ fares, because at least $ is better than 0.

On an interesting side note, it seems like it's much easier getting away with shorts, t-shirt and sneakers in Business/First Class in the US, than in Europe. At least that's my personal experience. lol

You don't even have to "get away" with it if you are booked in C/F by paying for it (with an F/C fare, an upsell, an instrument-supported upgrade). A completely free upgrade is the only situation where I think attire matters, and even then, you should be fine as long as you're not totally inappropriate.

I usually fly in casual clothes like you described when flying C/F on short haul flights (unless I need to be dressed up for my own work reasons), and on international or redeye domestic flights, I always wear pajamas. It makes the long flight more comfortable and go by  faster!  :)

Offline meiru

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2014, 01:56:05 PM »
it's not needed, that the Y pax pay the C/F price if they fly C/F ... but if Y is full and C is empty, that's strange and here the game could count the empty C seats as Y seats and sellt hem at the Y price (at least) ... sometimes I fly my planes with a lot of C/F seats on routes without C/F demand and what I see there is Y -> 100% load factor, C 0%, F 0% ... and thus the aircraft is 30-40% empty... that's not good
and planing the flights otherwise is simply not possible... if you don't introduce "quick convertible seats" ... so that we could have C/Y seats ...

Offline JJP

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2014, 05:30:28 PM »
I've been dreaming of this feature of for a long time, especially since a lot of plane configurations do not allow the number of C and F seats you will need for your routes.  For example, I cannot configure an aircraft to have just one F class seat; I usually have to have a minimum of 3.  And, if I have a lot of routes with three C demand, I usually have to take an aircraft with a minimum of 5. 

With this feature, I could fill those extra seats with Y paying customers.  Also, obviously, you place your planes on secondary routes that have no C or F demand (even though that plane's main route has this demand), so these seats could potentially be filled with Y passengers as well.

Nice!

zimmah

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2014, 06:04:57 PM »
I agree this should be included in the game because it's still better to have some amount of income from selling a Y ticket than having an empty seat.

Offline Luperco

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2014, 10:44:50 AM »
I don't agree.

In real life, the companies doesn't sell Business class places as Economy. They uses different way to fill the places like changing the configuration of the plane based on the demand and lower the Business price on single flight basis.

Sometimes, especially in intercontinental flight the upgrade some passengers for free or for a small fee.

Anyway I don't think that worth to implement such mechanism.

You have to make decisions. This is the juice of a management games. Isn't it? If the decision is too easy there are no fun.
Saluti
Emanuele


Offline weasel

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2014, 11:52:22 AM »
In real life, the companies doesn't sell Business class places as Economy. They uses different way to fill the places like changing the configuration of the plane based on the demand and lower the Business price on single flight basis.

Sometimes, especially in intercontinental flight the upgrade some passengers for free or for a small fee.

Although done on most european short-haul routes, this can't be simulated here as amount of seats per class are fixed.

By the wAy, the "upgrade for free" is done to sell another seat in the class you were upgraded from ;)

So yes, for me this requests makes absolutely sense: If Y is 100% booked it should overflow to empty C/F seats and generate revenue (minus a fee for C/F food&beverage service, if we want to emulate this) accordingly.

Offline l33ch86

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2014, 07:02:52 PM »
On some planes it is possible to change configuration "dynamically" - there is movable divider and it takes 1 minute to change plane config. When I worked on airport for LO I was responsible for it (on Embraer 170/75/95 and Boeing 737-400 and -500) so for example when there was booking 4/70 divider should be after 3rd row (on E75) because each C class passenger was seating on normal Y class seat but seat, next to him was blocked. So when booking was 9/60 divider was put after 5th row and so on... It is also possible to change divider easily on ATR-42/72 , Airbus A319/320 (but I only saw such option on TAP planes where some seats could be "stretched"), Bombardier Dash 8, AVRO RJ. It would be useful if a plane is flying one route with C class demand, and another with only Y class passengers so we could adjust configuration as it is possible in real life.

Offline Infinity

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2014, 07:20:52 PM »
Guys, do you actually read a thread before posting in it. EsquireFlyer has explained it thoroughly.

This is not about selling C for a Y fare. It is about simulating overbooking. Most, if not all, airlines overbook their planes. Lufthansa for example overbooks some flights such as FRA-CDG (and vice versa) as much as 100% (selling twice as many tickets as the plane can hold) as they experience a tremendous rate of no-shows and also have great frequency so they can accomodate easily.
This is also a common practise on long haul routes, albeit not to such a huge extent. If Economy Class is overbooked and seats in Business and/or First available, passengers are bumped up for free rather than left standing, because leaving passengers behind creates massive costs.

Selling empty C seats as Y seats as proposed here is simply to reflect this in the game, only becoming effective when the actual Y contingent is filled.

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2014, 05:01:11 AM »
I think at one point the discrete classifications of Y, C, F should be replaced with something better.

For example, if a route currently has no C demand, and I price C ticket at the same price as Y tickets, I would expect these C tickets to sell immediately.  Why would anyone fly Y if C tickets are available for the same price?  But in current AWS model, zero of these C tickets get sold...

I think some sort of smoother curve of pax expectation regarding combination of price and seating quality, going across YCF classes...

Offline RougeCanuck

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2015, 01:19:18 AM »
I've been coming up against this too. It seems like the sort of thing that would be a no-brainer. Every airline oversells its Y and upgrades to empty C. Otherwise we're running a situation where we have empty seats and still 100 short of meeting the demand on some routes.

Offline 11Air

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Re: Sell C/F seats as Y when no C/F demand
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2016, 02:28:57 PM »
So, for the sake of the game dynamics and programming, could half the unsold C seats be offered to Y at the Y rate (ie demand at the time of flight).  Just trying to keep it simple for Sami.

 

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