Citizen Math used to be called Mathalicious. If you have a current account on Mathalicious, you can use those credentials to log in to your Citizen Math account. Learn more here.

Logo icon 2 color
Bumpyflight lessonpage b

Bumpy Flight

Should airlines overbook their flights?

Login to add lessons to your favorites

Bumpy Flight

Should airlines overbook their flights?

Login to add lessons to your favorites
Bumpyflight lessonpage b
Log In or Sign Up to Access Lesson Materials
Log In or Sign Up to Access Lesson Materials
Log In or Sign Up to Access Lesson Materials

Should airlines overbook their flights? Airlines routinely sell more tickets than there are seats on the planet. This isn’t a problem if enough people miss the flight, but it can lead to major frustration if everyone shows up at the gate.

In this lesson, students use compound probability and expected value to determine the optimal number of tickets an airline should sell and discuss whether airlines should be allowed to overbook their flights.

REAL WORLD TAKEAWAYS

  • On average, less than 100% of passengers show up for flights. Airlines often overbook flights so that they’re not missing out on revenue on empty seats.
  • It’s difficult to predict the exact number of passengers who will show up for a flight, even when you know the no-show rate.

MATH OBJECTIVES

  • Calculate expected value and use it in decision making
  • Calculate compound probability in a real-world context

This complex task is best as a culminating unit activity after students have developed formal knowledge and conceptual understanding.
Lesson gauge advanced
Algebra 2
Probability (Adv.)
Lesson gauge advanced
Algebra 2
Probability (Adv.)
Content Standards A.CED.1 Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions. S.CP.9 (+) Use permutations and combinations to compute probabilities of compound events and solve problems. S.MD.5 (+) Weigh the possible outcomes of a decision by assigning probabilities to payoff values and finding expected values. (a) Find the expected payoff for a game of chance. For example, find the expected winnings from a state lottery ticket or a game at a fast- food restaurant. (b) Evaluate and compare strategies on the basis of expected values. For example, compare a high-deductible versus a low-deductible automobile insurance policy using various, but reasonable, chances of having a minor or a major accident. S.MD.7 (+) Analyze decisions and strategies using probability concepts (e.g., product testing, medical testing, pulling a hockey goalie at the end of a game).
Mathematical Practices MP.1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively. MP.3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. MP.4 Model with mathematics. MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically. MP.6 Attend to precision. MP.7 Look for and make use of structure. MP.8 Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Other Algebra 2 Lessons