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American Airlines Fiasco

The article I chose to examine covered the assault case between the United Airlines flight attendants and passenger who refused to leave the over booked flight. In short, the situation involved an over booked flight that the United Airlines flight attendants tried to solve by kicking out a passenger from the flight. However, Joshua Gans of the University of Toronto argues that such a situation would never have occurred if United Airlines used a game theory model to determine the optimal number of passengers to book a flight so that they would not overbook the flight.

Overall, the idea behind the article is that defining a game in which the airline is against the passengers. In other words, the airline wants to book as many passengers as possible while as many of the passengers want to board the flight as possible. By setting up two conflicting sides (funny how there was actual conflict between the two groups), the aim of the model would be to discover pure strategy Nash equilibria or mixed strategy Nash equilibria that would define the optimal number of passengers to book. I completely support this article’s idea as I believe that automation and modelling would reduce human error like in the United Airlines assault case. I am completely in support of the passenger who was dragged out of the flight; however, taking away as much decision taking power from the flight attendants would not lead to such inappropriate use of their power.


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