ALL airlines overbook. If they didn't they wouldn't be able to fill up the a/c to the levels they need to make a profit. Southwest in the US does some severe overbooking on some routes due to high rates of no-shows as depicted in the program you saw (which I believe is on our A&E cable/satallite network as Airline). Sometimes, the computers' fudge it up too, allowing excessive overbooking. The level of overbooking would depend on the date, time of year, if equipment, flight times or flight frequency changes, if mainly a business or casual/tourist route and other factors. Some airlines may allow lower numbers of overbookings due to developed history, marketing decisions, and with LLC's perhaps lower rates of no-shows and that cannot shift pax to other airlines. In Europe, there may be national and EC regulations on overbooking that we don't have in the USA. Also, LCC's there may have lower rates of no-shows, therefore must limit the rates of overbookings.
Actually, no, JetBlue does not
overbook flights, ever
. We have 156 seats, we sell 156 seats. There are only two situations that would allow for pax to be removed (and hence would create an "overbooking-like situation"):
1. If a wheelchair pax insists on stowing their wheelchair on board the a/c and makes that decision after booking their travel (this must be done in Row 26 D-E-F and therefore if the flight is full, 3 pax need to be removed from the flight), then three pax must be removed from the flight. That's why on every B6
flight, 26 D-E-F are blocked and can only be assigned at the airport. But sometimes, things happen last minute as we all know.
2. If Federal Air Marshals all of a sudden show up last minute to a flight that they are not scheduled on, they have the right to work that flight and if the flight is booked then 2 pax must be removed.
Other then that, jetBlue has never and will never overbook a flight. Ever.
Anyone know what Independence's policy is?