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I was wondering if any of you could clear me some doubts as to how European airlines work with intra Europe J.
I just got off from an IB flight from MAD-MUC and I was scheduled to fly J. When I was at the check in desk I was informed that business class was overbooked and that I could either a) fly later or b) fly economy and receive a 150€ voucher plus the fare difference. I decided to go with the latter as they informed me that they would refund my company (the one paying for the flight) the fare difference and I would receive the voucher as a gratuity. I assumed that being a holiday period in Germany the flight would almost be full, so I sort of got why the flight may have been overbooked.
As I entered the plane the first three rows of J (12 seats) were indeed occupied, but much to my surprise the load factor in economy must have been ~60% (the last two rows were completely empty) and people were scattered throughout the plane. It is to my understanding that the curtain separating Y with J can be moved with relative ease, so I was sort of confused.
Is it really worth it for IB (or for that matter any airline) to reimburse somewhere in the region of 500€ per passenger for not making an extra J row, even if there were multiple rows in Y empty? Does anybody know how airlines decide to make J seats available (do they make a fixed number of seats in business, do they make a decision based on the demand for a certain route or are there any other factors I’m unaware of?)
I am interested in this answer as well since this fall I’m due to fly MAD-AMS and MUC-MAD on IB.