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Do they ever cancel flights that are really underbooked?

traceyy

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was just looking at seating for my upcoming trip to LA and realised the flight was really light on sold seats, would they ever cancel a flight due to low bookings? i figured a long haul flight would sell fairly far in advance unlike domestic flights.
 

ozstamps

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Expert flyer only shows 9 MAX in any bucket last time I used it. Might be 100 in some of them!

No airline will show competitors their sold seats.

And airlines generally do not cancel once a day type flights as durrrhhhh the pax booked on turnaround of aircraft at other end, need to get home, plus crew roster issues etc are VERY costly to mess with.
 
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Saab34

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They have never cancelled a flight to LA for low loads. This practice is more aligned to domestic high frequency routes. I have flown over with 80 pax to LA once from Melbourne and 100 another time, the flight still went ahead. I was one of two pax in PE. They only cancel or pull back schedules about 6 months ahead due to engineering checks which I understand is occurring late this year.

A large chunk of HKG and LA flights are via travel agents etc so don’t include seat selection.

Going forward maps will be even lighter with a large chunk of Economy Pax going for this new ‘light fare’.

I would be more worried about overbooking which I was nearly a victim with recently on some Dom flights. Check in online!
 
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was just looking at seating for my upcoming trip to LA and realised the flight was really light on sold seats, would they ever cancel a flight due to low bookings? i figured a long haul flight would sell fairly far in advance unlike domestic flights.
It's not just passengers that make a flight profitable - there's also freight. And other things to consider like loadings for the return portion of any flight.

Cancelling a flight to LA will have implications for all sort of things like crews being positioned in the wrong places, meals which will have been prepared (but have to be ditched), etc.

Seat maps are not a good indicator of loads, although airlines where you don't have to pay for seat selection in advance might be a fraction more accurate. Take garuda for example where even a MEL/SYD to Bali costs $80 to reserve a normal economy seat and you'll find many flights are pretty empty... except they're not. Or BA's extraordinary charges for seats in business class - approaching £100 or more. The cabin can look way empty until 'free seating' becomes available.

Long story short... I wouldn't worry about a long haul international flight being cancelled due to loads.
 

esseeeayeenn

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yes, am a bit new at this still, how do i find out how many seats have been sold. i used expert flyer to check it out
You can't rely on either the VA seatmap or the numbers or the seatmap on ExpertFlyer to gauge loads.
The seatmaps only show allocated seats. Many PAX don't select their own seat and may not be allocated a seat prior to check in.
Or some other milestone which triggers an automatic allocation prior to check in.
As noted above ExpertFlyer will show a maximum of 9 seats available in any fare bucket.
Mostly. Some airlines show fewer, such as 7 (from memory I think LATAM only shows 7).
It is a limitation in the information the airlines make available to the GDS and hence to OTAs and ExpertFlyer.
It's not a limitation in ExpertFlyer.
AFAIK you would need access to VA's own systems to see the actual number of seats sold/for sale on each flight.
 
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Marty_

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I have flown over with 80 pax to LA once from Melbourne and 100 another time, the flight still went ahead. I was one of two pax in PE.
For real? I wish my flights were like that! I fly to LAX with Virgin twice each year and the plane is always pretty chockers.

To the OP: the flight won't be cancelled. They don't cancel international long haul flights for that reason.
 
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serfty

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Mostly. Some airlines show fewer, such as 7 (from memory I think LATAM only shows 7).
It is a limitation in the information the airlines make availa
VA generally show a max of 7 while QF show up to 9.

You can get an idea from the lower revenue fare buckets. e.g. with Qantas, any Q availability a week before a flight generally indicates a light load in economy.
 

Saab34

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For real? I wish my flights were like that! I fly to LAX with Virgin twice each year and the plane is always pretty chockers.
Yep. August of 2018 and August of 2019.

But having seen like half dozen entire rows across empty of Economy X from wall to wall I would have happily saved the $1800 and had a whole row to myself makeshift bed! Then saying that the times I took the risk and did this economy X was full. Hit and Miss!

It’s just a pain you cant sleep across multiple empty seats of PE rows due to large bulky armrest in between.
 

CaptJCool

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Light load routes would ultimately get canned.

A trip to the USA with QF via Auckland, was full to NZ and around 25 people on-board to LA - prob a decade ago now but that route is no more......

PS Going to Perth ON 18 Jan 6.25am, there were maybe 20 PAX. The seat map showed the story so one could upon getting a handle on it, work out how many seats were generally filled on the seat map and then on the actual flight.

BITRE releases monthly stats as do airlines advice actual loading in their quarterly and annual reports so you could work out a kind of average, seasonal loading. Momondo was showing seasonal pricing so this could be useful too as lower pricing for longer (as well as points seats availability) coming Upto the day of travel suggests more vacant seats
 

GoldCanyon340

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OP, the flight is unlikely be cancelled unless there is a tech issue. The inbound would also have to be canx, again meaning a low load and having to reaccommodate those pax. Yes it may happen but unlikely.
 

Flying Fox

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I can say that one of my best flights has been a private A320 BNE-CNS with Ansett. Had two flight crew, three flight attendants and me. Lots of cool stuff happened but one highlight was doing the night landing in the cockpit with the flight crew.
 

Stealthflyer

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For real? I wish my flights were like that! I fly to LAX with Virgin twice each year and the plane is always pretty chockers.
On my last LAX to MEL flight I had an entire economy row to myself. It was glorious. I was flying the killer JFK-LAX-MEL-HBA and then going straight to the office so the lie flat situation was particularly timely. Economy X and the rows towards the front were packed, whereas the passengers in the rear half of the cabin had at least one spare seat between them. Sometimes it pays to select a seat towards the back.
 

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