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How an Airline Ticketing Agent finds your 3

So, how can all the seats be sold out on a flight to Athens in the middle of September? Well, they may be sold out....or maybe not.... Out of curiosity I like to check the flights and see what is happening with all the seats... so I put in the following command(remember it?):

(Find flights from Zurich to Athens on Sep 12 on Swiss)

The following info comes up...

Flight # Fare Classes

Dep/Dest Cities

Dep/Arr Times
7LX1830 J9 C9 D9 I6 Y9 B9 H9 ZRHATH 950A 125P
K9 M9 L9 V0 S0 N0 O0
8LX1842 J9 C9 D9 I9 Y9 B9 H9 ZRHATH 825P 1155P
K9 M9 L9 V0 S9 N9 O9
9LX2804 J9 C9 D9 I9 Y9 B9 L9 ZRHGVA 1000A 1050A
H9 K9 M9 V0 S9 N9 O9
10LX1822 J9 C9 D9 I9 Y9 B9 H9 * ATH 1130A 305P
K9 M9 L9 V0 S9 N9 O9

Once I see this screen, I can see exactly what's happening on the plane(well, almost exactly). The number after the class letter is the minimum number of seats available(Swiss uses "9", so if you see a "9" then there are at least 9 seats left, but there could be "12", "25" or "100". Once they seats go below "9" that means there are less than 9 seats.(see the Blue"I6" on flight LX 1830). If you go back to the American flights we worked on, you'll see that they show a maximum of "7" seats before counting down to the last seats.

The Net fares for Swiss are "N" and the commissionable published(where the agent gets a percentage of the cost of the ticket)are "S" and "O" Class. As you can see on flight LX 1830 the only classes that are sold out are the Agents seats in "N", "O" and "S".

And .there you go.... The flights have plenty of seats, but the airlines are not making them available to the thousands of agents around the world who have buyers for them. So next time you hear the airlines complaining about losing money and flying empty, you can do as I do- smile to yourself since you know a good part of why they are flying empty and say.... I guess they are reaping what they have sown!

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