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Should airlines overbook their flights? Airlines routinely sell more tickets than there are seats on the planet. This isn’t a problem if enough people miss the flight, but it can lead to major frustration if everyone shows up at the gate.

In this lesson, students use compound probability and expected value to determine the optimal number of tickets an airline should sell and discuss whether airlines should be allowed to overbook their flights.

Students will

  • Calculate expected value and use it in decision making
  • Calculate compound probability in a real-world context

Before you begin

Students should be comfortable with experimental and theoretical probabilities.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices