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I recall having a leg of my flight cancelled for mechanical issues. They sent the entire plane full of people to the ticket agent and somehow they miraculously found planes for everybody on the next two flights, same day, same airline.

A few of us commented on how convenient it was that the plane needed maintenance and three flights on the same route were only 2/3rds full. What are the odds, he asked sarcastically.

Airlines are built around operations and scheduling. Some disruption/reaccommodation software is quite advanced and even takes load factor, cost, status, and customer LTV into account. Being able to reorganize entire schedules onto other planes and other airlines in minutes while still maintaining a 1-3% profit margin is non-trivial.

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