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AC569 Denied Boarding - Seeking Witnesses/Accounts (1/11 SFO-YVR)

AC569 Denied Boarding - Seeking Witnesses/Accounts (1/11 SFO-YVR)

Old Jan 11, 18, 9:57 pm
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AC569 Denied Boarding - Seeking Witnesses/Accounts (1/11 SFO-YVR)

Hi - realize folks from this flight are just hitting the ground, but I would appreciate it if anyone who boarded after group 1 and overheard the exchange between me and the "lead" agent at G97 could reach out to me if comfortable.


For the rest of you, short of it: Raised my voice to gate agent; gate agent responds by tearing up my BP and banning me from air canada for 24 hours claiming I am a "security threat".

Long of it:

This flight was delayed (gate occupied by an empty aircraft while inbound plane sat on tarmac for 45 minutes).

I was in Group 2 as *G. I was standing next to the boarding lane (by the sign) and while it seemed clear to me that all group 1 passengers were already past that point she told me to move out of the way (I was not blocking the lane nor trying to board).
I told her I was not in the way but stepped to the left anyway.
In response, she started repeating the phrase "you are delaying the flight! you are delaying the flight!" I shouted over her repetitions that the flight was delayed because she couldn't find a gate for her plane. I did not use any profanity, nor did I threaten her in any way whatsoever.

She responded "that's it, you are no longer in group 2, give me your boarding pass".
I complied. She ripped it in half and demanded my passport. I asked why and she responded that "i am allowed to re-verify your passport".
After much clickety-clack "Sue" instructed me that I was a security threat and would be banned from Air Canada for 24 hours.
This was a determination made in her sole judgement apparently; despite the apparent threat I constituted she did not call any law enforcement to the gate. While Sue was away, I asked the other agent if she agreed with Sue's assessment and she just said "she is my boss and makes those decisions, I'm sorry".

I don't know what recourse I have here. The missed flight will result in more than $1,000 in economic loss. At the very least, this seems to be an involuntary denied boarding as I cannot imagine Air Canada can simply claim, as Sue did, that raising my voice a single time constitutes a security threat. Her behavior was bizarre, including insisting I stop recording with my phone (I wasn't). Would I love to go back and just keep my mouth shut, sure, but I'm having a really hard time seeing a way to the agent being justified.

I can already hear the FT chorus of "there's more to the story here..." and I appreciate the skepticism, but am telling this as fully as I can. I am eager to hear from anyone else who was there - who perhaps perceived my actions differently or who would be willing to attest to what happened, pathe rticularly as I'm sure much of the clickety clack was Sue falsely documenting the course of events.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jan 11, 18, 10:58 pm
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Actually I entirely believe a scenario in which an agent has a chip on his/her shoulder.

Not sure what can be done though. An e-mail to Customer solutions with a calm, objective and well-reasoned description?
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Old Jan 11, 18, 11:08 pm
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Funny, I heard the perspective from an SE on that flight. He said some DYKWIA United Gold refused to not be first on the flight, and was interfering with the boarding process.

I encourage you to write in if you really feel wronged, but for a cavalier in coach, I would expect more humility when you're not allowed to board first.
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Old Jan 11, 18, 11:13 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Funny, I heard the perspective from an SE on that flight. He said some DYKWIA United Gold refused to not be first on the flight, and was interfering with the boarding process.
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Old Jan 11, 18, 11:14 pm
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So you weren't there then? You just heard it second or third (or fourth or...) hand?

Hearsay.
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Old Jan 11, 18, 11:17 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Funny, I heard the perspective from an SE on that flight. He said some DYKWIA United Gold refused to not be first on the flight, and was interfering with the boarding process.

I encourage you to write in if you really feel wronged, but for a cavalier in coach, I would expect more humility when you're not allowed to board first.
Thanks for that perspective. Not sure how where I was standing constitutes "interfering with the boarding process", nor did I say anything remotely DYKWIA, but helpful to know that was the viewpoint of others. There also weren't any SE behind me when this happened so she or he must've been at the podium and close enough to hear the exchange, so would love any other color that would perhaps jog my memory as to what exactly happened.

Edit: and yeah, the more I reflect on it (absent new info), the more I do feel considerably wronged. Let's take the worst case scenario here and say for the sake of argument I was just blocking the lane -- that's going to justfy kicking me off the flight? Come on.

Last edited by aCavalierInCoach; Jan 11, 18 at 11:24 pm
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Old Jan 12, 18, 12:16 am
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From my perspective, SFO is the best at yelling at zone offenders.

I'm frequently blocked by zone 2 passengers who shout things like "I'm star alliance gold!".

I actually had a different "lead" in mind when I was reading your post before you named one. The one I was thinking of has really yelled at passengers for blocking "Business class, Super Elites, and VIPs".

But SFO is generally very good at enforcement of zoned boarding.

I wasn't there, so all I can comment on is hearsay.

But we're never going to get an employee to comment on this.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 12:31 am
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Well, for the record I didn't say anything about my status to her or anyone else. She asked me my group and i said group 2 and the shouting began. They had already been boarding for several minutes at this point, and I wasn't in line, she was just unhappy that I was close by.

Perhaps "Sue" should focus less on screaming "security threat!" at borderline "zone offenders" and more on getting an A320 turned in under an hour so folks don't blow their connections.

I am treated very well by the airline with which I have status, and spend enough time on AC to the nether regions of the north to know I am afforded none of those privileges on Air Canada or Jazz or Rouge or whatever the operator du jour is.

Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
From my perspective, SFO is the best at yelling at zone offenders.

I'm frequently blocked by zone 2 passengers who shout things like "I'm star alliance gold!".

I actually had a different "lead" in mind when I was reading your post before you named one. The one I was thinking of has really yelled at passengers for blocking "Business class, Super Elites, and VIPs".

But SFO is generally very good at enforcement of zoned boarding.

I wasn't there, so all I can comment on is hearsay.

But we're never going to get an employee to comment on this.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 12:38 am
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Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
Actually I entirely believe a scenario in which an agent has a chip on his/her shoulder.
same. These stories seem to pop up often enough I'm tempted to start video recording all my interactions with agents just in case.

It's a nice reminder that you can't yell at agents, no matter how much you want to, I guess. That said, having worked in a customer-facing role, you really have no business working in any customer-facing role if (taking this at face value) you get scared when someone yells at you... After you yell at them. Forget millenials, I think we found a real snowflake
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Last edited by pewpew; Jan 12, 18 at 12:45 am
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Old Jan 12, 18, 12:50 am
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Originally Posted by pewpew View Post
same. These stories seem to pop up often enough I'm tempted to start video recording all my interactions with agents just in case.

It's a nice reminder that you can't yell at agents, no matter how much you want to, I guess. That said, having worked in a customer-facing role, you really have no business working in any customer-facing role if (taking this at face value) you get scared when someone yells at you... After you yell at them. Forget millenials, I think we found a real snowflake
agree with all of this.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 1:10 am
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
I actually had a different "lead" in mind when I was reading your post before you named one. The one I was thinking of has really yelled at passengers for blocking "Business class, Super Elites, and VIPs".
"Sue" also had a different name on her badge, if that's what you're going off.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 1:11 am
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Originally Posted by aCavalierInCoach View Post
"Sue" also had a different name on her badge, if that's what you're going off.
Are you saying it's a sue-donym?
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Old Jan 12, 18, 1:23 am
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Originally Posted by pewpew View Post
Are you saying it's a sue-donym?
Very good... haha. Don't think I can post the name on the badge due to FT rules. Interesting google results...
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Old Jan 12, 18, 1:24 am
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My friend says he left his contact information with the GA because of how this "denied" passenger was behaving.

As I said, if you really feel wronged, write in about it.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 1:51 am
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
My friend says he left his contact information with the GA because of how this "denied" passenger was behaving.

As I said, if you really feel wronged, write in about it.

To the write in point, without some corroboration requested here, I have no doubt AC will rely on their own agent's documentation, whatever she said, which is why I'm starting here.

And again, would love to hear your friend's specific observations and how the deviate from the above account of my behavior - perhaps specifically how I constituted a "security threat". But seeing as he ID'd me as a "united gold" who "refused to not be first on the flight" (this entire exchange happened after boarding had commenced?) I'm becoming skeptical he has honest commentary on that. Perhaps he found my behavior distasteful but can corroborate the facts above otherwise.
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