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-   -   AA Oversells AA76, Strands 27 8th Graders at LAX (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american-airlines-aadvantage-pre-consolidation-usair/1454553-aa-oversells-aa76-strands-27-8th-graders-lax.html)

jordyn Apr 2, 13 8:27 am


Originally Posted by sts603 (Post 20522113)
How do you think those other passengers would have felt? Maybe they know IDB policy. Maybe they don't. But skipping over the last to check in passengers without seat assignments to IDB someone else goes against AA's protocol. If those passengers had seat assignments or had checked in at T-24 knowing that they didn't have seat assignments and were at risk for IDB - and still get IDBed anyways, I'd certainly be POed. These policies are in place for a reason. Anyone who wants to can learn how to best avoid an IDB.

They would probably feel really annoyed that they bought a ticket and then American didn't get them to their destination through no fault of their own. But there would be 6 of them and the plane would have left completely full.

As an alternative, 27 people felt really annoyed that they bought tickets and then American didn't get them to their destination through no fault of their own. And the plane flew with 20 empty seats.

The policy is designed to help American who to choose IDB, but the conditions of carriage already acknowledge that time of check-in is not a hard and fast rule:


American will usually deny boarding based upon check-in time, but we may also consider factors such as severe hardships, fare paid, and status within the AAdvantage® program.
The GA really should have used some discretion to try and achieve a better outcome.

norf9 Apr 2, 13 8:29 am


Originally Posted by coolbeans202 (Post 20522329)
I don't think that's an unreasonable request. Can you imagine the uproar if something were to happen to one of those 6 kids that he sent on another flight? If you have final responsibility for the safety of those kids, you can't exactly ensure that if they are 1500 miles away from you on a connecting flight in Dallas.

It's unreasonable because I seriously doubt you could find a flight with 27 open seats on that route. If there aren't that many seats open you would be back to bumping pax off the flight again. I'm assuming here that there were also chaperones flying with them. If he split off one of the chaperones into the delayed group there would be no issue. The main group could then just wait at the other end for the remaining students and resume the trip.

swajames Apr 2, 13 8:29 am

This happened to my son's 8th grade trip to DC in Feb. They were on US Airways from SFO and US bumped a number of kids from one of the two flights. As as aside, it most probably wasn't the school that made the flight bookings (either in my son's case or the case in point here). These trips to DC tend to get organized by specialist companies who handle all the logistics for the trip including all the flight arrangements. If that's what happened here it's more likely than not that the school isn't directly to blame, it's on both the trip planner and the airline - comments about the irresponsible principals/teachers etc are probably off-base. Anyway, nothing wrong with AA overbooking a flight, but there's everything wrong with AA accepting a group booking involving so many minors and not itself ensuring that things didn't turn out the way they did. One PNR with so many passengers (which may well have been the issue here) ought to have stuck out and raised a few flags pre-departure.

dmbtr3 Apr 2, 13 8:32 am


Originally Posted by rxziebel (Post 20522295)
I think everyone needs to remember something important here - these are not 27 frequent flyers going to a business meeting. These are CHILDREN who are so excited to be traveling to Washington for a trip. You can say all you want about what the adults "should" have done, but in the end AA (thru whatever decision maker) disappointed kids and made the airline look foolish.

Stop for a moment before you post and think about how you would feel if you son or daughter was in this situation. For days, they have been talking non-stop about the big adventure and counting down the minutes until the trip. Just to be told that they are not going any longer and have to go home.

Have we become so cold-hearted here on FT that disappointed children become acceptable because AA followed "procedure"? If so, then how sad.

Exactly. Let's have some perspective here. Even better, let's be rational. Why do we need to blame someone and get super excited? This is an unfortunate sequence of events. Do we need to blame the principal or school? No. I doubt the school felt they were putting the trip or students at risk. Sure, someone could have known better, but they did not. Do we blame AA? Assuming procedure was followed, it is what it is. Are GA's empowered to circumvent policy to do what's right? If I'm the GA and I depend on a small salary to feed my children, I'm not sure I would risk my job - or more likely maybe risk a good performance review? Maybe not. Do you think AA thought about groups of 25+ school children when creating policies? Doubtful.

Our culture today is to outrage over everything and force sides. Everyone should stop overreacting. AA should help the students get to IAD and learn from the event. The school (and all schools) should learn from the event. May we all be a bit wiser next time and may the kids enjoy Washington.

dat4life Apr 2, 13 8:44 am


Originally Posted by sts603 (Post 20522113)
How do you think those other passengers would have felt? Maybe they know IDB policy. Maybe they don't. But skipping over the last to check in passengers without seat assignments to IDB someone else goes against AA's protocol. If those passengers had seat assignments or had checked in at T-24 knowing that they didn't have seat assignments and were at risk for IDB - and still get IDBed anyways, I'd certainly be POed. These policies are in place for a reason. Anyone who wants to can learn how to best avoid an IDB.

Fair point. I know I would be pretty pissed off too. I may have been a little too harsh in saying "dropping the ball". The agent(s) working the flight were understandably just following the rules (no argument from me). Was it the right decision? Yes, as far as the letter of the rules go. Was it the best decision? Probably not. Not every school will or can send more than one chaparone for a group that size, so I understand why whoeever was in charge of the group did not want to send 6 underaged kids alone. And this leads us to this little PR incident. IDBing 8th graders, shock horror. IDBing a couple of middle age guys, meh.

Now, it's not to say the group is completely blameless. Yes, anyone can learn about how to avoid IDB, but realistically not many people will. They could have avoided this situation by paying for a few premium seats. But again, realistically it's probably not going to happen.

alhcfp Apr 2, 13 9:11 am

Am I correct that the only facts we have is Post #1 which tells us nothing
except everyone has to buy a new ticket? Which cannot be correct?

Are these the only FACTS?

FWAAA Apr 2, 13 9:35 am

Not only do we have very sketchy "facts" (some of which cannot possibly be correct, as pointed out) but we have lots of unsupported assumptions as well.

My children have traveled on similar teacher-sponsored/school approved trips, all of which were arranged by one of the numerous school trip travel agencies. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the travel arrangements of this trip were not arranged by the principal but the group used one of the travel agencies that specialize in middle-school trips to DC and New York.

The principal was the only adult? Not a chance. Zero chance of that one being accurate. No school, public or religious, would send 27 kids to DC with just one adult male chaperone.

From my reading of the "facts," it sounds like a lot of people dropped the ball here and let these children down.

As an aside, every one of my kids' school trips to the east coast flew on overnight redeyes so as to not waste an entire day flying. Someone dropped the ball right there.

alhcfp Apr 2, 13 9:51 am


Originally Posted by alhcfp (Post 20522638)
Am I correct that the only facts we have is Post #1 which tells us nothing
except everyone has to buy a new ticket? Which cannot be correct?

Are these the only FACTS?

Actually I can assign fault based on known facts.

The reporter and editors did a horrible job. Anyone with any knowledge of how the airline world works would have asked about IDB comp.

Antarius Apr 2, 13 9:56 am


Originally Posted by swajames (Post 20522357)
This happened to my son's 8th grade trip to DC in Feb. They were on US Airways from SFO and US bumped a number of kids from one of the two flights. As as aside, it most probably wasn't the school that made the flight bookings (either in my son's case or the case in point here). These trips to DC tend to get organized by specialist companies who handle all the logistics for the trip including all the flight arrangements. If that's what happened here it's more likely than not that the school isn't directly to blame, it's on both the trip planner and the airline - comments about the irresponsible principals/teachers etc are probably off-base. Anyway, nothing wrong with AA overbooking a flight, but there's everything wrong with AA accepting a group booking involving so many minors and not itself ensuring that things didn't turn out the way they did. One PNR with so many passengers (which may well have been the issue here) ought to have stuck out and raised a few flags pre-departure.

I still don't understand what you think AA should have done. IDB-ing pax who already had their seat assignments? How would that be fair to passengers who did their due diligence?

It is an unfortunate circumstance, yes. But I don't think it is anyones fault. "Stuff" happens.

beerup Apr 2, 13 10:05 am


Originally Posted by alhcfp (Post 20522638)
Am I correct that the only facts we have is Post #1 which tells us nothing
except everyone has to buy a new ticket? Which cannot be correct?

Are these the only FACTS?

No, there is also the fact (if you accept an update to the original article as fact) that the party was flown to DFW yesterday (original departure date), put up for the night at a Marriott and then are confirmed on the flight from DFW to IAD that leaves in about 5 min and is scheduled to arrive at 3 pm Eastern (22 hours after scheduled arrival on original itinerary). <in post #28>

alhcfp Apr 2, 13 10:12 am


Originally Posted by beerup (Post 20523000)
No, there is also the fact (if you accept an update to the original article as fact) that the party was flown to DFW yesterday (original departure date), put up for the night at a Marriott and then are confirmed on the flight from DFW to IAD that leaves in about 5 min and is scheduled to arrive at 3 pm Eastern (22 hours after scheduled arrival on original itinerary). <in post #28>

Those are facts, but sheds no new light on original issue and fault.

blagger Apr 2, 13 10:18 am


Originally Posted by Antarius (Post 20522936)
I still don't understand what you think AA should have done.

IDB is always a possibility for airlines that routinely overbook flights and it's up to them to balance the IDB risk/cost against the risk/cost of empty seats. When calculating the level of overbooking for that flight, AA should have taken into account that breaking up a large group of schoolkids is not usually an acceptable option.

Antarius Apr 2, 13 10:34 am


Originally Posted by blagger (Post 20523070)
IDB is always a possibility for airlines that routinely overbook flights and it's up to them to balance the IDB risk/cost against the risk/cost of empty seats. When calculating the level of overbooking for that flight, AA should have taken into account that breaking up a large group of schoolkids is not usually an acceptable option.

I don't think their system knows/identifies groups of school children. Nor do I think this is a worthwhile investment in upgrading the system for a one-off situation.

Further, once ticketed the only options were to IDB pax with seats or IDB those without seats. AA chose to follow policy.

Again, not really an issue that needs to have blame thrown around.

matrixwalker2012 Apr 2, 13 10:44 am


Originally Posted by harrison1186 (Post 20521937)
I can certainly understand why the chaparones refused to split up the group.

Someone from AA really dropped the ball. I agree with the another poster that 6 other passengers should have been IDB, regardless of protocol to avoid this PR mess.

Doesn't sound surprising. AA's culture is built entirely around each employee keeping their rear end out of the fire. Thus, each agent is mostly interested in their own preservation, not in solving the problem.

If they had a culture more like WN's, then this problem would've been easily solved.

Sure, you have your IDB priorities, but you should also NEVER screw around with groups full of minors.

ijgordon Apr 2, 13 10:56 am


Originally Posted by norf9 (Post 20522235)
I can, and I imagine the parents can as well. Yes, the premium seats are an extra fee, but that's not an excuse for not paying. They decided to cheap out on the tickets, and this is the end result. It's not fair to bump the responsible passengers who paid for their seats and checked in early to make room for this guy's group.

That's way out of line. If they had reservations and checked in before the deadline, they're just as entitled to fly as other so-called "responsible" passengers. I don't know where you get off thinking that those with seat assignments can't (or shouldn't) be IDBd, especially since they make it very clear that seat assignments are not guaranteed.

Obviously the best economic decision for AA would have been to IDB 6 other passengers, in terms of the re-accommodation costs they're now incurring and the bad PR. But I guess this GA couldn't see the forest through the trees.


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