AA Oversells AA76, Strands 27 8th Graders at LAX

 
Old Apr 2, 13, 1:20 pm
  #61  
 
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Originally Posted by BA0197 View Post
So we do know that they were relatively late in checking-in.
According to the news clip they arrived at the airport 2 hours before scheduled departure. If they did actually check in at that time, I would be a little surprised if they were the very last ones to check in.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:21 pm
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Simple. Forget IDB. No way they could not have found 6 people to VDB if they had simply offered a nice $800 voucher along with routing on some other reasonable connecting flight.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:22 pm
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post
You are miscontrsuing what at least I intended to say. All I'm saying is that AA has a protocol for IDBs. Whether an individual person or not is aware of it is irrelevant. The point is that it should be followed consistently - especially given that those who know of it may act upon it (e.g., checking at T-24 when they don't have a seat assignment).
Why? That's what happened in this case and the outcome is clearly suboptimal. Yes, if GAs always "follow the protocol" then those of us who know the rules can use them to our advantage, but in this case an application of common sense would have resulted in a much better outcome for the large group and for AA, and probably only a nominally worse outcome for the six people who got IDBed. As others have pointed out, it would be way easier to get six people on flights onto their eventual destination than trying to find the next option with 27 seats available on short notice.

So, in terms of total delay, we're talking something like 6 people times (let's guess) 4 hours. 24 person hours of inconvenience. As an alternative, we're talking about 27 people times something like 24 hours, so 648 hours, or 27 times worse in terms of total impact. And it cost AA more. Following the procedure for the sake of the procedure as opposed to trying to make a good decision isn't good customer service--it's what robots do.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:23 pm
  #64  
 
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Originally Posted by beerup View Post
According to the news clip they arrived at the airport 2 hours before scheduled departure. If they did actually check in at that time, I would be a little surprised if they were the very last ones to check in.
Arrived, possible. But not fully checked-in. By the time they could sort out everything. They could have been checking in an hour to 45 min before the flight. 27 people traveller requires at least 3 hours. I truly think it was bad planning and a late checkin that caused this. (It is the only thing that could, btw).
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post
That costs AA $$$. I think its safe to assume that these tickets were at relatively low rates.
They were slightly less ($13.76) than the average fare paid for that flight.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
When our kids were in middle school, they had the opportunity to visit the east coast, Wash DC on educational trips; in EVERY case, the school used a travel agency, experienced in group travel for kids, who worked such details to prevent such outcomes.
They did use a travel agent that specializes in school group travel.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:31 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by jordyn View Post
Why? That's what happened in this case and the outcome is clearly suboptimal. Yes, if GAs always "follow the protocol" then those of us who know the rules can use them to our advantage, but in this case an application of common sense would have resulted in a much better outcome for the large group and for AA, and probably only a nominally worse outcome for the six people who got IDBed. As others have pointed out, it would be way easier to get six people on flights onto their eventual destination than trying to find the next option with 27 seats available on short notice.

So, in terms of total delay, we're talking something like 6 people times (let's guess) 4 hours. 24 person hours of inconvenience. As an alternative, we're talking about 27 people times something like 24 hours, so 648 hours, or 27 times worse in terms of total impact. And it cost AA more. Following the procedure for the sake of the procedure as opposed to trying to make a good decision isn't good customer service--it's what robots do.
It was the school's decision to offload everyone. Maybe there were legitimate reasons for that. But as someone said, unless we are talking death, why insert that kind of subjectivity into the equation? We argue tooth and nail about denying GA's that type of subjectivity for standby and upgrades.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:38 pm
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AApologists are out in full force today. Ridiculous.

I once took an $800 VDB voucher out of business class from BOS-LHR because a Mass school had a large group on board going to London during school vacation week. I ended up taking the bus over to terminal E to catch a flight on BA in Club World which left two hours later. I was quite happy to help out (frantic GA, nervous chaperone, and the lucky kid who got my business class seat). Gate agent had to IDB 4 people even with two volunteers...the IDBs got around $1200 in cash each. There is no reason why this gate agent could not have done the same.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:39 pm
  #69  
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It is amazing to hear the people on this chain claiming that it is the principal's fault or the children's fault. Have a little compassion for what sound to me like perfectly reasonable people who do not get on an airplane multiple times per week like some of us. Add to that this was an incredibly expensive, once-in-a-lifetime experience for some (see references in the video and new story to the fact that the school had never done this before and some kids had never been on a plane or even "left the time zone").

27 children bought tickets on a flight for a big-deal trip. They thought that if they paid good money for a ticket and showed up on time, AA would live up to its side of the deal and transport them from point A to point B. They are not experts on oversales, denied boarding compensation or other similar issues.

AA ran out of seats. It happens. It happens often. That is not a huge deal. The chaperones didn't split up the group (there were multiple, since the video shows both a parent and the principal who were both accompanying the group). This makes perfect sense to me. If there were two chaperone for 27 kids, that is a lot easier to handle and safer than 1 chaperon for 21 kids.

This one was easy enough to solve (as several of the more reasonable heads here have pointed out). Instead, AA stuck to its guns, messed up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 27 kids (chopped at least a day off their trip), got dragged through the mud by the press and had to spring for a bunch of hotel rooms in Dallas.

I understand why airlines oversell flight. It makes a lot of sense. I don't have a problem with it in general. But, when more people show up holding tickets than you have seats, you need to start with, "I am really sorry. Sometimes our computer models are not perfect and we make mistakes. This is one of those times. We are going to do everything we can to make it right for you." It sounds like someone at AA eventually came to this conclusion, but only after they got a call from a television station asking for a comment.

This is very different than, "See, right here in the fine print on your ticket envelope, it says..."
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:43 pm
  #70  
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Originally Posted by MaineFlyer16 View Post
AApologists are out in full force today. Ridiculous.
There's just not enough details in the news stories to put a complete picture together. We're missing things like how the VDB/IDB process worked and if those procedures/announcements were followed. If VDB procedures were followed, as I know them from taking a number of bumps in the past, how come no one has mentioned the dollar denomination of the vouchers offered to get volunteers? Could it be they were not offered at all? Just a lot of missing pieces that raise even more questions.

We're pretty good here at asking the right questions, but we don't always have access to the correct answers, particularly when we're relying on a media report and not a first-hand account.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:45 pm
  #71  
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Originally Posted by MaineFlyer16 View Post
AApologists are out in full force today. Ridiculous.
Interesting. So, an AA employee follows policy, and the people who support that decision are AApologists. When AA fails to follow stated policy, people who support the organization are AApologists. It's amusing how we can always find people to whine "Appologist" no matter what happens

I'm not taking a stand on this as I can see both sides, and this really is in the minutiae category. But it's just amusing how often people use that word without, obviously, really knowing anything about the details.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:59 pm
  #72  
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
Interesting. So, an AA employee follows policy, and the people who support that decision are AApologists. When AA fails to follow stated policy, people who support the organization are AApologists. It's amusing how we can always find people to whine "Appologist" no matter what happens

I'm not taking a stand on this as I can see both sides, and this really is in the minutiae category. But it's just amusing how often people use that word without, obviously, really knowing anything about the details.

Cheers.
Does anyone actually have a copy of AA's IDB procedure? I'd be shocked if GA's weren't given discretion to skip people on the list if IDBing them would create a significant burden for the airline, as is the case of attempting to split up a group of 27 children.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 1:59 pm
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post
It was the school's decision to offload everyone. Maybe there were legitimate reasons for that. But as someone said, unless we are talking death, why insert that kind of subjectivity into the equation? We argue tooth and nail about denying GA's that type of subjectivity for standby and upgrades.
You don't need any subjectivity--any group that is booked together is likely going to want to stay together, so when you IDB one you're effectively IDBing all. I certainly wouldn't split up from my wife while I was travelling somewhere, and both of us are very experienced travelers.

It's really silly when people say things like "it's the school's decision to offload everyone". The airline put them in a terrible position--they had to choose between splitting up a large group of children or offloading everyone. Neither of these are good options. When someone holds a gun to your head and says "give me all your money or I'll shoot", no one would say that you weren't really robbed because it was your decision to hand over the money. You just took the less bad of the two options that were available, neither of which were what you had intended in the first place.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 2:11 pm
  #74  
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Originally Posted by rjque View Post
Does anyone actually have a copy of AA's IDB procedure?
Here's what is in the conditions of carriage:

OVERSALES

If a flight is oversold (more passengers hold confirmed reservations than there are seats available), no one may be denied boarding against his or her will until airline personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservation willingly, in exchange for compensation of the airline’s choosing. If there are not enough volunteers, other passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with the following boarding priority of American. In such events, 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.
If you are denied boarding involuntarily, you are entitled to a payment of ‘‘denied boarding compensation’’ from the airline unless:

You have not fully complied with the airline’s ticketing, check-in and reconfirmation requirements, or you are not acceptable for transportation under the airline’s usual rules and practices; or
You are denied boarding because the flight is canceled; or
You are denied boarding because a smaller capacity aircraft was substituted for safety or operational reasons; or
On a flight operated with an aircraft having 60 or fewer seats, you are denied boarding due to safety-related weight/balance restrictions that limit payload; or
You are offered accommodations in a section of the aircraft other than specified in your ticket, at no extra charge (a passenger seated in a section for which a lower fare is charged must be given an appropriate refund); or
The airline is able to place you on another flight or flights that are planned to reach your next stopover or final destination within one hour of the planned arrival time of your original flight.

Domestic Transportation

Passengers traveling between points within the United States (including the territories and possessions) who are denied boarding involuntarily from an oversold flight are entitled to:

No compensation if the carrier offers alternate transportation that is planned to arrive at the passenger’s destination or first stopover not later than one hour after the planned arrival time of the passenger’s original flight;
200% of the fare to the passenger’s destination or first stopover, with a maximum of $650, if the carrier offers alternate transportation that is planned to arrive at the passenger’s destination or first stopover more than one hour but less than two hours after the planned arrival time of the passenger’s original flight; and
400% of the fare to the passenger’s destination or first stopover, with a maximum of $1,300, if the carrier does not offer alternate transportation that is planned to arrive at the airport of the passenger’s destination or first stopover less than two hours after the planned arrival time of the passenger’s original flight.
0 to 1 hour arrival delay - No compensation.
1 to 2 hour arrival delay - 200% of one-way fare (but no more than $650).
Over 2 hours arrival delay - 400% of one-way fare (but no more than $1,300).
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Old Apr 2, 13, 2:29 pm
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
Interesting. So, an AA employee follows policy, and the people who support that decision are AApologists. When AA fails to follow stated policy, people who support the organization are AApologists. It's amusing how we can always find people to whine "Appologist" no matter what happens

I'm not taking a stand on this as I can see both sides, and this really is in the minutiae category. But it's just amusing how often people use that word without, obviously, really knowing anything about the details.

Cheers.
Agree.

Hardly AApologist to simply say that it was a bad situation all around and that blame need not be put on either side. IMO, based on the limited facts presented, the principal made the decision to keep his group whole and the AAgent decided not to IDB people who should not have been IDB.

Both decisions can be the right ones and still result in a suboptimal outcome. Such is life.
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