AA gate agent sold my First seat (P) for an upgrade

 
Old Mar 26, 14, 9:24 am
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AA gate agent sold my First seat (P) for an upgrade

Hello - I am currently navigating a situation that I have no idea how to handle, having even been an experienced flyer (not elite on anything currently).

Here was my recent itinerary for 3/19/14:

IND-ORD via American Eagle (operated by Republic) First Class (P)
ORD-PSP via AA, First Class (P)


My flight into ORD was a bit late due to plane issues, but was parked at the gate next door to the PSP bound flight. I got off the plane, and went to board the PSP flight about 15 mins before departure. The gate agent asks my name, and says "You'll be sitting in 31B" (on an MD83). I say that I am seated in first class, and she says "oh, well we didn't think you would make it, so we sold your seat as an upgrade." With 15 minutes to departure, I was shocked, startled, and angry, so after checking if I could be seated on the morning flight in first (which was full), I boarded the plane in economy. She said "well, you can get a refund."

I get on the plane (remember I'm in 31B, which is an aisle seat and my preference), and the flight attendant says she's closed off the row, and makes me sit on the 3 seat side, at the window seat. I usually sit in the aisle to stretch my leg, because I have a mild leg condition, causing my leg to swell up and fall asleep easier on board long flights (this one was 4.5 hours).

I called reservations, and got directed to customer service, who is still reviewing my case, and hasn't called me yet. I know I've been elevated to a different team because of my leg condition. I am requesting a full refund of the entirety of the ticket in voucher form. I also would like my bonus miles that I did not receive, because my seating in the system got changed to 'Y' from 'P'. How can I make this happen? AA customer service seems so bureaucratic, insensitive, and convoluted.

Sorry about the long post - the situation is so strange, and I would love perspectives from more experienced AA flyers. I was mostly checking it out, because I am primarily US, but considering a switch to United to remain with Star Alliance. Thanks for your help and consideration!
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Old Mar 26, 14, 9:34 am
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Report the F/A -- they do not have that authority!!!
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Old Mar 26, 14, 9:44 am
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As this pertains to the legacy AA operations, the thread is being moved tonthe pre-merger American Airlines forum.

Your understanding is appreciated.

/Moderator
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Old Mar 26, 14, 9:50 am
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P is usually a Y-up fare, so probably wont get your refund based on that. It's been discussed here many times on different threads.
The only issue I see is with the FA not letting you sit in your assigned seat.
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Old Mar 26, 14, 9:55 am
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Will probably come down to (the GA part-- the FA issue is separate) to your:

went to board the PSP flight about 15 mins before departure.
reference. Was it 15 minutes? A bit more? A bit less? And exact timeframe might be the decider. Where the plane(s) were parked not relevant, only when you presented yourself for boarding.
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Old Mar 26, 14, 10:03 am
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I would think she checked in at IND, and issued the boarding passes.

I never check in with the GA.

I'd show my BP, to the FA, and let them deal with it.
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Old Mar 26, 14, 10:07 am
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if you were at the gate at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure, then your seat in F should not have been given to someone else. AA should be able to determine the exact time you were given you Y boarding pass, and/or what time your original F seat was released/reassigned, but it will take some digging.

FAs have the ability to re-seat paxs for safety issues, etc. on board.
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Old Mar 26, 14, 10:09 am
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I was issued a BP at IND at check in, but the GA at ORD took my original and gave me a new one, because the upgrade she sold (my original seat) already had boarded the plane. Meaning, she probably sold the upgrade around when boarding started, because they had already re-ticketed me when I was about to board with my original BP in first class.
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Old Mar 26, 14, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by wallyflyer View Post
Hello - I am currently navigating a situation that I have no idea how to handle, having even been an experienced flyer (not elite on anything currently).
Welcome to Flyertalk.

If it had happened to me, I would have calmly stood at the gate and quietly requested that the gate agent locate a seat in First Class for me. In fact, it has happened to me a few times over the years and without fail, the agents manage to find a seat for me in my assigned cabin. Of course, elite status probably helped immensely each time.

Most every time it's been because of a delayed connecting AA or Eagle connecting flight. I'm well-acquainted with the ORD penalty box.

As a non-status passenger, the reality is that you get pushed around a lot more and you won't be treated well by any of the legacy airlines. When the rules require you to be at the gate ready to board at least 15 minutes in advance, and you aren't there, even because of their failure, then they'll give away your seat.
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Old Mar 26, 14, 10:59 am
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These UP fares are so sleazy, especially considering that most travelers aren't FTers and have no idea what an UP fare is....
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Old Mar 26, 14, 11:23 am
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Even if he was a hair under the 15 minute limit, the GA had already had time to realize he wasn't there, process an upgrade for someone else, go find them and move them (if already in board), or board them, etc. Seems pretty plausible that this happened well in advance of 15 minutes ("we didn't think you'd make it").

Rules are rules, and if he turned up at 14 minutes there will likely be no recourse (even though it clearly wasn't your fault—sorry OP). But hiding behind the rules leaves a bad taste in my mouth: I bet the result on the ground would have been identical if he'd shown up at 16 minutes. UP fares are sleazy, as is the general indifference we often hear about directed towards paid First passengers (at least domestically) on here. I think it's a real shame.
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Old Mar 26, 14, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by wallyflyer View Post
I was issued a BP at IND at check in, but the GA at ORD took my original and gave me a new one, because the upgrade she sold (my original seat) already had boarded the plane. Meaning, she probably sold the upgrade around when boarding started, because they had already re-ticketed me when I was about to board with my original BP in first class.
Can you answer Jon's question?

When, exactly, were you at the departure gate? More than 15 minutes before departure? Less?
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Old Mar 26, 14, 11:59 am
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Flightaware says that the Republic-operated IND-ORD last Wednesday didn't even pull up to the gate until 13 min before your PSP flight was to depart, so I'm impressed you even made the flight at all. It's unfortunate, but I don't think you have any beef - at all - with the gate agent.

I would, however, be ticked at the flight attendant. I assume they just wanted it for their own use, which is deplorable. In hindsight, I probably would have politely responded that I'm happy to move to whatever seat necessary, but that I need to be in an aisle seat for medical reasons. You never know how far they're wanting to push these things.
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Old Mar 26, 14, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by SAN-man View Post
Flightaware says that the Republic-operated IND-ORD last Wednesday didn't even pull up to the gate until 13 min before your PSP flight was to depart, so I'm impressed you even made the flight at all...
ahhhh, the power of the internet
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Old Mar 26, 14, 12:39 pm
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There are two entirely separate issues here and they should not be mixed and mingled:

1. F Seat - "About 15 minutes" is unfortunately exactly where there can be no uncertainty. It is binary. Either OP was at the gate and ready to board by T-15 or not. If not, it would be entirely appropriate to reassign the F seat (and even deny boarding if the flight were full). It does not matter whether the GA did this prior to T-15 (presumably the case) because OP was no longer entitled to the F seat if late. AA's systems will reflect, to the second, the time at which the Y BP was issued.

If it turns out that OP was at the gate prior to T-15, OP is entitled to a refund of the fare difference between the fare for the cabin paid and the cabin flown. If OP was on an -UP fare, that is $0. In that case, OP receives no compensation, but will likely receive the standard AA customer service gesture.

2. F/A Reseating - Any idea why this occured. Crew have general authority to reseat pax, but there has to be a reason. Given that OP sat adjacent to the closed off side of the cabin, hopefully OP can shed some light on the why.

On the subject of the medical issue, if a particular seat is important for medical reasons, that should be noted in the record at the time of booking and the time to resolve that was at the time the FA required the reseating. If indeed there was a reason why reseating needed to occur and a medical reason for the seat OP wanted, the FA is authorized to and presumably would have moved others around to secure OP the type of seat needed.
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