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IDB / Involuntarily Denied Boarding on AA & Compensation (master thread)

IDB / Involuntarily Denied Boarding on AA & Compensation (master thread)

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Old Feb 25, 19, 1:28 pm   -   Wikipost
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IDB / Involuntarily Denied Boarding on AA & Compensation


NOTE: See AA Bump Rates; compensation for VDB / Voluntary Denied Boarding (consolidated) for VOLUNTARY denied boarding.

Passengers involuntarily denied boarding on AA are denied usually after calls for volunteers to accept vouchers (and occasionally variable other benefits), usually beginning at $200 or $300 but possibly going significantly higher, depending on passenger response. See more below, from AA Conditions of Carriage.

Link to AA Conditions of Carriage, "Oversales"

"DBC" (involuntarily) denied boarding compensation is governed in the USA by "14 CFR 250.5 - Amount of denied boarding compensation for passengers denied boarding involuntarily".

Link to CFR §250.5

CFR §250.2b Carriers to request volunteers for denied boarding.

(a) In the event of an oversold flight, every carrier shall request volunteers for denied boarding before using any other boarding priority. A “volunteer” is a person who responds to the carrier's request for volunteers and who willingly accepts the carriers' offer of compensation, in any amount, in exchange for relinquishing the confirmed reserved space. Any other passenger denied boarding is considered for purposes of this part to have been denied boarding involuntarily, even if that passenger accepts the denied boarding compensation.

(b) Every carrier shall advise each passenger solicited to volunteer for denied boarding, no later than the time the carrier solicits that passenger to volunteer, whether he or she is in danger of being involuntarily denied boarding and, if so, the compensation the carrier is obligated to pay if the passenger is involuntarily denied boarding. If an insufficient number of volunteers come forward, the carrier may deny boarding to other passengers in accordance with its boarding priority rules.

14 CFR §250.9 Written explanation of denied boarding compensation and boarding priorities, and verbal notification of denied boarding compensation.

(a) Every carrier shall furnish passengers who are denied boarding involuntarily from flights on which they hold confirmed reserved space immediately after the denied boarding occurs, a written statement explaining the terms, conditions, and limitations of denied boarding compensation, and describing the carriers' boarding priority rules and criteria. The carrier shall also furnish the statement to any person upon request at all airport ticket selling positions which are in the charge of a person employed exclusively by the carrier, or by it jointly with another person or persons, and at all boarding locations being used by the carrier.
Link to US Dept. of Transportation Aviation Consumer Protection Division's "Fly-Rights - A Consumer Guide to Air Travel" section on Overbooking

In the European Union, EC261/2004 governs denied boarding compensation.

Link to EC261 / EC 261/2004 complaints and AA (master thread)

On American Airlines, you are sometimes ineligible for IDB as allowed by the USDOT:

Code:
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.
The previous thread is http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...solidated.html

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Old Oct 18, 16, 11:02 am
  #136  
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First, the DOT IDB rules most certainly apply. It is fine that AA chose the seats which needed to be emptied, but that did not alleviate AA's obligation to follow both DOT rules and its own policy of IDB in a pre-specified order. While I suppose that it is possible that you were among the last to check-in at T-4, that seems odd.

You are indeed each entitled to 400% of the value of your SAN-CLT ticket up to a maximum of $1,350. That is payable in cash, not AA's funny money credits. AA is free to have offered that as part of VDB, you were IDB and then dealt with, so cash it is (or check at this point).

The value of your ticket is not 1/2 of the RT, but what you paid for it and it is not a question of what is fair, but what you paid. Take a look at your e-ticket receipt and you will see what the SAN-CLT ticket cost. That is what the IDB comp is calculated from.

AA was still obligated to ask for volunteers and its failure to do so was a violation of DOT rules. That won't change your compensation, but you should nonetheless complain because, as you can see, the failure worked a hardship for you when there were likely people who would have been happy to spend the night for a voucher.

Ordinarily I would suggest that you complain to AA. But, AA already told you to complain to DOT. So, you should.

In your complaint, ask that DOT investigate the rules violation and enter an Enforcement order directing AA to pay you cash compensation of 400% of your SAN-CLT ticket and to investigate why you were IDB without a request for volunteers.

Make it plain in your complaint that you were not offered cash (check) and that you were told to complain to DOT.

DOT won't do anything to AA. But, DOT will forward your complaint to AA and it will get a bit more attention because this one can't have been properly written up by the staff at SAN.
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Old Oct 18, 16, 11:05 am
  #137  
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Originally Posted by FSUnole03 View Post
Wouldn't this be only if the passenger was misbehaving and the flight crew were giving them instructions which they were continuing to refuse to obey?

It looks like the only people refusing to follow instructions were the AA agents who didn't solicit volunteers first, which is required by the DOT.
In a single word, No.

The crime is the failure to follow a lawful crewmember order. While it is not likely that there would be serious consequences to OP from a bit of jawboning from his seat, it would most certainly take his situation out from under IDB rules and just turn this into a passenger removed at the Captain's direction (presumably after the FA reports the conduct).

AA faces fines for not soliciting volunteers, but the whole point is that you don't get to "litigate" who is right and wrong on the spot. That's what DOT does (or doesn't). Your "job" is to obey the direction.
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Old Oct 18, 16, 11:56 am
  #138  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
First, the DOT IDB rules most certainly apply. It is fine that AA chose the seats which needed to be emptied, but that did not alleviate AA's obligation to follow both DOT rules and its own policy of IDB in a pre-specified order. While I suppose that it is possible that you were among the last to check-in at T-4, that seems odd.
AA's pre-specified order is pretty vague and uses a lot of weasel words like "usually" and "may":
Originally Posted by CoC
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.
Perhaps most or all of the people checking in after the OP had AAdvantage status. These days with the ubiquity of apps, print-at-home, and check-in reminder e-mails at T-24, I don't find it quite so odd that someone checking in at T-4 is among the last to check in.

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
AA was still obligated to ask for volunteers and its failure to do so was a violation of DOT rules. That won't change your compensation, but you should nonetheless complain because, as you can see, the failure worked a hardship for you when there were likely people who would have been happy to spend the night for a voucher.

Ordinarily I would suggest that you complain to AA. But, AA already told you to complain to DOT. So, you should.
This is key. They should have asked for volunteers.
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Old Oct 18, 16, 11:58 am
  #139  
 
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I also hope that you get everything for a true IDB in this situation. We all know at a $500 voucher, AA would easily get volunteers. This seems like a lose-lose, but only if the IDB passengers get AA to pay up the IDB money (which seems like a gamble by the airline).

Rasheed

Last edited by rasheed; Oct 18, 16 at 12:15 pm
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Old Oct 18, 16, 9:34 pm
  #140  
 
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Can't assign seat during mobile check-in

I am a BA Silver (OWS) and infrequent AA domestic flier. Currently unable to use mobile check in for a domestic fight tomorrow evening - giving an error that "we were unable to assign a seat". I will only be able to get to the airport around T-90mins tomorrow evening. Am I in for trouble or is there anything I can do to minimise chance of IDB?

Thanks.

- Dambus
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Old Oct 18, 16, 9:47 pm
  #141  
 
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Originally Posted by Dambus View Post
I am a BA Silver (OWS) and infrequent AA domestic flier. Currently unable to use mobile check in for a domestic fight tomorrow evening - giving an error that "we were unable to assign a seat". I will only be able to get to the airport around T-90mins tomorrow evening. Am I in for trouble or is there anything I can do to minimise chance of IDB?

Thanks.

- Dambus
It is not terribly unusual to not be able to check-in online via the mobile app -- it happens to me with some frequency. Almost invariably, I'm able to check in at the kiosk or with the agent without any issues anyway.

If you're getting a message about not being able to get a seat assignment, it's possible that your flight is oversold and that AA is waiting to see what the actual load will be closer to flight time, whether there are likely to be no-shows and/or misconnects.

Worst case, you may get a seat request card (instead of a boarding pass) and the gate agent may be looking for volunteers in order to free up seats. AA is required by DOT rules to seek volunteers first, before IDB-ing anyone.

If you can provide flight details, people could check the flight load and availability and see if it's oversold.
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Old Oct 18, 16, 9:55 pm
  #142  
 
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Originally Posted by akcae View Post
It is not terribly unusual to not be able to check-in online via the mobile app -- it happens to me with some frequency. Almost invariably, I'm able to check in at the kiosk or with the agent without any issues anyway.

If you're getting a message about not being able to get a seat assignment, it's possible that your flight is oversold and that AA is waiting to see what the actual load will be closer to flight time, whether there are likely to be no-shows and/or misconnects.

Worst case, you may get a seat request card (instead of a boarding pass) and the gate agent may be looking for volunteers in order to free up seats. AA is required by DOT rules to seek volunteers first, before IDB-ing anyone.

If you can provide flight details, people could check the flight load and availability and see if it's oversold.
Thanks - it's AA4614 ATL-ORD Oct 19th. All seats in Y seems to be assigned, only F still available for purchase.

[Update] Three Y seats are now showing as available on the seat map but I can't assign myself to any of them and still getting the same error if I try to check-in. Am I flagged as a possible IDB perhaps? Look like I'll just have to run the gauntlet at the airport...

Last edited by Dambus; Oct 19, 16 at 4:34 am Reason: Update
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Old Oct 19, 16, 8:15 am
  #143  
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It is showing F4 A4 P2 Y4 right now. Still 4 seats for sale in Y. I think you should be fine but since it is the last flight to ORD I would get there early if possible.

Last edited by JTK; Oct 19, 16 at 8:15 am Reason: typo
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Old Oct 19, 16, 1:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Dambus View Post
Thanks - it's AA4614 ATL-ORD Oct 19th. All seats in Y seems to be assigned, only F still available for purchase.

[Update] Three Y seats are now showing as available on the seat map but I can't assign myself to any of them and still getting the same error if I try to check-in. Am I flagged as a possible IDB perhaps? Look like I'll just have to run the gauntlet at the airport...
There are 17 seats open in coach right now - 7 blocked for assignment (8D, 13DF, 23ACDF), 4 premium only (8C, 9A, 9F, 12C) but 6 seats which anyone should be able to reserve (16A, 18F, 19D, 20A, 21C, 22F).

No one is flagged as a possible IDB until at the airport with more passengers than seats.

Greg
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Old Oct 19, 16, 2:53 pm
  #145  
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Originally Posted by Dambus View Post
... Currently unable to use mobile check in for a domestic fight tomorrow evening - giving an error that "we were unable to assign a seat". I will only be able to get to the airport around T-90mins tomorrow evening. Am I in for trouble or is there anything I can do to minimise chance of IDB? ...
For reference, at any stage did you have a preallocated seat?
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Old Oct 19, 16, 3:36 pm
  #146  
 
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Thanks everyone for the thoughtful responses regarding me and my family getting IDB'ed from our red-eye trip from San Diego. Will definitely complain to the DOT and AA regarding not asking for volunteers. Even though it's the last flight of the day, I'm sure they would've gotten volunteers for a price far cheaper than the 400% one-way fare, and alleviated much heart-ache on our part.

Speaking of the 400% one-way determination. How do I determine that amount, if I booked the trip as multi-legged roundtrip? My outbound flight was SAN-CLT-GSO, and return flight's GSO-DTW-SAN. I booked it as a round-trip and my e-ticket only shows $431.70 per round-trip ticket, and doesn't break it down via one-way components. Is there anything I can do to know how much I'm owe'd, rather than just trust AA to compensate me the right amount?
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Old Oct 27, 16, 5:06 am
  #147  
 
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Originally Posted by serfty View Post
For reference, at any stage did you have a preallocated seat?
To be honest I am not sure. This was a trip booked a couple of days in advance through our corporate TA. Normally they allocate a seat based on recorded preference but in this case I didn't check.

Thanks for all the responses above. I made the flight in the end.

Checked in at a kiosk and was given a boarding pass without a seat allocation and a note to see an agent. Check-in agent said see the gate agent closer to departure time. Quick call to reservations who said th flight was not oversold but could not help with a seat assignment. Hung around the gate area until about t-50mins, no agent staffing the gate. Ran down to the lounge and after some tapping the agent there managed to assign a seat at T-40mins (apparently multiple open seats so she couldn't explain what the problem was).

All's well that ends well I guess....
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Old Oct 27, 16, 6:34 am
  #148  
 
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Originally Posted by wetrat0 View Post
This is key. They should have asked for volunteers.
They're also obligated to provide bumped passengers with a description of their rights, which they clearly didn't do here either, so that should form part of the DOT complaint as well.
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Old Jan 1, 17, 3:27 pm
  #149  
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Originally Posted by inpd View Post
Hi,

If you read http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel...ation/7414701/ the facts are a little crazy.

The story claims that "When your flight is oversold and you're denied boarding, federal law requires an airline to pay you 200% of your one-way ticket price — up to $650 — if you're delayed by one hour, and 400% of your one-way ticket price — up to $1,300 — if you're delayed by two or more hours. But airlines don't always offer the full amount, instead dangling restrictive travel vouchers that expire after a year in front of their customers."

Has anyone tried asking these amounts from American? What are the names/numbers of the federal rules he refers to?

He's not referring to the $$ when asking for volunteers, rather than AA IDBed you.
I've been reminded it's up to $675 and $1,350 now.

Link to 14 CFR 250.5 is here.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 12:20 pm
  #150  
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
I've been reminded it's up to $675 and $1,350 now.

Link to 14 CFR 250.5 is here.
The link isn't working. Can you edit your post or post again?
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