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No denied boarding compensation if reserved overhead bin space is unavailable

No denied boarding compensation if reserved overhead bin space is unavailable

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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:19 am
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No denied boarding compensation if reserved overhead bin space is unavailable

On May 25, I was boarding AA flight 2555 from DFW to DTW departing at 12:30 PM. My boarding pass was for a main cabin extra exit row seat in boarding group three. As the agent was about to scan my boarding pass, an announcement was made that all the overhead bin spaces were full. Passengers were not allowed to enter the jetway with their roller bag as their carry-on was now forbidden to board with no available bin space. After the announcement, passengers with a roller bag must surrender their bag at the gate and, assume all risks of loss or damage for fragile checked bags or, take a later flight if they did not want to be denied boarding for their scheduled flight. On arrival, your passenger bag must be retrieved at baggage claim.

American Airlines advertises on their aircraft that the main cabin extra and first class overhead bins are reserved. As groups five through nine had not boarded, the reserved overhead bins should have been available. The gate agent said once an announcement was made that overhead space is full, the only remedy was to take the next flight, which was AA 2753 departing 6:42 PM. if you want to carry-on your standard size roller bag. The gate agent was also concerned about an on-time departure so they claim they did not have time to check for available closet or overhead bin space. The flight departed four minutes early.

Because of high-value electronics in my carry-on, I waited more than six hours for the next flight. However, due to a mechanical issue of a flat tire on the next flight AA2753, our scheduled departure of 6:42 PM was now 7:47 PM. Why pay more to select a first class or main cabin extra seat if the bin space for your luggage is not reserved and easily accessible as advertised. Flight delays due to an American Airlines mechanical issue on flight 2753 and the lack of reserved overhead space for my one piece of hand carry luggage are frustrating. AA did not offer involuntary denied boarding compensation but instead offered 7,500 AAdvantage miles for the inconvenience of arriving more than seven hours late. Is this fair? What would you do?

Main Cabin Extra overhead luggage bin on American Airlines.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:25 am
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No, this does not qualify DOT IDB compensation (which is limited to oversale situations where there are not enough seats for passengers with confirmed tickets on flight and has nothing to do with overhead space availability). They can verify the flight was not oversold and will reject the claim. You might get some miles if you complain, but they are not going to write you a check.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:31 am
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That's extremely unusual they would have used up all overhead bin space while still boarding groups 1-4.

Were you boarding late in the process?
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:32 am
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Bummer but not much you can do about it except boarding as soon as your group is called - which it sounds you might not have?
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:34 am
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Reserved MCE overhead space is not a the same as a guarantee that every MCE passenger can bring aboard their carryon

There may have been MCE customers that groups 1-4 who used all the MCE reserved overhead space
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:39 am
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I was boarding on time, and not late. The gate agent was training a new person who was concerned about a D0 objective. I guess the agents did a good job as the flight was able to depart four minutes early. If the first-class and main cabin extra overhead bin space are not really reserved, why advertise that it is?
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
That's extremely unusual they would have used up all overhead bin space while still boarding groups 1-4.

Were you boarding late in the process?
Fly DFW-ORD on a Monday AM and I'd be shocked if there's space in MCE bins after group 2.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by longtimereader firstimeposter View Post
Fly DFW-ORD on a Monday AM and I'd be shocked if there's space in MCE bins after group 2.
I was boarding on time in the priority line. I was surprised to hear all the overhead bin space was full so early in the boarding process.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by ceieoc View Post
I was boarding on time, and not late. The gate agent was training a new person who was concerned about a D0 objective. I guess the agents did a good job as the flight was able to depart four minutes early. If the first-class and main cabin extra overhead bin space are not really reserved, why advertise that it is?

And first/MCE bin space is reserved, but it happens on every flight I've ever been on that a small number of MCE customers to take up all reserved bin space, causing the rest of the MCE to look elsewhere.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:48 am
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Unless the flight was very, very heavy CK/EXP/PP elite I can't believe that all overheads were filled as Group 3 was boarding.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by ceieoc View Post
What would you do?
I would fly with my valuables under the seat in front of me. My time is the most valuable thing I travel with. It's not worth giving up.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Uncle Nonny View Post
I would fly with my valuables under the seat in front of me. My time is the most valuable thing I travel with. It's not worth giving up.
I agree. Unfortunately, my roller bag with my tools will not fit under the seat which is why I waited for the next flight.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 12:03 pm
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1. IDB Compensation is available under US law only if you are denied boarding due to an oversale. You were not. Thus, no IDB.
2. AA does not guarantee OH space to any passenger. It simply states that space above F seats is for F passengers and above MCE for MCE passengers. There is nowhere near enough space to accommodate all "legal" carry ons on a typical narrow body. Unfortunately and for whatever reason, you were too late to get space.
3. You could send a note to AA and it is possible that AA will send you some small gesture, but it will not be much and it will not be compensation.

While Group 3 sounds as though it is early in the process, it comes after not only Groups 1 and 2, but a whole bunch of people such as uniformed military and handicapped. On any given flight, that could be a little or a lot.

For the future, I have a foldable single-use (but they last longer) bag which is in my carryon. Should I need to gate check, I can quickly dump the valuables into that bag and if there is no OH space, it will certainly fit under the seat in front of me. or I can find a FA to help me.

UA & DL are no different.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 12:05 pm
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The 7,500 mile offer in this case seems more than fair, IMHO.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by ceieoc View Post
I agree. Unfortunately, my roller bag with my tools will not fit under the seat which is why I waited for the next flight.
My tools travel in the belly of the plane in a locked Pelican. I also have insurance for my tools. I board in Group 1 or 2 and rarely use the overheard bins. I like having everything I need within reach. Listen, it's unfortunate but not unheard of. It was your choice to take the later flight.
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