SAN - Rude/Unprofessional Gate Agent

Old Dec 16, 20, 8:15 pm
  #1  
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SAN - Rude/Unprofessional Gate Agent

Hello, all.

I flew AA non-stop SAN-ORD today.

I booked a regular economy ticket through a third party site and forgot to choose my seat ahead of time, so I was assigned seat 30E at some point before I checked in for the flight. I checked in about T-50, and attempted to change my seat to 15E and received an error message that it was too close to departure to change myself and to see an agent. The only other blue/free seats were middles or one aisle/window near the rear of the plane, which I did not want.

I approached the GA, asked to change to 15E, which after a few moments he did. As I was gathering my belongings to join the boarding lane, he says to me <first name>, you're on one of those $38 or $58 fares, so if I see you in any other seat except this one when I do my final walk-through, that's it, you're off the plane. These were his exact words.

He had been surly from the moment I stepped up to the podium so I did not escalate and just agreed to what he said and boarded. I assume he said this because many of the green/orange seats were empty, but still found it very rude to address me in a condescending nature and threaten to throw me off the plane after changing my seat. And no, my last name is not difficult to pronounce. That said, two questions:

1. If I send in a complaint can he be identified some how through my new boarding pass/seat change?
2. Is it worth complaining about or am I overreacting?
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Old Dec 16, 20, 8:48 pm
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I'd say yes, he can be identified, and yes, it's worth complaining about.
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Old Dec 16, 20, 9:43 pm
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Originally Posted by NRoften View Post
And no, my last name is not difficult to pronounce.
I'm sure no one thinks their last name is difficult to pronounce and yet someone in the world would find that last name difficult to pronounce. However, I don't see the relevance here.
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Old Dec 16, 20, 11:31 pm
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Originally Posted by emcat View Post
I'm sure no one thinks their last name is difficult to pronounce and yet someone in the world would find that last name difficult to pronounce. However, I don't see the relevance here.
I think the relevance is that they addressed the OP by first name only.

I personally don't care, but some might find it odd to be called by just their first name by a stranger.
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Old Dec 16, 20, 11:37 pm
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Yes, worth complaining about. That's well past mere laziness (which itself might be worth complaining about) and into the realm of gratuitous aggression.
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Old Dec 17, 20, 12:42 am
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The GA actually gave the seat you wanted and you enjoyed that seat for 4+ hours. Why would you complain about a 10 secs interaction?

Fact: Your complaint to AA will achieve nothing.
Even if it is possible to identify the GA name, he won't be reprimanded or sent back to training.

Objectively, he changed your seat as requested and emphasized to you company policy. He did not insult you. He did not use profane language.
All that there is here is YOUR perception that he had a surly tone.
Forget about it. Move on.
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Old Dec 17, 20, 12:50 am
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I don't believe that it is AA company policy that a person is not permitted to change to an unused seat on the aeroplane in the same cabin
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Old Dec 17, 20, 1:20 am
  #8  
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Pax changing seats after boarding are not really well received, in regards of safety & security.
If anything happens, it would be better, if the manifest could match pax & actual seat.

Identifying an agent would be easy, if he was signed-in at the gate. SABRE prints a 3-character agent-ID on every boarding pass. If there were multiple agents, there is a chance that somebody else's ID was printed.
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Old Dec 17, 20, 2:01 am
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Originally Posted by C46 View Post
Pax changing seats after boarding are not really well received, in regards of safety & security.
Yet it happens ALL the time.

Last edited by Always Flyin; Dec 17, 20 at 12:04 pm
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Old Dec 17, 20, 2:06 am
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If you don't like what they said, the manner in which they said it, then I would contact them. If he/she has form for it then I am sure it will be in the system somewhere.
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Old Dec 17, 20, 4:28 am
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Originally Posted by carlosdca View Post
Fact: Your complaint to AA will achieve nothing.
Even if it is possible to identify the GA name, he won't be reprimanded or sent back to training.
Perhaps true on a single complaint of this nature, but this is a numbers game, and typically we complain in the hope that it adds to enough others complaining of similar incidents.
Originally Posted by carlosdca View Post
Objectively, he changed your seat as requested and emphasized to you company policy.
Even in the strictest case, in response to someone changing seats onboard (which in fact is often acceptable) wouldn't company policy be first an instruction to return to the assigned seat, not summary deboarding?
Originally Posted by NRoften View Post
he says to me <first name>, you're on one of those $38 or $58 fares, so if I see you in any other seat except this one when I do my final walk-through, that's it, you're off the plane.
The offense, at the very least, is singling out a customer with a threat to deboard when they hadn't done a single thing wrong. That would make any customer feel unwelcome.
EDIT: In addition, linking treatment onboard to a judgement about the dollar amount paid for the ticket (i.e., that someone on a subjectively "low" fare can be treated worse -- not tied to published booking-class benefits/criteria) is not part of any AA policy I know of.

Last edited by FlyingEgghead; Dec 17, 20 at 4:37 am
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Old Dec 17, 20, 4:46 am
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The warning is not warranted. But other than CS perspective, I don't see anything wrong in this.

FWIW - you are not supposed to switch seats unless you have consulted an airline employee (GA or FA). Seat assignment is important sometimes as the airline has to balance the weight for take-off and landing.
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Old Dec 17, 20, 5:13 am
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I beg your pardon?
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Old Dec 17, 20, 5:16 am
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Originally Posted by Antarius View Post
I think the relevance is that they addressed the OP by first name only.

I personally don't care, but some might find it odd to be called by just their first name by a stranger.
I don't find it odd, but I do find it unprofessional and unduly familiar.
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Old Dec 17, 20, 6:42 am
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Thank you for all the responses.

In regards to the agent's perceived surliness, I say this because when I approached the podium I was greeted with "What do you need?" followed by, "that's still a middle seat" (30E to 15E). I didn't want to bog down my original post, but his tone and word choice throughout was not necessarily professional.

Normally, I would not have a problem being addressed by my first name, but this interaction was anything but cordial and I just did not think it was appropriate to address me so casually with an unwarranted threat of deplaning.
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Last edited by NRoften; Dec 17, 20 at 11:03 am
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