Bumped from first to economy

Old Apr 15, 21, 6:23 am
  #1  
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Bumped from first to economy

Hi all,

I flew last night from PHL to ILM with a connection in CLT. I paid for first class a few weeks ago, and when I checked in on the AA app the night before, my boarding ticket confirmed 2B to CLT and 2A to ILM on a CRJ-900.

When I got to PHL and checked my bag, I requested the ticket agent print a paper copy of my boarding passes as a backup. The ticket for my flight from CLT to ILM did not immediately print and he was baffled. This is when I realized there was an issue. He said I had no seat assignment on that flight and that I needed to speak to the gate agent in CLT to confirm my seat. I showed him in the app where my seat was confirmed when I checked in via the app. He said there was nothing he could do, but he assured me I would have a seat.

My first leg went fine, had my correct seat. When I got to CLT, I noticed in the app it said "see gate agent for seat" or something similar. I spoke to the gate agent for my connecting flight to ILM. There was an equipment change from a CRJ-900 to a CRJ-700, and she showed that another passenger had my 2A seat, even after showing her my AA app screenshot I had taken earlier that evening. She assigned me 10F and said AA would refund the fare difference. I've never had this happen before.

I'm still baffled and nobody seemed to have any answers as to why this happened. It wasn't an air marshall because the guy who got 2A was clearly a bit drunk and stumbling. I know the 700 is smaller than the 900, but 2A was still a first class seat on the 700, so why would AA still bump me?
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Old Apr 15, 21, 6:29 am
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Sometimes on equipment changes you keep your same seat, and sometimes things get shuffled around. Unfortunately you got the short end of the stick on this one, although at least it was a quick flight. Definitely ask AA for a refund although I suspect it won't be much.
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Old Apr 15, 21, 6:35 am
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey View Post
Sometimes on equipment changes you keep your same seat, and sometimes things get shuffled around. Unfortunately you got the short end of the stick on this one, although at least it was a quick flight. Definitely ask AA for a refund although I suspect it won't be much.

Yeah it was a short hop and I got the row to myself which was nice.
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Old Apr 15, 21, 7:59 am
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AA downgrades based on reverse priority. If there were 3 passengers to downgrade, it is entirely possible that you were among those with the lowest priority. E.g., a GS with paid full F would be the last downgraded. It is entirely possible that the other passengers in F had some status and/or were booked into a higher fare basis.

You are due a refund of the fare difference (which will not likely be much). AA may also provide some small customer service gesture. I would keep the narrative very short as all of the back-and-forth up to the gate is irrelevant. The simple fact is that an aircraft swap caused a downgrade.
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Old Apr 15, 21, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
AA downgrades based on reverse priority. If there were 3 passengers to downgrade, it is entirely possible that you were among those with the lowest priority. E.g., a GS with paid full F would be the last downgraded. It is entirely possible that the other passengers in F had some status and/or were booked into a higher fare basis.
It's rare that I hear of a passenger who purchased first being downgraded, but when equipment changes cause this, the approach you've described seems like the most equitable way to handle this. A significant part of the fleet (737-800s, non-NEO 321s, and 737-Max's) now have interchangeable 16 seat configurations. It used to be the case where 738's had first class using rows 3-6 with 321's being 1-4. Now that they are all standardized the seat assignments on equipment changes are easier. The only negative for this situation with large single aisles in the fleet is when a 321-NEO gets downgraded to an older 321 - you lose a first class row in that case. Regardless, the rules you describe sound very fair to me.
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Old Apr 15, 21, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by pilot2fly View Post
I'm still baffled and nobody seemed to have any answers as to why this happened. It wasn't an air marshall because the guy who got 2A was clearly a bit drunk and stumbling. I know the 700 is smaller than the 900, but 2A was still a first class seat on the 700, so why would AA still bump me?
Sorry to hear that happened - surely frustrating, but not terribly baffling.

Equipment changes happen all the time, and if the new aircraft has fewer seats up front (could be one or two rows fewer, depending on which CR9 and CR7 version on AA), they have to displace some passengers.

What is OPís AAdvantage elite status? Non-status passengers are generally chosen over those with status, particularly if those with status have also purchased premium cabin tickets.

The fact that the same seat number exists on the new flight doesnít guarantee the seat will still be yours if they need to downgrade passengers (even after check-in), as status is typically taken into consideration.
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Old Apr 15, 21, 1:50 pm
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When you said paid for, did you mean after you purchased an economy ticket and did that in app upgrade? Or full on bought first?
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Old Apr 15, 21, 2:37 pm
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Pretty odd that a full fare paying F class passenger would be downgraded. Either the gate agent was lazy or 100% of the cabin was paid F. If the latter, wow.....
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Old Apr 15, 21, 7:40 pm
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Originally Posted by pilot2fly View Post
Hi all,

I flew last night from PHL to ILM with a connection in CLT. I paid for first class a few weeks ago, and when I checked in on the AA app the night before, my boarding ticket confirmed 2B to CLT and 2A to ILM on a CRJ-900.

When I got to PHL and checked my bag, I requested the ticket agent print a paper copy of my boarding passes as a backup. The ticket for my flight from CLT to ILM did not immediately print and he was baffled. This is when I realized there was an issue. He said I had no seat assignment on that flight and that I needed to speak to the gate agent in CLT to confirm my seat. I showed him in the app where my seat was confirmed when I checked in via the app. He said there was nothing he could do, but he assured me I would have a seat.

My first leg went fine, had my correct seat. When I got to CLT, I noticed in the app it said "see gate agent for seat" or something similar. I spoke to the gate agent for my connecting flight to ILM. There was an equipment change from a CRJ-900 to a CRJ-700, and she showed that another passenger had my 2A seat, even after showing her my AA app screenshot I had taken earlier that evening. She assigned me 10F and said AA would refund the fare difference. I've never had this happen before.

I'm still baffled and nobody seemed to have any answers as to why this happened. It wasn't an air marshall because the guy who got 2A was clearly a bit drunk and stumbling. I know the 700 is smaller than the 900, but 2A was still a first class seat on the 700, so why would AA still bump me?
some crjs have 12 first class seats others have only 9. Same thing almost happened to me. I did get reassigned at the gate.
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Old Apr 15, 21, 7:58 pm
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Wouldn't this be considered involuntary downgrade, with potential (meager) compensation in addition to "refund"?
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Old Apr 15, 21, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Uzzar View Post
Wouldn't this be considered involuntary downgrade, with potential (meager) compensation in addition to "refund"?
You have a case for a refund of the fare difference (which can be a pittance depending on how they calculate the economy fare), but are not otherwise entitled to compensation. That said, $300 is a pretty typical voucher amount that is offered as a CS gesture.
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