Seat Change due to Marshall on board...

Old Oct 19, 07, 11:52 pm
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Seat Change due to Marshall on board...

Thursday, I flew from SJC to IAD on United with my family. We had First Class Tickets Seats 1A, 1B and 1C. I selected these seats months ago when I purchased the tickets. My husband has medical problems/issues and really needs the aisle seat on the right side of the plane for his knee and hip to be somewhat comfortable. Knowing this, I made sure I checked the type of plane, etc... so he would have this seat!
Well we boarded the plane and we were all seated. Then, just before takeoff, the gate agent came on the plane and said she needed to see his boarding pass. She told him that she needed his seat because another passenger (the man sitting next to him in the window seat) was also supposed to have his aisle seat. My husband explained that he needed the seat he was i and the gate agent lied and told him there had been a plane change and he could no longer have that seat! She told him he had to move or she would have to have him removed from the plane. I finally figured out that the man who needed the seat had to be a marshall flying on the flight so I told my husband to stop and I'd explain later, etc..... He moved to the window seat and the man confirmed that "his wife was very perceptive" and to please not say anything as he must fly on many flights and he is just doing his job but he needed seat 1C.
What is wrong with United? First, why was I allowed to select 1C in the beginning and how dare they lie to us and threaten us to get the seat! I'm not happy and think I should be compensated in some way. What do you hink? Any opinions? We paid for these first class seats - I did not use my miles, etc... as I needed these seats confirmed and I wanted my husband to be okay since he does not do wel travelling. Has anyone else ever been reassigned a seat at takeoff due to a marshall on board? By the way, I didn't feel any safer with him on board!!!!! Thanks for your opinions and thoughts. I hope this is the right place to post this.
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Old Oct 20, 07, 12:18 am
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If the air marshal in 1D needed an aisle seat, couldn't you have given him 1B (since the three of you had 1A, 1B, and 1C initially)? Then your husband could have stayed in 1C.

The GA or FA, if they knew you were together, could have also suggested that instead of being threatening.
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Old Oct 20, 07, 12:18 am
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Originally Posted by jmsoros View Post
Thursday, I flew from SJC to IAD on United with my family. We had First Class Tickets Seats 1A, 1B and 1C. I selected these seats months ago when I purchased the tickets. My husband has medical problems/issues and really needs the aisle seat on the right side of the plane for his knee and hip to be somewhat comfortable. Knowing this, I made sure I checked the type of plane, etc... so he would have this seat!
Well we boarded the plane and we were all seated. Then, just before takeoff, the gate agent came on the plane and said she needed to see his boarding pass. She told him that she needed his seat because another passenger (the man sitting next to him in the window seat) was also supposed to have his aisle seat. My husband explained that he needed the seat he was i and the gate agent lied and told him there had been a plane change and he could no longer have that seat! She told him he had to move or she would have to have him removed from the plane. I finally figured out that the man who needed the seat had to be a marshall flying on the flight so I told my husband to stop and I'd explain later, etc..... He moved to the window seat and the man confirmed that "his wife was very perceptive" and to please not say anything as he must fly on many flights and he is just doing his job but he needed seat 1C.
What is wrong with United? First, why was I allowed to select 1C in the beginning and how dare they lie to us and threaten us to get the seat! I'm not happy and think I should be compensated in some way. What do you hink? Any opinions? We paid for these first class seats - I did not use my miles, etc... as I needed these seats confirmed and I wanted my husband to be okay since he does not do wel travelling. Has anyone else ever been reassigned a seat at takeoff due to a marshall on board? By the way, I didn't feel any safer with him on board!!!!! Thanks for your opinions and thoughts. I hope this is the right place to post this.
Sorry to hear you had such a problem, but it happens all the time and is just a part of air travel that one just has to accept. You may not be happy about it but thats how it is. The agent did not purposely "lie" about the seating situation. The airline cannot do or say anything that would "out" an FAM. Thats why I am sure in this case, the agent came up with a story about a plane change as the reason for the seating situation. Be lucky your husband didnt get downgraded.

In such a case, you can ask all you want for compensation, but youll get nothing and are due nothing. If your not happy about FAMs, you can complain to the government, but thats about it. There is nothing United can do as its out of their control
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Old Oct 20, 07, 12:25 am
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Please continue to follow this thread in the UA Forum..
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Old Oct 20, 07, 12:35 am
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Sorry to hear about your poor experience, that's definitely not good.

Technically you're not entitled to anything. Seats are subject to change at all times, and you are only guaranteed a seat in that cabin and not in that specific seat.

At the same time, it's absolutely unacceptable that the GA acted with such disrespect. The problem is that it's not an easy situation for the GA. They can't out the FAM, and at the same time, there is no way to deal with the issue without lying.

The reason you could select the seat to begin with is because FAM's just show up last minute often. They don't book 11 months in advance, and I am sure UA dislikes this as much as you do.

If you write UA you'll probably get compensation of some sort, but it's certainly not a "right" in this situation.

That being said, I am surprised they chose row one. They are always in row two, AFAIK, since they need to store their "bag" under the seat in front of them.
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Old Oct 20, 07, 12:53 am
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Question to OP: Did you let UA know in advance of a medical reason for aisle on right side of aircraft? I wonder if the GA knew of this in advance (noted in PNR) whether GA would have swapped pax in 2C for 1B and let hubby have 2C or something like that. Family would be split, but hubby would get right side aisle. Like others said, these things happen and letting UA (or any carrier) know of a special need in advance is likely to help.
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Old Oct 20, 07, 1:58 am
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Originally Posted by ITravelWayTooMuch View Post
Sorry to hear you had such a problem, but it happens all the time and is just a part of air travel that one just has to accept. You may not be happy about it but thats how it is. The agent did not purposely "lie" about the seating situation. The airline cannot do or say anything that would "out" an FAM. Thats why I am sure in this case, the agent came up with a story about a plane change as the reason for the seating situation. Be lucky your husband didnt get downgraded.

In such a case, you can ask all you want for compensation, but youll get nothing and are due nothing. If your not happy about FAMs, you can complain to the government, but thats about it. There is nothing United can do as its out of their control
Agreed. First of all, you don't know definately that he was a FAM. And if he was... it doesn't matter. It is the law that they be on the flight they are assigned. There is nothing you can do about it. I'm sure a lot of their assignments are last minute, as is any FA or pilot.

In regards to you feeling any safer ... unfortunately this is the world we live in. They are there for your safety as well as the safety as others on the ground. We all know what can truly happen, so why not give these people the credit they deserve. Thank god there aren't many cases in which a FAM had to get involved. It would only make air travel a whole lot worse.
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Old Oct 20, 07, 2:34 am
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Originally Posted by tjl View Post
If the air marshal in 1D needed an aisle seat, couldn't you have given him 1B (since the three of you had 1A, 1B, and 1C initially)? Then your husband could have stayed in 1C.
My thoughts exactly - was there a reason you didnt want to give your husband 1B
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Old Oct 20, 07, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by Downunder girl View Post
My thoughts exactly - was there a reason you didnt want to give your husband 1B
op said in the first post that hubby needed to be in the aisle on the right side of the plane.

to the op, i'm with other posters in saying there's no compensation required here, as it's the world we live in. that said, a nicely written letter to ua, easy to read--with paragraph breaks and such--might get you a cert of some kind.
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Old Oct 20, 07, 10:55 am
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Much ado about nothing....maybe the GA or FA should have asked someone at 2C or 3C to switch to her husband's re-assigned window seat ??? But then they sound like they couldn't "possibly" sit a row or two apart, so she would be griping about that.
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Old Oct 20, 07, 11:14 am
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Originally Posted by jmsoros View Post
.......I finally figured out that the man who needed the seat had to be a marshall flying on the flight so I told my husband to stop and I'd explain later, etc..... He moved to the window seat and the man confirmed that "his wife was very perceptive" and to please not say anything as he must fly on many flights and he is just doing his job but he needed seat 1C........
first question: why would the fam "out him/herself" to a pax even in ths situation?

Originally Posted by tjl View Post
If the air marshal in 1D needed an aisle seat, couldn't you have given him 1B (since the three of you had 1A, 1B, and 1C initially)? Then your husband could have stayed in 1C.

The GA or FA, if they knew you were together, could have also suggested that instead of being threatening.
second question: i didn't think fam's took row 1 in f/c as it's a b/h and for what ever reason, it's a bad seat for them

third question: why was the fam in a window to begin with? fam "pax bumps" (for lack of a better term) generally happen within a week before departure to put the fam in an aisle seat-trust me, i know . my thoughts are that perhaps the op's party did olci prior to the fam assignment and the window seat was the only one left when the fam checked in and if that's the case, then i think someone at ua (or the "fam travel agency" if last minute assignement) screwed up as the fam should have been re-assigned the aisle prior to boardig and the op's bp would have then alamed with "seat dupe" or something similar

fourth question: what was the a/c type. sjc-iad is usually a 319, right? so if fam's were on the flight in question, that should put them in 2b and 2c and not the b/h of row 1 (as it was for one of my flights earlier this month)
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Old Oct 20, 07, 12:57 pm
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A little off topic, but I saw a scene a few weeks ago on UA involving FAM's that showed me that flexibility to a FAM was more important than being outed. I was the first one to baord in F seat 1A, and boarded to see two FAM's already seated in seats 1C and 2B. A woman arrives sits in seat 1D, a moment later her boyfriend arrives seated in seat 2C. Not knowing he's a FAM, he goes to the FAM in 1C and in an insistent but nice tone asks him to move into his 2C seat so he could sit next to his girlfriend. Of course, the FAM moved, who wouldn't. I'm sure it didn't impede his job or the overall view any and it showed some flexibility. Moral of the story: next time your seat changes (assuming you don't get bumped out of F), don't go to the FA and complain, just ask the FAM if he minds moving.
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Old Oct 20, 07, 3:08 pm
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Aerokitty raises an interesting point in asking if OP notified UA of the need for an aisle seat on one side of the plane. How exactly does one get it into UA's computer system that the person has selected not just an aisle seat but an aisle seat on a particular side of the plane because of an injury on one side of their body. I'm guessing all one can do it book the preference and if it is switched see if someone will switch with you?
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Old Oct 20, 07, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by tjl View Post
If the air marshal in 1D needed an aisle seat, couldn't you have given him 1B (since the three of you had 1A, 1B, and 1C initially)? Then your husband could have stayed in 1C.

The GA or FA, if they knew you were together, could have also suggested that instead of being threatening.
Perhaps this particular air marshall shoots with his left hand, so he needed 1C.

One thing I'm surprised by. I figured an air marshal needed a handy place to
stow extras like ammo. Why wouldn't he be in row 2?
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Old Oct 20, 07, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
Perhaps this particular air marshall shoots with his left hand, so he needed 1C.

One thing I'm surprised by. I figured an air marshal needed a handy place to stow extras like ammo. Why wouldn't he be in row 2?
can't speak for fam's but when goalie-sis had to fly armed, in addition to her weapon, it all had to stay on her person (coat pocket, belt, ankle) and not in a purse, seat pocket or carry-on under the seat.

Originally Posted by Brattflyer View Post
A little off topic, but I saw a scene a few weeks ago on UA involving FAM's that showed me that flexibility to a FAM was more important than being outed. I was the first one to baord in F seat 1A, and boarded to see two FAM's already seated in seats 1C and 2B. A woman arrives sits in seat 1D, a moment later her boyfriend arrives seated in seat 2C. Not knowing he's a FAM, he goes to the FAM in 1C and in an insistent but nice tone asks him to move into his 2C seat so he could sit next to his girlfriend. Of course, the FAM moved, who wouldn't. I'm sure it didn't impede his job or the overall view any and it showed some flexibility. Moral of the story: next time your seat changes (assuming you don't get bumped out of F), don't go to the FA and complain, just ask the FAM if he minds moving.
hmmmm......another fam in a f/c bulkhead row-wonder if it's catching on that a f/c aisle is a f/c aisle (or maybe pax complaints are being lstend to) tho i am surprised that the fam did move from his/her pre-assigned seat
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