UA Crew in First?

Old Mar 12, 12, 4:44 pm
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What's the rule on Pilots sitting in First?

Just got off DEN-IAD, and there was (I kid you not) a GS sitting right in front of me in the 30's (ECON, not ECON+), and a pilot saunters onboard and takes the last FC seat. A Flight Attendant came back and said "Gee sir, we were going to put you in FC, but that seat belongs to a pilot and we can't make him sit in the back".

That's not the worst part...this guy had PAID for a FC ticket to Amsterdam. UA screwed up his travel, forced a missed flight, and put his butt in COACH on this flight while a PILOT sat in a First Class seat.

The GS handled it all with such grace and dignity - and I have to say, the Flight Attendants and Flight Crew of that flight went worked really hard to help ensure that this guy got his luggage (issues with that) and some solid handholding throughout the flight and after. But I still think it was incredibly tacky to shove a paid FC GS passenger in COACH while a UA pilot hogged a FC seat.

What gives? Can someone tell me UA's policy on Pilots in FC?

J-
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Old Mar 12, 12, 4:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Worldbuilder View Post
Just got off DEN-IAD, and there was (I kid you not) a GS sitting right in front of me in the 30's (ECON, not ECON+), and a pilot saunters onboard and takes the last FC seat. A Flight Attendant came back and said "Gee sir, we were going to put you in FC, but that seat belongs to a pilot and we can't make him sit in the back".

That's not the worst part...this guy had PAID for a FC ticket to Amsterdam. UA screwed up his travel, forced a missed flight, and put his butt in COACH on this flight while a PILOT sat in a First Class seat.

The GS handled it all with such grace and dignity - and I have to say, the Flight Attendants and Flight Crew of that flight went worked really hard to help ensure that this guy got his luggage (issues with that) and some solid handholding throughout the flight and after. But I still think it was incredibly tacky to shove a paid FC GS passenger in COACH while a UA pilot hogged a FC seat.

What gives? Can someone tell me UA's policy on Pilots in FC?

J-
Pilots are entitled to fly in first by contract agreement under certain circumstances. Clearly in this case there just weren't enough F seats on the flight this person was re-booked on. If they were on a paid F ticket they'll be entitled to downgrade compensation for that segment.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 4:48 pm
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Depends on the reason the pilot is flying and what else is going on, but it wouldn't surprise me if the pilots have in their contract that they are seated in F on certain "official business" flights.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 4:52 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Depends on the reason the pilot is flying and what else is going on, but it wouldn't surprise me if the pilots have in their contract that they are seated in F on certain "official business" flights.
That's exactly what a pilot told me on an NRT-IAH flight a couple of years ago. He was deadheading back to base in that case.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 4:57 pm
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so...let me get this straight:

UA requires themselves to stay committed to the contracts they make with their pilots, but could give a rat's ... about the contracts they make with their customers??? (which, when you think about it, is what a receipt for a First Class seat is)

Seems to me that without the customers, there's no need for a pilot.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Worldbuilder View Post
so...let me get this straight:

UA requires themselves to stay committed to the contracts they make with their pilots, but could give a rat's ... about the contracts they make with their customers??? (which, when you think about it, is what a receipt for a First Class seat is)

Seems to me that without the customers, there's no need for a pilot.
Not sure I ever signed a contract with UA. Perhaps our resident attorneys could comment.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Worldbuilder View Post
so...let me get this straight:

UA requires themselves to stay committed to the contracts they make with their pilots, but could give a rat's ... about the contracts they make with their customers??? (which, when you think about it, is what a receipt for a First Class seat is)

Seems to me that without the customers, there's no need for a pilot.
Let's not turn this into an emotional debate. You don't have to "think" about what a receipt for a ticket is - there's a contract of carriage that governs that transaction to a high level of detail: http://pss.united.com/web/en-us/cont...f_Carriage.pdf

It includes specific compensation structures for involuntary downgrades, etc. It's as simple as that - not a guarantee that you get to sit in any specific class. All airlines operate this way.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Worldbuilder View Post
so...let me get this straight:

UA requires themselves to stay committed to the contracts they make with their pilots, but could give a rat's ... about the contracts they make with their customers??? (which, when you think about it, is what a receipt for a First Class seat is)

Seems to me that without the customers, there's no need for a pilot.
You yourself said the customer was re-booked onto this flight.. it was not his original flight. If it were, he would not have been ousted from F by a pilot. In this case, the pilot likely already had a confirmed seat on the flight and this new guy came along and needed a seat but all of the F seats were already taken. He had the option to take another flight later I'm sure if he wanted F. He accepted economy.. and as I said will get downgrade comp if he asks for it.

A contract is a contract.. UA pilots have a contract negotiated by their union and the company is required to abide by it. They did not violate the contract with the customer in this case because he did not take his original flight..he was re-booked on a different flight that simply didn't have the class he paid for available. Also, even full F fares have provisions in the fare rules that allow for operational downgrades with appropriate compensation.

You can debate whether or not having confirmed F class for pilots in a contract is a bad thing, but it's part of their compensation package and the company has to honor it.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:15 pm
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Originally Posted by SEA1K4EVR View Post
You yourself said the customer was re-booked onto this flight.. it was not his original flight. If it were, he would not have been ousted from F by a pilot. In this case, the pilot likely already had a confirmed seat on the flight and this new guy came along and needed a seat but all of the F seats were already taken. He had the option to take another flight later I'm sure if he wanted F. He accepted economy.. and as I said will get downgrade comp if he asks for it.

A contract is a contract.. UA pilots have a contract negotiated by their union and the company is required to abide by it. They did not violate the contract with the customer in this case because he did not take his original flight..he was re-booked on a different flight that simply didn't have the class he paid for available. Also, even full F fares have provisions in the fare rules that allow for operational downgrades with appropriate compensation.

You can debate whether or not having confirmed F class for pilots in a contract is a bad thing, but it's part of their compensation package and the company has to honor it.
I would say such a contract is detrimental to UA as it has very clear disincentive for the downgraded pax to continue to fly with UA.

At any given time can you imagine the number of pilots flying somewhere to go to work ? I do not see that many in F.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:35 pm
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Thanks for the input.

And - I don't really need a primer on the contract of carriage, particularly when it's delivered with such a condescending tone.

To be clear, my understanding is that UA screwed up his first flight. That resulted in involuntary re-booking. Yes, I understand that he *could* have taken a later flight, but that would have (more than likely) screwed up the IAD-Europe leg of his trip. So yes, he "voluntarily" chose that EC seat. But that still does not change my mind that it was INCREDIBLY poor form for the pilot to take that FC seat when the entire flight crew knew the story of what happened to this guy.

Look, I am a business owner. I understand how important it is to follow through on employee committments. But I also know just how crucial it is follow through on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

And in this case, UA dropped the ball.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:45 pm
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Originally Posted by HMPS View Post

At any given time can you imagine the number of pilots flying somewhere to go to work ? I do not see that many in F.
Commuting to work pilots only get F if all other paying customers have been accommodated (i.e. upgrades, etc.).

Pilots forced by the company to reposition themselves to fly an airplane (i.e. 777 pilot is in LA but needed for operational reasons in SFO) are entitled to F, which is a much smaller percentage of the cases of pilots getting to work. And I'd rather have a rested pilot flying me than not, but what do I know.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 6:17 pm
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Pilot should have given up his seat. But then again the crew cut in front of customers in the security line, what else is new?
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Old Mar 12, 12, 6:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Worldbuilder View Post

And in this case, UA dropped the ball.
U-N-I-O-N runs the show in this case not UA!
IT'S IN THEIR CONTRACT!!!
It's not something that a g/a or anyone can change,if the pilot wants the front, and he's deadheading, it's his, PERIOD!!!

All the emotion in the world ain't gonna change the fact that a contract is a deal done in advance, and agreed to by both parties, passengers have no say in this matter!!!
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Old Mar 12, 12, 6:38 pm
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I've been on flights where they actually put pilots into those little seats up front of the door.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 6:39 pm
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There is no violation of the CoC as it stipulates in Rule 24 that the passenger may be reaccommodated in a lower class of service with downgrade credit:

RULE 24

4) If space is only available and used on a UA flight(s) of a lower class of service than originally purchased by the passenger, UA will provide a refund of the difference in fare pursuant to Rule 27 C) 6).
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