Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Ever been declared an unruly passenger? (compensation question)

Ever been declared an unruly passenger? (compensation question)

Reply

Old Dec 9, 13, 10:20 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: UA PP, Marriott Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 13
Ever been declared an unruly passenger? (compensation question)

I just had an incident with a flight attendant that I wouldn't believe had it not happened to me personally… By way of background I'm 1 flight shy of Premier Platinum this year with 250k flown lifetime. No alcohol was involved, nor any physical contact of any kind. I've never experienced something like this before on a flight and am presenting it as objectively as possible. I could use some advice on how to approach this with MP from some of the more seasoned folks here.

Relatively short version… During a recent flight from CA->Mexico my pregnant wife needed to use the bathroom after take-off (cruising altitude, seat belts sign off, drink service just starting). We were sitting towards the front of E+. The supervising stewardess in coach on the drink cart informed her she would be able to use the bathroom in first vs. disrupting drink service. The attendant in first informed my wife that there were 5 people in line before her and that all first class passengers would get preference. No one else was standing at that time. It was clearly communicated that she had permission from the attendant in coach, that she was pregnant, and this was an emergency. I got up and spoke with the attendant in first who made it clear that despite permission from the supervising stewardess she was not going to allow her access to the bathroom. Out of frustration I briefly cursed her out in a low tone (vs. announcing to the plane my wife's situation) before hurrying back to get the attendant on the drink cart. The attendant left the drink cart and helped get my wife to the bathroom (barely) in time. I thanked her profusely for helping fix the situation and returned to my seat.

While my wife was in the bathroom, the attendant in first reported me to the pilot as an unruly passenger who had "threatened her". She and the supervising stewardess asked me to leave my seat and the attendant from first informed me that I had threatened her and if this behavior continued I would be arrested. I was absolutely dumbfounded. As I stated above, this was not some drunken rampage. This was a brief verbal exchange with a few curse words that was preceded by multiple polite requests and permission from the supervising attendant on the plane. No physical contact was made nor implied. When I de-planed, I once again thanked the supervising attendant for helping resolve the issue. As I de-planed, I was forced to speak with a ground crew CSR and the local police. I spoke with the ground customer service rep and the local police briefly and gave them my side of the story. The ground customer service rep ended up apologizing profusely to us and walked us to the front of the customs line to help make up for the situation. I understand the response when I de-planed is standard protocol once the pilot is involved.

Has anyone run into something even similar to this or any advice on how to approach it?
phatonycmu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 13, 10:28 pm
  #2  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Gold 1.8MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 44,180
Originally Posted by phatonycmu View Post
....or any advice on how to approach it?
when you say "how to appraoch it" what do you mean? Do you think UA should do something for you?

Personally, if I had lost my composure, I would call this a a draw. I had acted badly, the FA had over reacted, the rest of the UA crew acted professionally.

Personally I would have walked away from this (disappointed i had lost my composure and fortunately it was cleared up quickly) and left it behind me.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 13, 10:30 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Programs: UA 1K; DL GM 2MM
Posts: 8,029
Moral of the story. Don't use curse words with people you don't know unless you're looking for a fight. Looks like you got one and lost.
5khours is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 13, 10:35 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Los Angeles& Telluride
Programs: UA1K, 1MM,AA Exec. Platinum, Global Entry, Nexus
Posts: 524
Yes,sadly so

A few years back I ran into a FA who took umbrage with me over seating. On a return trip from HNL-LAX on a 757-300. We are a family of 5. Kids were 10,7&5 at the time. Wife and I had seats in row 7.
Kids behind us in row 8. We had the same seats on outbound. No worries, no problems, no hassles. All my kids are at least silver. My oldest is a gold. On the return the FA made us give up our seats and then due to the full flight separated my wife and me. I blew a gasket, I was wrong to do that, I spoke to the purser and captain to no avail. Bottom line, we are just passengers and sometimes happens. I did write UA customer service, explaining the situation in detail. Got an apology and a $250 voucher.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Dec 9, 13 at 11:07 pm Reason: language
tomj888 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 13, 10:36 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,539
First, I sympathize with your wifes situation. But, cursing someone out could be construed as unruly. Even if the FA was the only one who heard you it was directed at them. I have no idea of your physical size, age, whatever or the Flight Attendants either but maybe they were intimidated by you also when you cursed them out. As WineCountry said, walk away from this one.

And just so you know, they are called Flight Attendants now, Stewards and Stewardesses went out a long time ago.

Last edited by Baze; Dec 9, 13 at 10:46 pm
Baze is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 13, 10:40 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS MVPG; Marriott Plat Premier; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Refugeeist
Posts: 36,743
Let it go.
Kacee is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 13, 10:46 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: UA PP, Marriott Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
when you say "how to appraoch it" what do you mean? Do you think UA should do something for you?

Personally, if I had lost my composure, I would call this a a draw. I had acted badly, the FA had over reacted, the rest of the UA crew acted professionally.

Personally I would have walked away from this (disappointed i had lost my composure and fortunately it was cleared up quickly) and left it behind me.
You are correct.

I agree that my situation is arguable with no clear cut answer. I'm sure there will be mixed opinions as I can be viewed as a male cursing out a female or a concerned husband trying to protect his pregnant wife. I should have included that in my original post. My main concern here is that my wife was generally humiliated in front of the plane thanks to this particular attendant. As my original post alluded to, my behavior did not contribute there.
phatonycmu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 13, 10:46 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Independent! But mostly BKK, BCN, SFO, PDX, SEA...
Programs: Doing it for the lie flat. Kayaker, AS MP, MPO Silver, DL/AA nada
Posts: 955
Well clearly if your wife wanted to use the first class bathroom she should have gotten a first class ticket, pregnant or not. We'll have none of you riff-raff in the back stinking up the front loo! We got an image to maintain here!

In all seriousness, though, any cursing is all FAs need nowadays to throw their hands up and claim assault/threatening/unruliness from a pax. It's a virtual certainty with this whack-a-doodle airline now that the hate unabashedly comes from the very top. Gotta keep your cool - and next time, maybe you'll find an airline that isn't so reactionary.
FiveMileFinal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 13, 10:58 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: UA PP, Marriott Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by tomj888 View Post
A few years back I ran into a FA who took umbrage with me over seating. On a return trip from HNL-LAX on a 757-300. We are a family of 5. Kids were 10,7&5 at the time. Wife and I had seats in row 7.
Kids behind us in row 8. We had the same seats on outbound. No worries, no problems, no hassles. All my kids are at least silver. My oldest is a gold. On the return the FA made us give up our seats and then due to the full flight separated my wife and me. I blew a gasket, I was wrong to do that, I spoke to the purser and captain to no avail. Bottom line, we are just passengers and sometimes [stuff] happens. I did write UA customer service, explaining the situation in detail. Got an apology and a $250 voucher.
Agreed. I was planning to apologize for my choice of words on the way out, but I didn't see the particular attendant in question. I'm only assuming that is part of the protocol in these situations. Bummer all around.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Dec 10, 13 at 5:53 am Reason: removed profanity from quote
phatonycmu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 13, 11:52 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: San Antonio - the nicest city in northern Mexico
Programs: CO OnePass; AAdvantage Dirt; IHG Priority Club Plat; Hyatt Plat; Marriott Gold; Avis PresPref;
Posts: 776
Originally Posted by phatonycmu View Post
You are correct.

I agree that my situation is arguable with no clear cut answer. I'm sure there will be mixed opinions as I can be viewed as a male cursing out a female or a concerned husband trying to protect his pregnant wife. I should have included that in my original post. My main concern here is that my wife was generally humiliated in front of the plane thanks to this particular attendant. As my original post alluded to, my behavior did not contribute there.
Sorry, it is very clear cut and not at all arguable - your verbal response was out of line. Your behavior was absolutely contributory, if not causal. Can't hide behind your wife's maternity skirt. Sure, the FA in 1st behaved badly but that does not excuse your behavior. If you are old enough to impregnate someone you are probably too old for the "she started it" defense.
SeamusSA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 13, 12:03 am
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: UA PP, Marriott Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 13
Sounds good folks. Thank you for your replies. I will take them into consideration. As always, it's good to hear from other folks who have more experience. Thanks again!
phatonycmu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 13, 1:06 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Chicago USA
Programs: *A Junkie, SQ PPS, Skywards Gold, 2 Million Mile Flyer;*wood LT Plat, BA MM
Posts: 1,762
Originally Posted by phatonycmu View Post
Sounds good folks. Thank you for your replies. I will take them into consideration. As always, it's good to hear from other folks who have more experience. Thanks again!
The BEST option would have been to create drama right there in the cabin,

"Ok honey [wife] the kind lady [f/a] will not let you use the bathroom, if you have to go, there's nothing you can do"

Then frantically move your head towards your fellow passengers around the cabin, "I need a can or something.....my wife is going to go on herself because this kind flight attendent won't let her use the bathroom! I'm sorry folks!"

You would see that FC bathroom door open really fast. It's so awful that people are so miserable they have no compassion for a woman with child.
UrbaneGent is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 13, 1:33 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Programs: UA, Starwood, Priority Club, Hertz, Costco Platinum Executive
Posts: 3,769
When you curse, no matter how low the tone, the game is over. Sorry.

Originally Posted by UrbaneGent View Post
The BEST option would have been to create drama right there in the cabin,

"Ok honey [wife] the kind lady [f/a] will not let you use the bathroom, if you have to go, there's nothing you can do"
Vision of Gerard Finneran comes dancing in my head...
sinoflyer is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 13, 2:25 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Either below the Ockham stack or below the approach to SDKY
Programs: UA 1MM/*G. AA EXP for 1 more year. Then, who knows?
Posts: 4,928
Originally Posted by UrbaneGent View Post
The BEST option would have been to create drama right there in the cabin,

"Ok honey [wife] the kind lady [f/a] will not let you use the bathroom, if you have to go, there's nothing you can do"

Then frantically move your head towards your fellow passengers around the cabin, "I need a can or something.....my wife is going to go on herself because this kind flight attendent won't let her use the bathroom! I'm sorry folks!"

You would see that FC bathroom door open really fast. It's so awful that people are so miserable they have no compassion for a woman with child.
Perfect solution - your wife may never speak to you again, but she'll sure make it to the bathroom!
Passmethesickbag is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 13, 2:47 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN (MSP)
Programs: DL DM, UA 1K MM, Subway Club Member
Posts: 1,869
I disagree with many of the posters here. Who (the ....) cares if you swear, so long as it's not directed personally at the FA I don't see what the problem is. We can talk about "properness" to no end, but swearing is pervasive in adult society and there is nothing inappropriate about it.

It sounds like, based on your description of the situation, the FA wasn't following the normal social order of things (letting a prego woman use the toilet) so why should you? So long as nothing was threatening I simply don't see the problem and believe you have a valid claim with UA. I don't think it's even worth mentioning the swearing detail any more than its worth mentioning the fact that you didn't use the word ma'am when addressing the FA (or that she didn't address you as sir).
kenn0223 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: