F seat poached by disabled passenger

Old Jan 20, 14, 9:14 pm
  #46  
 
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Oh hell no! She would have moved if it was my seat.

The part where she said she it hurt and she can't move I would have said, A) You got out of bed this morning. B) You got to the airport and C) you got yourself on the plane. Now your going to move your *** to the back of the plane.

At that point, if she doesn't move, I would march up the jetbridge and get a G/A and say I'm a First Class passenger and there is a coach passenger in my seat that refuse to move. Then that lady would be presented with two choices, move to her assign seat or get deboarded.

I have seen Continental G/A deboard passengers in the past on a few flights and it wasn't a pretty for those passengers.

To the OP, I'm sorry but you made the choice to give up your seat, UA doesn't owe you anything.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 9:22 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by njcommodore View Post
huh?! For what??
Because the FAs should have insisted the woman vacate his seat!

The OP should never have been put in that position by the non-confrontational FAs. They should have done their job. This was not a totally voluntary swap--he was pressured and his commentary suggests he did it simply to avoid a problem. What a horrible reason.

Agree?
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Old Jan 20, 14, 9:24 pm
  #48  
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Originally Posted by jon0 View Post
Honestly, I did not expect this to turn into a discussion about the rights of a disabled passenger. For me, it was simple -- I had a right to the F seat, I had no duty to give it up, but I chose to voluntarily relinquish it because the incremental cost of claiming what is rightfully mine was more than what the seat was worth to me. Also because it was a nice thing to do, not just for the poacher but also the FA and GAs who would have to deal with the conflict. We may value these costs and benefits differently, and you are free to come to a different decision under the same set of circumstances.

I had just wanted to share an amusing anecdotal story -- perhaps someone might offer some insight into how this happened, or offer advice on how to leverage this to get something from UA, or perhaps share something similar that happened to them. The whole event has happened and is in the past, no amount of debating will that.
And thanks for sharing the story.^

Like so many FT situations, we'll never know what was really going on with this passenger. It's possible that a GA or some other airline rep assisted her as far as the door, she said she would take it from there, and she was so unfamiliar with US airlines that she felt she could plop down anywhere. It's also quite possible, as many have suggested here, that she was pulling a scam (albeit perhaps one that really did involve her being uncomfortable and wearing a legitimate back brace). Or some combination of other possibilities.

Regardless, I think you handled it well under the circumstances: You were in a rush to make a connection, inclined to give the woman the benefit of the doubt, and on a regional aircraft for a fairly short flight. There's nothing wrong with acting on those factors as you did. But particularly because you did not want to risk any delays, it was in your own self-interest to not escalate the situation.

As to where to go from here: If you ended up sitting in the seat that the woman was supposed to be in, you recall the seat number, and provide a basic description of her, it might give you a bit of extra credibility in asking for some compensation from United. Hope you get it.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 9:32 pm
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by goalie:22190985
First off-sorry this happened to you

Secondly-I know I'm gonna get flamed but the pax on your seat moves to her assigned seat-end of story! (and my gut is telling me, this pax knew exactly what she was doing (conveniently saying "can we swap" in front of witnesses when ultimately busted) and sort of reminds me of Helen Hayes in "Airport")

Thirdly-if the pax required no assistance to board (and again, my gut says none) as that's when the f/a's should be asking "the handler" where this person is seated, the only way a poacher is gonna get caught is when the actual seat her shows up

Fourth-you had better be getting your upgrade back
+1. Definitely get RPU back. Also, FA needs to step in more forcefully. This is what they are trained for. Third, FA should have given you one of those slips where you put your FF # in & get a voucher. Once on a TCON back in the day before I traveled with a head lamp, I stood in the galley (since my OH light was out) for about 2.5 hr finishing a paper that was due on landing. I didn't ask. The FA just gave me the slip.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 9:35 pm
  #50  
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Originally Posted by jon0 View Post
....
At this point, I have decided to give up sitting in F on this flight. Between empathy for the other passenger and not wanting to cause any sort of a scene that might further delay the flight, I capitulated. ...
Why

While it's water under the bridge now, the lesson for the future is don't do this again - she played a scam on you, you fell for it and the correct response was to get the FA to remove her from the seat, or if necessary, from the flight. This thread really got my angry juices going - I can't believe people have the cojones to pull off this crap.

You handled it nicer than I would....I would have raised my voice and yelled at her to get her a** out of my seat once I saw the scam the unfolding.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 9:47 pm
  #51  
 
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obviously a lot of us would have fought the woman to get our seat back (not literally)

but like the OP said; he didn't want to delay the flight and miss risk his connecting flight. "F" on a Q400 is not worth that much trouble.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 9:50 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Col Ronson View Post

but like the OP said; he didn't want to delay the flight and miss risk his connecting flight. "F" on a Q400 is not worth that much trouble.
Seriously. Fighting for your lie-flat on a long-haul is one thing, making an a** of yourself over a slightly bigger seat on an RJ short-hop is a totally different issue.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 9:58 pm
  #53  
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Sounds like a very slick poacher. I understand the pressure to make your connection and not delay departure. I'd email UA about it and the station manager if you can figure out their email address.

Originally Posted by JetAway View Post
I doubt that a FAM would have permitted the pax to remain in the poached seat.
I doubt a FAM would intervene here; I don't think seat swapping, even involuntary, is in their scope.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 10:10 pm
  #54  
 
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Interesting. I had a similar situation recently travelling SFO-EWR with my kids a few weeks ago. Our middle son was practically in tears because a woman was in his F seat and he thought he would have to stay alone in the SFO airport.

She seemed not to speak English and had a boarding pass that was 10 rows back in economy. I'm not sure how she got on the plane first, because we're 1K and I didn't see any GS (amazing in SFO) in front of us.

Between my son's near hysterical reaction and my friendly but very firm "you need to go back there," she did go back. We could not discern any disability as she went.

But I nevertheless give kudos to the OP. Let's do the moral tally. You didn't cause a scene because:

* You didn't want to miss your connection
* You thought the woman might truly be disabled and it would hard for her otherwise
* You didn't want to burden the FAs and GAs with an ugly situation.

You sound like a good person to me. A healthy, appeased conscience is much more comfy than an F seat.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 10:28 pm
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This story reminded me of the last time we we in Disneyland. People would sit along the parade route an hour before the starting time to get good seats. This family next to us included the husband, the wife, and the two kids. The husband had to take one kid to the bathroom right before the parade was about to start. Two strangers came over and took their spots, The wife tried to ask them to leave, telling them her husband and child would be right back, but they just wouldn't leave, even after the security was called. It was surreal.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 10:33 pm
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by PushingTin View Post
She has poor English, but uses the word 'swap'? That isn't on the short list of English words people use.
Right, and I especially like the initial silence, ignoring the OP and blank stare.
Commendable that he/she gave up the seat, but I would have gotten a GA or FA intervention for my appropriate seat. Guaranteed this lady will repeat this behavior to some unsuspecting passenger(s) in the future.

Last edited by Xyzzy; Jan 21, 14 at 7:12 am Reason: Fixed BB code
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Old Jan 20, 14, 10:42 pm
  #57  
 
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Don't negotiate or capitulate to seat poachers!

I think the idea of letting the FAs and the GA do their job is a good one. It's like when you have your lawyer represent you instead of talking to the other party.

I wonder if there's some social engineering way of working the situation? Like documenting it on video or with pictures. Would it be worth suggesting that you would like the situation documented so you can be reimbursed and the other passenger put on UA's "don't fly" list?

I'm not sure if it's follow-through-able but it might throw her off her game if she's a habitual poacher.

There's also the idea of using uncontrollable laugher and firmess. Act angry and stubborn and don't betray any weakness. If it honestly looks like she doesn't understand your quickly spoken invective then you can quickly switch gears and capitulate like the weak worm (aka kind soul) you are.

Just generating some ridiculous ideas. OP, you are too kind!
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Old Jan 21, 14, 12:15 am
  #58  
 
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I got poached on a JNB-FRA flight where I had my window in the exit row in the C cabin on the LH A380 (unlimited leg room) due to a husband and wife wanting to sit together. I had a choice of an aisle on the opposite side or a window in a regular row. They wouldn't move, or even ask, the HON in the other window. Of course, that is a slightly different circumstance. I still raised a stink, in both German and English.

On this flight, there was no excuse. Did the OP get their free drinks? Snack? Or did the poacher get those too?

Originally Posted by JetAway View Post
Poaching an F seat certainly raises a security flag (as in, get close to the cockpit). I'm surprised a FA allowed it to happen although feigning "disability" and not speaking English seems like a good ploy to get away with it. I doubt that a FAM would have permitted the pax to remain in the poached seat.
Poaching an F seat doesn't raise anything but a greed flag, and I doubt a FAM would awake from their nap to bother with a seat poach.

Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
That's a bit far-fetched. Why would poaching F be any more of a security flag than buying F? It's not like they vet everyone sitting in F.
Indeed - a security threat would just buy the seat.

Originally Posted by JetAway View Post
It's a method of testing the system, to assess procedures in place, to test push-back from the crew. Not necessarily to take action of any kind.
That's very far fetched.

Originally Posted by njcommodore View Post
huh?! For what??
How about for the FA not getting in there and moving the poacher?

Originally Posted by CKizer View Post
If that were my seat, the poacher would have been moved by the cabin crew. Their battle, not mine.
Yep. The problem is that express FAs tend to care a lot less about such things than mainline.

Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
I witnessed a similar incident a few years ago. Fortunately, it was a UA mainline flight, and the purser wasn't as intimidated. She told the poacher he could go back to his assigned seat or leave the airplane altogether. He went back to his seat.
Yeah, this would have never happened on mainline. One comment to the FA by the rightful seat-holder and the person would have moved.

Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
Because the FAs should have insisted the woman vacate his seat!

The OP should never have been put in that position by the non-confrontational FAs. They should have done their job. This was not a totally voluntary swap--he was pressured and his commentary suggests he did it simply to avoid a problem. What a horrible reason.

Agree?
Total agreement. This is an all-too-common circumstance when flying express. The regional FAs don't often care enough to step in.

Originally Posted by dcpdxtrans View Post
+1. Definitely get RPU back. Also, FA needs to step in more forcefully. This is what they are trained for. Third, FA should have given you one of those slips where you put your FF # in & get a voucher. Once on a TCON back in the day before I traveled with a head lamp, I stood in the galley (since my OH light was out) for about 2.5 hr finishing a paper that was due on landing. I didn't ask. The FA just gave me the slip.
I would definitely demand compensation, and specifically because the FA didn't take any action.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 1:12 am
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Originally Posted by JetAway View Post
Poaching an F seat certainly raises a security flag (as in, get close to the cockpit). I'm surprised a FA allowed it to happen although feigning "disability" and not speaking English seems like a good ploy to get away with it. I doubt that a FAM would have permitted the pax to remain in the poached seat.
From what I've read about how FAMs operate, they absolutely would not have made even the faintest peep about it. That's not their function.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 1:14 am
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Originally Posted by aacharya View Post
I don't believe you'd risk your connection over principle.
How about if this is SFO-EWR flight and you have 1h connection time till EWR-HKG?
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