F seat poached by disabled passenger

Old Jan 21, 14, 1:42 am
  #61  
 
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I would have taken a picture of the poacher in my seat. I wonder if that is legal.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 3:47 am
  #62  
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I need to get me a brace.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 3:56 am
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
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.
Nicely put and I concur that for a short Q400 flight the OP took a sensible approach. A transpac flight would be a different matter of course.

If you really had FAS unwilling to help, would a reasonable course of action be to simply deplane and stand in the jetway outside the door?

FA can't leave the plane, and GA can't close door with you on jetway.

If they ask you to board, you insist on the seat matching your boarding pass.

(Play the music from the end of the good, bad, ugly here......)
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Old Jan 21, 14, 4:08 am
  #64  
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My apology at first.

I condemn the action of that disabled passenger, as well as the action taken by OP.

1. FWIW - it has nothing to do with disability (except early boarding). The passenger is simply played dumb. Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disability. It does not include an upgrade to premium cabin.

2. It has nothing to do with Karma. When you offer your premium seat on your own initiative, it is goodwill. When you are forced to offer your premium seat, it is stealing.

3. For those of you saying connection over principal, I would like to remind you that you are not sitting on a bus (that have a rear exit). You get off at the front. So as a fact, by sitting at the back of a plane, it will take you longer to get off.

4. The passenger's action, without doubts, was against the law. However, OP chose to let it go. Wasn't OP's action encourage future occurrence?

Again - My apology for using strong words. But IMHO - OP's action is no way justified.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 4:35 am
  #65  
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Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
I would just go ahead and ask UA for downgrade compensation under GG OVS DOWNGRADE. On a flight operated by a Q400 don't expect a lot (typical compensation is distance-based).

This is a bizarre scenario where boarding early might be a good idea for an F pax.
No compensation is due. OP gave up his seat.

Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
This is pretty obviously a calculated seat poach by an experienced poacher.
It's probably worth at least trying to get your RPU back.
No RPU is due. If OP had not used his RPU, UA might have received revenue (ToD, RDMs, or perhaps even an F, A, P fare) for the seat. Instead, UA, as part of the promised elite benefits, gave the seat to OP for an RPU.

OP should have held his ground. Given this was a Q400 and thus , I would expect the poacher to have won, but then it would be UA forcing OP to downgrade.

Now granted, there would be optics. The other pax who sat in F due to CPU, would have stared and made comments. One "noble" pax in F would have volunteered his seat in F. By the time the the flight was over, OP would have felt like slitting his wrists, and the Republic FA would have been nasty.

I now understand why some on some airlines, FAs demand to see the BP before letting a pax on board. When the wheel chair driver is on board is the time to sort this out. I think it is worth OP writing to UA to suggest that FAs always check the BPs of preboards.

Originally Posted by LaserSailor View Post
Nicely put and I concur that for a short Q400 flight the OP took a sensible approach. A transpac flight would be a different matter of course.

If you really had FAS unwilling to help, would a reasonable course of action be to simply deplane and stand in the jetway outside the door?

FA can't leave the plane, and GA can't close door with you on jetway.

If they ask you to board, you insist on the seat matching your boarding pass.

(Play the music from the end of the good, bad, ugly here......)
Once he has left the plane, if UA tells him to leave the jetway and he doesn't, he becomes the bad guy. The situation then escalates with airport cops being summoned. UA and Republic then change the story. Yada yada yada.

Best thing is to hang out in the galley by the cockpit. The FA, having been displaced, has to either deal with the poacher, or go to the gate area or jetway to deal with the GA. According to OP, two FAs by then were dealing with the poacher. By removing himself from the situation, the poacher, who miraculously learned English by then, cannot engage OP to beseech him to give up his seat. It is between the poacher and the two FAs by then.

Last edited by mre5765; Jan 21, 14 at 4:48 am
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Old Jan 21, 14, 4:54 am
  #66  
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Originally Posted by ldsant View Post
OP - you did the right thing. Karma will reward you.
Karma is magical thinking, no more nor less.

For others who seem to have jumped to the conclusion that the woman who is disabled
She had a back brace. There was no indication that she disabled, at least in the story as told by the OP.

and who doesn't speak English as her first language,
If she can speak English well enough to say, "Can we swap?" she speaks enough to understand, "Sorry, no."

I would hope that you would have been as kind as the OP.
Absent more, I would not have indulged this woman. If she was truly disabled, of which I'm not at all convinced, I would have told the FA or GA, "I'm going to help you out by accommodating this woman, but this is your screw-up. What are you going to do for me?" and negotiated appropriated compensation on the spot.

Perhaps attitudes displayed here are why travel has become so "not fun" over the last few years.
All indications are this woman scammed the seat. Do you favor indulging scammers? Do you favor sacrificing your own comfort because the airline can't do its job

As somebody who has been sick this last two years and has had to fly when sick I have always appreciated the displays of kindness e.g., I was in a middle seat and the person on the aisle offered me her seat so I could be more comfortable (I declined but it was the offer that was so appreciated and made an impact on me).
I have switched seats several times to accommodate TRULY disabled passengers, e.g. a pax who broke his leg and was in a full cast -- he needed my window seat so that he could stretch his leg out into the aisle seat, rather than blocking the aisle. I offered before he even asked, didn't object to loss of my foot space, and asked him if he would like a drink or anything -- I'd happily get it for him.

If someone is legitimately disadvantaged, I will help. If someone is a scammer, security can bounce their behinds out of the plane and onto the tarmac for all I care. You were not specific about your illness, but if it as situation similar to my seatmate with the broken leg, you can depend on my willingness to assist you. I notice that, in your story, you, unlike the woman in the brace, did not simply usurp someone else's seat. That's the way it's done: you ask, explain the reason if it's not obvious, and most people will help out. This woman just stole a seat, pretended not to understand English, played the "I wear a brace" card (I wear orthopedic supports in my shoes -- will that get me an F seat when I fly Y?) and resolutely refused to move. She would not get my sympathy nor my seat.

Instead of being outraged perhaps taking a moment and realizing that the OP did a nice thing should be the theme here. I say nice job OP! ^ You displayed kindness; a rarity these days.
Sorry, I don't agree. I have no issue with the OP or what he did, but I do NOT think it is a "nice thing" to indulge the scammers and con artists of this world, and I will not do it. "Nice" is helping out other people when they need your help, not being played for a sucker by some scammer.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 5:01 am
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Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
No compensation is due. OP gave up his seat.
You're probably right that no compensation is "due". Nevertheless, I think OP should ask for compensation. I think OP will probably receive compensation comparable to what he would receive if UA had downgraded him on this segment.

In these situations there is often a strange tension between people who assert "look, the company does not owe this person anything" and people who say "look, the company does not owe this person anything, but this person should ask for something anyway as a goodwill gesture because staff actions provided a subpar experience and, frankly, the point of conversation among frequent flyers is to help frequent flyers get the best experience". It's a weird conversation because these people are not actually disagreeing about anything.

Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
I now understand why some on some airlines, FAs demand to see the BP before letting a pax on board.
You might be surprised. On carriers in the UK, flight attendants check your boarding card at the door because they are obliged to by UK Civil Aviation Authority regulations. On these carriers, the flight attendants are actually only checking the flight number / date / destination — they could not care less about the seat assignment indicated on the boarding card. They find this protocol either sensible (prevent anyone going to the wrong place) or maddeningly redundant (if the GA at the top of the jetway has done their job). See some discussion at http://www.pprune.org/passengers-slf...ing-cards.html . IIRC feedback of the "redundant" nature has been an experiment in removing this process on shorthaul flights, http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...aul-trial.html . So — although you may think you know why they are checking your boarding cards (to ensure you're properly seated), in some cases, you may be surprised!
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Old Jan 21, 14, 7:34 am
  #68  
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Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
You're probably right that no compensation is "due". Nevertheless, I think OP should ask for compensation. I think OP will probably receive compensation comparable to what he would receive if UA had downgraded him on this segment.

In these situations there is often a strange tension between people who assert "look, the company does not owe this person anything" and people who say "look, the company does not owe this person anything, but this person should ask for something anyway as a goodwill gesture because staff actions provided a subpar experience and, frankly, the point of conversation among frequent flyers is to help frequent flyers get the best experience". It's a weird conversation because these people are not actually disagreeing about anything.

OP didn't let the FAs finish what they were doing: removing the poacher from his seat. No compensation is due.



You might be surprised. On carriers in the UK, flight attendants check your boarding card at the door because they are obliged to by UK Civil Aviation Authority regulations. On these carriers, the flight attendants are actually only checking the flight number / date / destination — they could not care less about the seat assignment indicated on the boarding card. They find this protocol either sensible (prevent anyone going to the wrong place) or maddeningly redundant (if the GA at the top of the jetway has done their job). See some discussion at http://www.pprune.org/passengers-slf...ing-cards.html . IIRC feedback of the "redundant" nature has been an experiment in removing this process on shorthaul flights, http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...aul-trial.html . So — although you may think you know why they are checking your boarding cards (to ensure you're properly seated), in some cases, you may be surprised!
You might be surprised too.

Three BA flights last month, three BP checks at the door, and three times directed to the upper deck.

Same deal on LH at least eight times last year.

Same deal on WN twice last year (they were checking that I was in A group).

Same deal on QF a couple years ago, twice.

Same deal on SQ last year.

All but WN I was seated in a premium cabin.

Last edited by mre5765; Jan 21, 14 at 1:52 pm
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Old Jan 21, 14, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by Flagonwithdragon View Post
How about asking the FAs to make sure the poacher paid for the seat and made it clear to the lady that she would be charged for it? Perhaps that is a language she would understand?
That would have been awesome if they could just pull out the CC scanner right then and there and charge her for the seat.

No "kindness" on the part of the OP, just a rational determination that any delay here would potentially cause him to miss his connection. Lady had him by the cojones, whether she realized it or not. You have to pick your battles, and this was apparently not worth it to the OP. I probably would have done the same.

Last edited by gobluetwo; Jan 21, 14 at 10:50 am
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Old Jan 21, 14, 9:50 am
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Originally Posted by LilAbner View Post
I'm saying that I don't care if it was Sister Theresa with a body cast, her a$$ is movin' out of my RPUed seat!!!
This is a signature-worthy quote.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by gobluetwo View Post
Lady had him by the cojones, whether she realized it or not.
She looked him in the eye and stole his premium seat.

Evidently she was the only one in this altercation that had cojones.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 9:59 am
  #72  
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Seat poachers get no mercy. She knew she was in wrong seat. Rewarding this type of behavior will only lead to more people trying it.

"Hey, I got a fake back brace, and take any first class seat I want"!
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Old Jan 21, 14, 10:07 am
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Some "disabled" people take advantage of their situation. I assume that she has a back brace and perhaps a nagging back problem, but not something that keeps her from going about her business. And sure, she's more comfortable in a FC seat so why not sit there and play dumb. I have a good friend, rather elderly, and for his age (86) in remarkable good health. He'll walk the 1/2 mile to our apartment in New York from his with no problem, albeit with a cane. He'll negotiate subway steps, etc. But you can bet that he lines up to be let on the aircraft for early boarding because of his "disability." Although I tell him that he's wrong, he likes the fact that he can beat the system.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
OP didn't let the FAs finish what they were doing: removing the poacher from his seat. No compensation is due.
Sure, this is an area where I think we do not disagree. You're probably right that no compensation is "due". Nevertheless, I think OP should ask for compensation. I think OP will probably receive compensation comparable to what he would receive if UA had downgraded him on this segment.

Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
You might be surprised too.

Three BA flights last month, three BP checks at the door, and three times directied to the upper deck.

Same deal on LH at least eight times last year.

Same deal on WN twice last year (they were checking that I was in A group).

Same deal on QF a couple years ago, twice.

Same deal on SQ last year.

All but WN I was seated in a premium cabin.
Cool!
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Old Jan 21, 14, 10:33 am
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This is a difficult situation. If OP insisted, the whole planeful of people would hate him for holding up the flight and he would look like a jerk. So, sometimes you just have to let it go. No good deed goes unpunished but also what goes around comes around...

FTers even say that if you have a big passenger next to you and is overflowing onto/into your seat, you should get the GA and claim IDB. Again, easier said than done...

I did not read through the whole thread...it would be helpful to see what kind of notation the woman has in her PNR - is it a WC all the way to the seat or WC only to the door (there should be different SSR codes). I think in either case, one can argue that the FA/Wheelchair operator did not do their jobs right (or well) by taking the woman to her seat.

I too don't like seat poachers or those who offer unfair trades (e.g. Y for Y+, Y for C, window for aisle). Just last week, I was asked to give up my aisle seat for a window for a woman who had a broken arm so her husband could take are of her (her husband already sat at my seat when I boarded). I drink a lot of water on the plane and want my aisle seat. I reluctantly said NO and felt guilty the entire flight - even though she did find someone to swap (and they also pulled someone up from Y to an empty aisle seat next to me).

On the other hand, I voluntarily traded seat with this guy when the woman next to me told me after we took off that they were going on a cruise, they paid for an F upgrade and her husband was in another aisle seat.

I think showing up at your seat and finding it already taken is just a bad way to start the trade negotiation.

Then there are those who got upgraded last mintue and "want" to sit together. My thinking is: don't give up your coach seats together if sitting together is so important.

Of course, there are also people in Y who think their seat in F was poached A few years ago, this guy who thought he was upgraded (but lost it) came up from Y half way into the flight and asked the woman next to me "how was my lunch". The woman told me that she flew so much, she did not care about F and would have given him the seat if he was not such a jerk.

And on the subject of language...a few months ago, a guy started his trade negotiation with me by asking me "do you speak English?" I was so speechless for a few seconds by his question, he assumed I did not and the negotiation ended there Sometimes you do have to use your foreign look to your advantage
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