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Boarding door closed and seat given away 25 mins before departure. Any recourse?

Boarding door closed and seat given away 25 mins before departure. Any recourse?

Old Dec 31, 15, 5:14 pm
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This thread is full of terrible advice. And the conclusions are simply wrong.

The flight was served by a CRJ-200 with 50 passenger seats. DOT IDB rules exempt flights served by aircraft with less than 60 seats. Thus, while OP was likely involuntarily denied boarding, he is due $0 compensation.

[...]

The DOT complaint is, of course, a waste, because there was no DOT violation.
http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publi...tm#overbooking
Like all rules, however, there are a few conditions and exceptions:

[...]

* If the airline must substitute a smaller plane for the one it originally planned to use, the carrier isn't required to pay people who are bumped as a result. In addition, on flights using aircraft with 30 through 60 passenger seats, compensation is not required if you were bumped due to safety-related aircraft weight or balance constraints.

* The rules do not apply to charter flights, or to scheduled flights operated with planes that hold fewer than 30 passengers. They don't apply to international flights inbound to the United States, although some airlines on these routes may follow them voluntarily. Also, if you are flying between two foreign cities -- from Paris to Rome, for example -- these rules will not apply. The European Commission has a rule on bumpings that occur in an EC country; ask the airline for details, or go to http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passengers/air/air_en.htm.

As I recall, the rule used be blanket exemption for planes with 60 or fewer seats, but the rule was changed in recent years..

Last edited by mre5765; Dec 31, 15 at 5:21 pm
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Old Dec 31, 15, 6:14 pm
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I'm somewhat curious by some of the comments here regarding clearing security.

I have always been under the impression the two deadlines stated by the airlines are that 1) you have to check in by a certain time and 2) you have to board by a certain time. I have never in my life seen any requirement to clear security by a certain time. Is this an unwritten requirement or is it actually written down somewhere?
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Old Dec 31, 15, 6:26 pm
  #63  
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Originally Posted by SeaProf View Post
I'm somewhat curious by some of the comments here regarding clearing security.

I have always been under the impression the two deadlines stated by the airlines are that 1) you have to check in by a certain time and 2) you have to board by a certain time. I have never in my life seen any requirement to clear security by a certain time. Is this an unwritten requirement or is it actually written down somewhere?
There's such a requirement for the terminal that BA uses at LHR. It's called conformance. The rule seems to deny people passing through security beyond a certain point before (scheduled) departure time.
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Old Dec 31, 15, 6:29 pm
  #64  
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Originally Posted by SeaProf View Post
I'm somewhat curious by some of the comments here regarding clearing security.

I have always been under the impression the two deadlines stated by the airlines are that 1) you have to check in by a certain time and 2) you have to board by a certain time. I have never in my life seen any requirement to clear security by a certain time. Is this an unwritten requirement or is it actually written down somewhere?
You actually are required to be at the gate by a certain time (15 or 30 minutes prior to departure) and I think people are using clearing security as a proxy for that. Though obviously it's not the same thing.
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Old Dec 31, 15, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by SeaProf View Post
I'm somewhat curious by some of the comments here regarding clearing security.

I have always been under the impression the two deadlines stated by the airlines are that 1) you have to check in by a certain time and 2) you have to board by a certain time. I have never in my life seen any requirement to clear security by a certain time. Is this an unwritten requirement or is it actually written down somewhere?
Since you might not need to clear security, and even when you do there might be no electronic record, this is not something the airlines could use to boot you.

And as somebody said (who seamed to be posting with first hand knowledge) even if they see you cleared security, they would not know when.

This subthrad was speculation by a poster. Nobody has suggested they do such (here in the States),
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Old Dec 31, 15, 9:22 pm
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I'm not going to say the GA was right here, but put yourself in their position...

It's 25 minutes before departure time. You're in an airport that (from what I can see) has a single digit number of flights all day (for all airlines, not just UA). Everyone has boarded except for 2 passengers - one that is waiting for a seat allocation, and one that has volunteered to be bumped.

You look around the airport. TSA is in the process of packing up for the day. If there are any shops airside they are closed. There isn't a single person in the airport other than TSA, the GA, and the two passengers. The one passenger that is missing checked in online hours ago - not at the airport.

Technically you need to wait another 10 minutes, but having seen this play out a hundred times before you know that the missing passenger isn't going to arrive, so you allocate their seat to the passenger without a seat, tell both passengers to board, and close the flight.


Having been airside at GJT at a time when there were literally 2 people in the entire airside terminal (and one of those was the lady busily closing her shop) I can see exactly how you'd make the decision to close the flight. It's not like a bigger airport where the missing passenger might be in the Club or at the bar - it's pretty easy to tell that they aren't in the airport.

Of course that doesn't explain why they wouldn't offer compensation, but...

A few weeks ago when I was being VDB'ed, one GA made it clear to the other GA that she should not "close" the flight (in the computer) as she was still processing my VDB - even as the flight was pushing back from the gate. I don't know how Shares works, but I'm wondering if it's not possible for them to do VDB or even IDB after the flight has closed? If the GA had closed the flight, and especially if the plane had already "departed", then perhaps they can't physically process DB's?
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Old Dec 31, 15, 9:51 pm
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While I feel really bad for the OP and I do hope that he will get some sort of compensation (likely through a DOT complaint), I agree with your post below which reinforces my point about getting there EARLY especially during these busy holiday travel times riddled with weather problems, and ESPECIALLY at smaller airports served by UX like LNK, TUC, SBA, etc. where the situation plays out EXACTLY as you described below.

{T}his HAS happened to me, and of course it was at SBA, one of those smaller airports served by UX only - I learned this lesson the HARD WAY and just simply offering some good old common sense.

I would have a completely different way of thinking if I was at a hub like IAH, DEN, EWR, SFO, or IAD (and even then, I would want to be at the gate 30 minutes before boarding as recommended on the BP), but at a UX airport, I would always want to err on the cautious side. At my recent flight out of SBA in November, I got there 1 hour in advance, had a beer at the bar in order to make sure that I will be on my way to SFO since that is the last flight of the day (of course!)

Happy New Year to everyone

Originally Posted by docbert View Post
I'm not going to say the GA was right here, but put yourself in their position...

It's 25 minutes before departure time. You're in an airport that (from what I can see) has a single digit number of flights all day (for all airlines, not just UA). Everyone has boarded except for 2 passengers - one that is waiting for a seat allocation, and one that has volunteered to be bumped.

You look around the airport. TSA is in the process of packing up for the day. If there are any shops airside they are closed. There isn't a single person in the airport other than TSA, the GA, and the two passengers. The one passenger that is missing checked in online hours ago - not at the airport.

Technically you need to wait another 10 minutes, but having seen this play out a hundred times before you know that the missing passenger isn't going to arrive, so you allocate their seat to the passenger without a seat, tell both passengers to board, and close the flight.


Having been airside at GJT at a time when there were literally 2 people in the entire airside terminal (and one of those was the lady busily closing her shop) I can see exactly how you'd make the decision to close the flight. It's not like a bigger airport where the missing passenger might be in the Club or at the bar - it's pretty easy to tell that they aren't in the airport.

Of course that doesn't explain why they wouldn't offer compensation, but...

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Dec 31, 15 at 10:04 pm Reason: commenting on Moderation and responsing to deleted content
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Old Dec 31, 15, 10:49 pm
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I say take it a step further and call for blood, the gate agent should be fired for refusing to do her job and never work in a customer service job again.
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Old Dec 31, 15, 10:51 pm
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Experienced travelers who are trying to get somewhere don't show up at gate at T-25, they are earlier. Size of the airport doesn't really matter.

When there is weather or stress on the system, this will get you into trouble.
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Old Jan 1, 16, 1:10 am
  #70  
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Originally Posted by airplanegod View Post
I say take it a step further and call for blood, the gate agent should be fired for refusing to do her job and never work in a customer service job again.
How can I do that?

Originally Posted by LaserSailor View Post
Experienced travelers who are trying to get somewhere don't show up at gate at T-25, they are earlier. Size of the airport doesn't really matter.

When there is weather or stress on the system, this will get you into trouble.
There was no weather or stress. I believe I am an experienced traveler and know UA's published cutoff points. I would rather spend my time with a family than sit for 30 mins extra on the loaded CRJ200.

Originally Posted by docbert View Post
I'm not going to say the GA was right here, but put yourself in their position...

It's 25 minutes before departure time. You're in an airport that (from what I can see) has a single digit number of flights all day (for all airlines, not just UA). Everyone has boarded except for 2 passengers - one that is waiting for a seat allocation, and one that has volunteered to be bumped.

You look around the airport. TSA is in the process of packing up for the day. If there are any shops airside they are closed. There isn't a single person in the airport other than TSA, the GA, and the two passengers. The one passenger that is missing checked in online hours ago - not at the airport.

Technically you need to wait another 10 minutes, but having seen this play out a hundred times before you know that the missing passenger isn't going to arrive, so you allocate their seat to the passenger without a seat, tell both passengers to board, and close the flight.


Having been airside at GJT at a time when there were literally 2 people in the entire airside terminal (and one of those was the lady busily closing her shop) I can see exactly how you'd make the decision to close the flight. It's not like a bigger airport where the missing passenger might be in the Club or at the bar - it's pretty easy to tell that they aren't in the airport.

Of course that doesn't explain why they wouldn't offer compensation, but...

A few weeks ago when I was being VDB'ed, one GA made it clear to the other GA that she should not "close" the flight (in the computer) as she was still processing my VDB - even as the flight was pushing back from the gate. I don't know how Shares works, but I'm wondering if it's not possible for them to do VDB or even IDB after the flight has closed? If the GA had closed the flight, and especially if the plane had already "departed", then perhaps they can't physically process DB's?
I totally understand where she was coming from but as you said that doesn't make it right. I budgeted my time well, did everything right, yet my trip was ruined, I missed an important meeting, I went through a lot of stress and humiliation. It's not the end of the world, but for closing the flight 10 mins early, is it really worth inflicting that on a loyal customer? Moreover, the flight took off only 1 min before scheduled takeoff time, even though it left the gate 10 mins early.
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
This does indeed appear to be an IDB.

Note that the GA's motivation may not have been to avoid giving comp, but rather (a) to get the flight out early because that's how GAs get unscheduled breaks, and (b) avoid the hassle of the VDB/IDB process, which would have virtually guaranteed no unscheduled break.

Sometimes employee conduct which tends here to be ascribed to a broad UA conspiracy to screw its passengers can be explained at a more personal level
I am inclined to believe that the GA trying to close the flight quickly was the case, although one never knows. One of the most frustrating issues was that they never apologized, did not sympathize at all. Instead, while I was sitting and waiting for a resolution from TSA, they kept whispering to each other, looking at me and laughing. The male GA (who came later and was not at the gate when I arrived) kept telling me it was not possible that I was at the gate 20 mins before departure until the cop reviewed the TSA evidence and told the GA about it. But as many of you point out up-thread, I did not need the evidence from the TSA. The GA must have known pretty well from the time stamp that the female GA took my seat away at least 25 mins before departure time, yet he was adamant that I was in the wrong and they owed me nothing.

Anyway, I filed my complaint with UA and probably will file with the DOT as well. Thank you for all your advice.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 1, 16 at 1:57 am Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Jan 1, 16, 3:51 am
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This thread is full of terrible advice. And the conclusions are simply wrong.

The flight was served by a CRJ-200 with 50 passenger seats. DOT IDB rules exempt flights served by aircraft with less than 60 seats. Thus, while OP was likely involuntarily denied boarding, he is due $0 compensation.

OP should nonetheless file a short & sweet complaint with UA noting that he was at the gate with a valid BP at T-21 and that he was denied boarding. Let UA sort it out. UA will explain why the flight is exempt, but will likely toss some miles as a customer service gesture.

The DOT complaint is, of course, a waste, because there was no DOT violation.
Yes it is, your post being Exhibit A.

I believe the OP was IDBed under DOT's definition.
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Old Jan 1, 16, 4:34 am
  #72  
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
I'm not going to say the GA was right here, but put yourself in their position...

It's 25 minutes before departure time. You're in an airport that (from what I can see) has a single digit number of flights all day (for all airlines, not just UA). Everyone has boarded except for 2 passengers - one that is waiting for a seat allocation, and one that has volunteered to be bumped.

You look around the airport. TSA is in the process of packing up for the day. If there are any shops airside they are closed. There isn't a single person in the airport other than TSA, the GA, and the two passengers. The one passenger that is missing checked in online hours ago - not at the airport.

Technically you need to wait another 10 minutes, but having seen this play out a hundred times before you know that the missing passenger isn't going to arrive, so you allocate their seat to the passenger without a seat, tell both passengers to board, and close the flight.


Having been airside at GJT at a time when there were literally 2 people in the entire airside terminal (and one of those was the lady busily closing her shop) I can see exactly how you'd make the decision to close the flight. It's not like a bigger airport where the missing passenger might be in the Club or at the bar - it's pretty easy to tell that they aren't in the airport.

Of course that doesn't explain why they wouldn't offer compensation, but...

Continuing on your exercise, put yourself in the GA's position. You just bent the rules and closed the flight early, the OP shows up, and now you have to compensate him by law. You're a contract employee who needs this job who can be terminated in a heartbeat.

If you compensate him, corporate is going to ask why you IDBed someone after taking maybe a standby or two, or at a minimum, without following the correct IDB order.

Your only shot of avoiding trouble is to laugh in the OP's face, hope he's an uneducated consumer and goes away. This is precisely what the agent has done. And if the OP does complain, obfuscate some facts to hopefully get out of trouble (no doubt, if called on it, she's going to say he was not at the gate in time anyway). This is why, another recommendation in this situation is to self-scan your BP if you're at the gate in time. It will fail, but there may also be a record of the scan.

It's naive to expect the agent to own up to their error on the spot and make right. It's simply too risky for them.
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Old Jan 1, 16, 6:53 am
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
I'm not going to say the GA was right here, but put yourself in their position...

It's 25 minutes before departure time. You're in an airport that (from what I can see) has a single digit number of flights all day (for all airlines, not just UA). Everyone has boarded except for 2 passengers - one that is waiting for a seat allocation, and one that has volunteered to be bumped.

You look around the airport. TSA is in the process of packing up for the day. If there are any shops airside they are closed. There isn't a single person in the airport other than TSA, the GA, and the two passengers. The one passenger that is missing checked in online hours ago - not at the airport.

Technically you need to wait another 10 minutes, but having seen this play out a hundred times before you know that the missing passenger isn't going to arrive, so you allocate their seat to the passenger without a seat, tell both passengers to board, and close the flight.


Having been airside at GJT at a time when there were literally 2 people in the entire airside terminal (and one of those was the lady busily closing her shop) I can see exactly how you'd make the decision to close the flight. It's not like a bigger airport where the missing passenger might be in the Club or at the bar - it's pretty easy to tell that they aren't in the airport.

Of course that doesn't explain why they wouldn't offer compensation, but...

A few weeks ago when I was being VDB'ed, one GA made it clear to the other GA that she should not "close" the flight (in the computer) as she was still processing my VDB - even as the flight was pushing back from the gate. I don't know how Shares works, but I'm wondering if it's not possible for them to do VDB or even IDB after the flight has closed? If the GA had closed the flight, and especially if the plane had already "departed", then perhaps they can't physically process DB's?
To put a finer point on this. This occurred at LNK which is a four gate airport. TSA is less than 50ft from the gate. Getting to the airport is piece of cake. So when I was flying out of LNK frequently I would cut it very fine. I always made minimum cutoffs and always caught my flights but I could easily see how this happened to the OP even though the OP did nothing wrong.
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Old Jan 1, 16, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by flyersky1 View Post
Happened today at a small regional airport on UX. I was at the gate 21 minutes before the flight time, which was 8:25pm. My seat was given away, the boarding door was closed and I was denied boarding even though the bridge was still attached. The TSA agents told me that the gate was closed even 5 minutes earlier, which means that my seat was given away AT LEAST 25 minutes before departure. The female gate agent was extremely rude, laughed at me, slammed the gate door at my face and disappeared. I immediately called the premier desk (at 8:06pm) and described the incident. Soon after, a male gate agent appeared and told me I was late and that's why my seat was given away, even though he was not even at the gate at boarding time. Overhearing our conversation, a police officer checked the video cameras from the TSA screening and confirmed that I was at the gate at 8:05pm.

What would you guys suggest I do, if anything? Was the GA right to give my seat away? I received no apology whatsoever, my trip was ruined, and I needed the miles from that trip to requalify for Plat. What compensation, if any, would be appropriate in this case?
There is NO WAY a TSA agent would go pull video for you to see what time you got to the gate, that is ridiculous. My bet is you went over to him in a panic and since he doesn't have to or need to deal with you, he agreed, "oh sure yeah it was 8:05" then rolled his eyes...

Good luck proving wheter or not you were on time by going by some off the cuff remark from a TSA agent.... Just complain via an email, and get some miles and move on....
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Old Jan 1, 16, 8:06 am
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Having a laugh at seasoned travelers telling other season travelers when to show up at the airport. Big difference between LHR & LNK and I think most would know that.

I don't go to MRY until 10 min after the plane has taken off from LA and that gives me enough time. Could I have shown up as the OP did? Of course but that's just too close for my own personal comfort. Could someone with checked bags walk through the door of the airport and be at the gate in less than 5 minutes? Absolutely.

The GA was wrong. FT blaming the OP is wrong.
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