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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, 2:25 am
  #1  
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Boarding door closed and seat given away 25 mins before departure. Any recourse?

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?
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Old Dec 31, 15, 3:18 am
  #2  
Ari
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Was this an international flight or a domestic flight?
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Old Dec 31, 15, 3:41 am
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It was a domestic flight.

Originally Posted by Ari View Post
Was this an international flight or a domestic flight?

Last edited by goalie; Dec 31, 15 at 11:37 am Reason: response to deleted post removed
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Old Dec 31, 15, 3:58 am
  #4  
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there is a clear record of when you were offloaded from the flight. Since UX denied you an denied boarding compensation I would write to the DOT with a succinct statement such as: you were at the gate 25 minutes before departure, found the door closed and the GA denied you boarding and/or compensation.
UA will respond to the DOT and you'll get proper compansation.
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Old Dec 31, 15, 4:10 am
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They will reschedule your flight at your leisure and throw you some miles , 5000 or so for your pains.

The time stamp on offloading will be the only relevant data, TSA will not release video from ops for such cases, nor will the other persons " testimony" be relevant.

Last edited by goalie; Dec 31, 15 at 11:35 am Reason: unnecessary comment removed
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Old Dec 31, 15, 5:07 am
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Moral of the story: get to the gate EARLY, especially during the holiday travel season when it's insane, and especially at smaller airport where flight options are limited
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Old Dec 31, 15, 5:16 am
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Was weather involved at origin and/or destination; i.e. bad weather and a decreasing travel window, therefore UX rushed everyone on the bird for takeoff?


SL
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Old Dec 31, 15, 6:46 am
  #8  
Ari
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OP should complain to UA as he was available in the gate area 15 minutes prior to departure and checked in 30 minutes prior to departure. That seems to be all the UA CoC requires of passengers.

Last edited by goalie; Dec 31, 15 at 11:38 am Reason: unnecessary snark removed
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Old Dec 31, 15, 7:04 am
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I had a door closed at T-25 on an ORD-DFW flight at 645am. Myself with about 10 others were booted off the flight even though we got there in plenty of time.

Trust me, it did not go well for the agent! Guess what, all my ORD-DFW travel has gone to AA since!

Now, I must tell everyone, be at the gate an hour before? So UA better not sell any connections less than 90 minutes. And UA should post new rules. Door closes at 25 min, seats given away at 30.

Last edited by goalie; Dec 31, 15 at 11:40 am Reason: discuss the issue not each other
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Old Dec 31, 15, 7:05 am
  #10  
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OP -

First, details matter. What was the airport, what was the date, what was the flight number and, if you know, what was the aircraft type? Were you rerouted? If so, when? Did anybody else from UA say anything? That information can help to provide you with better advice.

Second, UA requires that you be at the gate by T-15. Presumably UA's own records will show that you were off-loaded prior to that. Don't worry so much about video and all that stuff, every key stroke typed by an agent is logged and time-stamped.

Third, DOT rules would provide involuntary denied boarding compensation of as much as 400% of the ticket segment price capped at $1,350, if you were off-loaded due to an oversell, the aircraft meets certain capacity requirements, the delay occasioned by the denial meets certain minimum requirements, and there are no other exemptions. If the DOT rule does not apply, there is zero sense in a DOT complaint.

There may be some point in a complaint to UA as the timing is odd. But, again, the detailed facts really matter here. Without them, the advice is speculative and, as you can see from some of what you've got above, pretty useless.
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Old Dec 31, 15, 7:18 am
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Unfortunately, this just happens way too much. I wrote about this happening to me in another thread here, so OP, I believe that this happened.

UA defines the board by time as well as the check-in times, and if you observed both, you were involuntarily denied boarding here. File a DOT complaint. I did and instantly UA followed up and sure enough, I received compensation for it, assuming DOT rules are met.

The GAs are sometimes too antsy in starting the boarding process, finishing it up prior to the end boarding time, and then starting to clear the standby list too soon - this is partly caused by the fact that UA wants to incentive the staff to get planes out on time. In many situations, passengers may be hanging out at the lounge, perhaps using the restroom one last time, or connecting. Whatever the case is, UA says if you check-in on time, and it clearly lists boarding starts/end time, then they should follow their own rules.

OP, you without a doubt will receive compensation for this assuming the facts check out. They will see the time stamps of when your seat was released.
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Old Dec 31, 15, 7:27 am
  #12  
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OP should note how DOT defines an IDB. It's not just a matter of not being allowed to board the plane.
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Old Dec 31, 15, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by Ari View Post
OP should complain to UA as he was available in the gate area 15 minutes prior to departure and checked in 30 minutes prior to departure. That seems to be all the UA CoC requires of passengers.
The check in time is yet to be confirmed. Even if the OP checked in online and did not arrive at the airport and begin to clear security until T25, the OP did not meet the minimum check in time.
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Old Dec 31, 15, 8:03 am
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OP will undoubtedly get some comp from UA as did I ($250 voucher) for what had hallmarks of turning into similar. In early 2015, I showed up at gate 5 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin for BOS-ORD UX flight. All boarding was already complete, and they were paging me. There was no weather situation. I was pissed as I knew I wouldn't be able to fit my carry-on. GA was very rude and denied any wrong-doing. I find UX undisciplined and unreliable. I generally show up early for UX but just how early do you need to show up to deal with their shenanigans?
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Old Dec 31, 15, 8:31 am
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I would use the "Boarding Begins" time on your BP as the deadline to get to the gate. That time usually depends on the aircraft type. The BP also shows the "Boarding Ends" and "Flight Departs" time, like this -
[IMG][/IMG]

Not sure if a mobile BP shows this information - another reason I'm still using paper BP's. It would be easier to show to the agent, especially if the "Boarding Ends" time hasn't passed yet.
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