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United passenger threatened with handcuffs to make room for 'higher-priority' travele

United passenger threatened with handcuffs to make room for 'higher-priority' travele

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Old Apr 11, 17, 10:17 pm
  #61  
 
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Originally Posted by WorldLux View Post
The fact that there are downgrades and IDB is IMO not the problem. It's the "obey or you'll be in cuffs" policy that seems to be applied systemwide. I get that even large entities can't plan everything to perfection and these thing happen, but if they do, then I expect the airline to do their best, not threaten customers with arrest...

I checked into an hotel late yesterday (around 9/10 pm) and the booked room category was no longer available. Did the receptionist threaten me with calling the cops? No, he gave me an upgrade to a much bigger room. Most hotels act similarly in my experience: "UA, take notes!"
Many years, it happened in London. I was offered a different but higher class hotel at the original hotel's expense and a full refund on my room. Then I got 2500 nonunion points, and I was fully mollified
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Old Apr 12, 17, 12:52 am
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Clickbait headline?

I have a feeling this passenger was not actually "threatened." He sounds like an experienced flyer who tried to negotiate the situation. He probably asked the crew a question like "if I refuse to move, what happens next" and then the answer was that ultimately he'd be escorted off the plane by security.

If a cop hands you a speeding ticket, and you ask what happens if you don't show up for the court date, and the cop says a warrant for your arrest would get issued, then we wouldn't say the cop is threatening us with arrest unless we were trying to exaggerate what happened.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 6:02 am
  #63  
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Well hopefully the attorney for Geoff Fearns looks at FT to see the pattern of the downgrades, there is a thread with incidents of the downgrades for fare paying first passangers. Has happened to me with upgrade instrumpets (more than once) and the middle seat is the killer insult in these situations. I am only 1K so GS always takes priority.

It is not just United, but the US airlines do need to rethink their approach. I think those of us who have been downgraded on flights or removed from flights after we have been seated would like a policy change. It is quite embarrassing leaving the plane or moving from the first class seat. It looks like you did something wrong, i.e. stole someone's seat or illegally got on the plane. I politely ask why, but do not refuse as I do want to travel wherever I am going, but I have never received any compensation in these situations but now know my rights so next time will ask.

Kudos to the employees who wait to do the final seat upgrades after everyone has boarded - this has happened to me more than once and I always welcome that change in seat! Perhaps this should become the standard policy and then paid F passagers will not be downgraded - surely a better business practice for UA.

Last edited by Aussienarelle; Apr 12, 17 at 6:09 am
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Old Apr 12, 17, 8:15 am
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The downgrade is not the real tragedy here, downgrades happen, there's a published policy (ecert as apology + refund of miles/instrument/dollar amount between fare paid and lowest available fare in the cabin the passenger ultimately flew in). It sucks especially if you get dropped to economy, but at least you got to fly, and theoretically the above should make you whole. The $25,000 charitable donation is a joke as a request.

The real tragedy is the agent threatening to arrest the guy, especially using the "handcuffs" line. IDB logically should go to a lower class of service and then re-accommodation of one or more people from Y, then downgrade a couple upcabin. The fact that the threat of handcuffs was used before common sense freeing of space in the lower cabin is ridiculous.

Also, it shows that United's practices on bump behavior are absolutely broken. At the point where people have received confirmed seat assignments and presented themselves at the gate on time and then boarded the aircraft, they shouldn't be bumped for any "higher priority" traveler who shows up later. If people have confirmed seats and aren't there at the minimum 15 minutes before scheduled departure, then you can process the upgrade list. If they didn't see an agent in time for a confirmed seat assignment, then maybe they get bumped too. But at the point where someone has boarded the aircraft it's way too late.

More fuel for the out of control blaze that is the anti-United social media uproar right now...
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Old Apr 12, 17, 8:29 am
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I'm going to file this under the "fake news" folder; basically they are continue to sensationalize the incident from the other day by adding fuel to the fire and make it seem how UA is this large airline that abuses power, kicks passengers around, and ranks the importance of people.

When in reality there isn't much to see here. There was an aircraft downgrade; "full fare F" on LIHLAX is $1959, Y unrestricted is $1335....so I'm inclined to believe this is either a P fare or some sort of upgrade. Perhaps he boarded, some GS or 1K that was downgraded from a CPU had a hissy fit and they tried to resolve it.

"They said they’d put me in cuffs if they had to.” I'm a bit curious as to what additional information is missing here and again I think it's trying to sensationalize/piggy back off of the other incident.

Regardless of the fact, UA refunded the fare difference, and gave him a voucher for future travel. I really lost all sympathy when I read this:
"Fearns requested a full refund for his flight from Kauai and asked for United to make a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice. This is how rich guys do it."

He claims UA said "somebody more important who came at the last minute" and then goes onto say "they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me”; I'm not saying he made this up, but since we don't have the exact words from the GA, it sounds feasible that he came to the conclusion of "somebody more important" because they indicated there was a "priority list"; its really all second hand after the fact as we know the stories really change.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 8:34 am
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Again?

Please sue'em.

And please, Congress, pass a charter to prevent airlines from this kind of behavior. I mean, threatening people with cuffs when they paid for a ticket and through the fault of the airline cannot be "accommodated", really?
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Old Apr 12, 17, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by phltraveler View Post
The downgrade is not the real tragedy here, downgrades happen, there's a published policy (ecert as apology + refund of miles/instrument/dollar amount between fare paid and lowest available fare in the cabin the passenger ultimately flew in). It sucks especially if you get dropped to economy, but at least you got to fly, and theoretically the above should make you whole.
But downgrades, if they do happen, should happen at the gate at the latest, and the passenger should be told exactly what seat he/she is getting if he/she decides to board. If the airline is unsure about whether it has enough seats, then people who might have to stay off the plane should not be allowed on in the first place. If the airline is unsure about whether it has enough F seats, then passengers can be allowed on, but told to sit in Y. They can then be upgraded to F if conditions permit. You never give something to someone and then take it away, you always give them less and deliver more if you can. Not sure what is wrong with UA/YX that they can't learn this. When I go to a restaurant and I'm told that the wait is 30 minutes long, it is rare that I ever wait longer than 30 minutes. Typically, I'll get through in 15-25 minutes. See the pattern here? They always over estimate the wait time and get you in early if possible, and in the worst case, they get you in about when they told you they would. Under promise and over deliver, customers are happy. Over promise and under deliver, customers get pissed.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 8:40 am
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Agree with Sensationalism

It's really disappointing and I agree with many of you that folks capitalize on stories (Fake News) to fuel the fire of another situation. Social media allows these stories to happen and as do certain reporters that capitalize on other sensationalized stories that are exaggerated.

It's disappointing to see how people jump on this story when there are bigger, societal issues at stake. There are facts before and after that this story does not cover and as additional facts are uncovered, United was not entirely in the wrong.

Get off the band wagon, stop being Lord of the Flies, and move on...


Originally Posted by smcgrath12 View Post
I am sure regular flyers aware of it, but as a non regular flyer, I never realized the complete one sided rules regarding IDB. But, putting aside the merits of how the situation was handled and mistakes made.... And United is probably right that their crews deserved to take priority because a lot more passengers would experience pain if the crews could not make it on time. So OK, understood. Pursuing larger good over smaller pain is understandable.

A plane carrying many folks (with their own pain threshold) has a collective threshold and unique to that particular flight. But, the current rules dictate that all pain is considered same for IDB disregarding the actual reality.

United (or other airlines) wants all the upside from overbooking (not true here) and filling as many seats as they can. But, they don't want to take the responsibility to handle the inevitable downside that pops up when their clever algorithms fail them. Profit from overbooking, but if it blows up, no worries! All gain, no pain.

On one hand, United prices their tickets based on market forces dynamically for each seat, and of course, they do not offer flat prices of $400 or $800 or whatever. They want the market to determine that. But on the other hand, when they yank you off and disrupt your plans, they conveniently forget the market mantra. They don't want to play by the same rules when the shoe is on the other foot,

United or any airline should not be allowed to profit from these arbitrary caps on IDB compensation. Heck, someone buying a really expensive fare can even lose money, in addition to getting reward of upending your plans as a bonus! United wants to buy a seat from you at a fixed cost, the very same seat they sold to you, but without the courtesy of fixed pricing.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 9:07 am
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Originally Posted by emwang View Post
It's really disappointing and I agree with many of you that folks capitalize on stories (Fake News) to fuel the fire of another situation. Social media allows these stories to happen and as do certain reporters that capitalize on other sensationalized stories that are exaggerated.
People do because it is actually relevant to the problem at hand. United and airlines are way, WAY too prompt to call in the cops to get their way.

I mean, really? This is the type of respect we are entitled now as customers? If I come to you and throw you out of a table where you are seated in a restaurant after you got your drink just because I need the table for someone more important than you, how are you going to feel? What would be your reaction?

I think the power trips need to end. I have no issue to throw out people that are nuisances. Safety first, by all means. But when you screw up (because, yes, when you overbook and too many people show up, the airline, not the client, screwed up) and that you screw up even more by letting clients in the cabin and then you need to yank them, use better judgment then to just bump out people because a mystery "higher priority client" needs the seat!

And mollify the client in spades. That means $$$, rebooking at advantageous conditions (equal or superior class, hotel on the house), and proper deference from GAs. I don't think this is what was offered here, and it is certainly not what was offered in Chicago.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
I don't put much stock in the first person, totally uncorroborated DYKWIA story, which if you drop the drama reduces to "UA swapped aircraft and I lost my F seat and wound up flying economy. And then UA comped me per its policies." As previously stated, I don't see any grand injustice there.

The thing about what happened in Chicago, we can all see for ourselves what really went down.
While true that the story is uncorroborated, that doesn't change the fact that other people have had this happen to them on United or another airline. The grand injustice remains that a seated pax is being kicked off for someone with higher status or otherwise deemed more important by the airline. Even as the guy in the article raises the question, why did they not sort this out before boarding?

It's basically like you go to a nice restaurant, order your food, start eating, and then the maitre'd comes over in the middle of your meal and says we need you to clear the table for a VIP guest but we can move you over to the bar seating. Can you honestly say that you would not be upset?

Bottom line is that once a pax has boarded, only way to get them to give up their seat for someone else should be through VDB. If the higher status pax is more important, then airline should pay me a few hundred bucks for the inconvenience and I'll be happy to wait for a later flight or take the downgrade.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by skidooman View Post
People do because it is actually relevant to the problem at hand. United and airlines are way, WAY too prompt to call in the cops to get their way.

I mean, really? This is the type of respect we are entitled now as customers? If I come to you and throw you out of a table where you are seated in a restaurant after you got your drink just because I need the table for someone more important than you, how are you going to feel? What would be your reaction?

I think the power trips need to end. I have no issue to throw out people that are nuisances. Safety first, by all means. But when you screw up (because, yes, when you overbook and too many people show up, the airline, not the client, screwed up) and that you screw up even more by letting clients in the cabin and then you need to yank them, use better judgment then to just bump out people because a mystery "higher priority client" needs the seat!

And mollify the client in spades. That means $$$, rebooking at advantageous conditions (equal or superior class, hotel on the house), and proper deference from GAs. I don't think this is what was offered here, and it is certainly not what was offered in Chicago.
I agree with this. Probably coupled with their constant delays and equipment failures, it's cultivated a low tolerance environment for dealing with issues like this. Orders seem to be just get the issue resolved and the planed pushed out as quickly as possible. So they skip all the niceties and go straight for the authoritarian approach.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by jktraveler View Post
Similar happened to me on American Airlines and I'm Executive Platinum.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...p-upgrade.html
Ditto, though I was on UA and a 1K. If it wasn't for the fact I used to work for the FAA and used that to confuse the FA to the point that she didn't know who she was dealing with, that could have been me the other day.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:21 am
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That is exactly what I'm becoming more and more afraid of.

Idiots causing delays for hundreds of people. I've only personally encountered this once in all my years of flying but maybe percentage is growing.

My most critical flights are typically when I book a flight to a hub for a once-a-day intl connection, I usually put in a decent buffer but I think I'll need to start increasing it.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:41 am
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Allan38103 View Post
I have only seen one mention of the word "FAM" in this context. I understand the need to keep the inner workings of Air Marshal operations unpublished, but what does an airline do when a FAM needs a seat at the last minute? (and seats have already been assigned, BP's issued, etc.) and then a smaller plane is substituted?
- Tell the FAM he or his colleagues are free to evict the pax if they can.

- cancel the flight, telling the FAM they are not about to risk the death of passenger
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Old Apr 12, 17, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by WorldLux View Post
The fact that there are downgrades and IDB is IMO not the problem. It's the "obey or you'll be in cuffs" policy that seems to be applied systemwide. I get that even large entities can't plan everything to perfection and these thing happen, but if they do, then I expect the airline to do their best, not threaten customers with arrest...

I checked into an hotel late yesterday (around 9/10 pm) and the booked room category was no longer available. Did the receptionist threaten me with calling the cops? No, he gave me an upgrade to a much bigger room. Most hotels act similarly in my experience: "UA, take notes!"
Ding ding...like many people my employer does not allow me to take VDB, but I'll happily comply with any IDB. It's when we get threatened with police action under the color of a self-deputized FA's authority so they can put their non-rev friends in the upgrade seat I've earned we get cranky.
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