Racial profiling by United premier rep

Old Feb 10, 18, 12:22 pm
  #1  
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Racial profiling by United premier rep

Hi All,

I've been traveling 75-100K miles a year for the past 6-7 years, most of my travel is with United. Last year was the first time I made it to 1K. I'm middle eastern, brown skinned, and often have beard. Every now and then I run into situations where I'm "randomly" selected to additional search, but that's about it. Yesterday, I've run into what I believe is ugly racial profiling by United 1K/Premier rep, in Boston Logan airport. You'd be the judge:

9:20am: Landed in BOS from YHZ and started running to make my short connection to UA525.
9:25am: Noticed my eTicket doesn't show up in the United app, and the hard copy I have is still showing Y.
9:30am: Arrived to the 1K/Premier desk in Logan airport, first in line.
- this is where things started to get ugly
9:32am: My turn comes, I walk towards the check-in counter and hear the United rep shouting towards me (I'm the only person there) "this line is for F and 1K passengers only, you need to go there" pointing at the Economy check-in, I kept walking towards the lady in the 1K check-in counter and the lady kept persisting that I belong in the economy check-in before even validating ID, ticket or class. I responded and asked her "how do you know I'm not F or 1K passenger?" and she mumbled something to herself. At this point I told her I'm flying F and 1K, and she printed my ticket, before cheerfully saying "you will not make it anyway" implying that I will miss my connecting flight. At this point I asked for her badge information as I wanted to file a complaint later but turned around and left.
9:35am: Rushing to clear security
9:40am: Made it in time to board my flight
justsawaufo is offline  
Old Feb 10, 18, 12:27 pm
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Hard to say without being there, but its certainly possible. Filing a report doesn't seem like a bad idea.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by PaxALotl View Post
Hard to say without being there, but its certainly possible. Filing a report doesn't seem like a bad idea.
Who would you file a report? 1K voice?
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:29 pm
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Appears profiling and handled poorly --- but could it be an age issue or manner of dress? Others have mentioned those as issues.

Were you lacking a BP to get thru security? Otherwise I would gone to the gate (to save time) to address the seat issue. Or used a kiosk.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:29 pm
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The 'random' searches are the prerogative of TSA, assuming you're referring to SSSS.

As for your 9:32a incident, I have had similar assumptions directed my way, but there's really no point fighting someone about it. Just prove the assumption incorrect and move on to your flight.

edit:
Originally Posted by justsawaufo View Post
Who would you file a report? 1K voice?
If you want to write a report, that's probably the best avenue available.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:31 pm
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Poor Customer service to assume you did not belong in the 1K/Premier line, but not everything is about race.
Would definitely file a report for the poor customer service.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
The 'random' searches are the prerogative of TSA, assuming you're referring to SSSS.

As for your 9:32a incident, I have had similar assumptions directed my way, but there's really no point fighting someone about it. Just prove the assumption incorrect and move on to your flight.

edit:

If you want to write a report, that's probably the best avenue available.
Why bring up the "SSSS" hex?

Report them. My guess is if it is a real issue, and not some transient issue, that she'll eventually get other reports and a trend will appear. Absent any overt behavior and comment, it is tough to parse what actually was in her head. A comment to 1K is an appropriate allocation of time, with out any more substantive 'there' there.

Sometimes lazy looks like racism.

Maybe she could smell the new 1K on you, or you weren't acting 'overentitled' so she thought you weren't a 1K.....
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:40 pm
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Originally Posted by PushingTin View Post
Why bring up the "SSSS" hex?

Report them. My guess is if it is a real issue, and not some transient issue, that she'll eventually get other reports and a trend will appear. Absent any overt behavior and comment, it is tough to parse what actually was in her head. A comment to 1K is an appropriate allocation of time, with out any more substantive 'there' there.

Sometimes lazy looks like racism.

Maybe she could smell the new 1K on you, or you weren't acting 'overentitled' so she thought you weren't a 1K.....
That sounds like the cause of

Originally Posted by justsawaufo View Post
Every now and then I run into situations where I'm "randomly" selected to additional search
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:48 pm
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Originally Posted by justsawaufo View Post
Who would you file a report? 1K voice?
Yes. And I would file a complaint.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:51 pm
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Originally Posted by justsawaufo View Post
......"this line is for F and 1K passengers only, you need to go there" pointing at the Economy check-in.......
I am a youngish looking, albeit no longer young , Asian. This is almost routine for me. They often use gestures and simple English words as if I cannot understand English. I just ignore it, check in and move on. Not worth my effort to fight it.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Appears profiling and handled poorly --- but could it be an age issue or manner of dress? Others have mentioned those as issues.

Were you lacking a BP to get thru security? Otherwise I would gone to the gate (to save time) to address the seat issue. Or used a kiosk.
It could be the clothes. Still shouldn't happen.
I didn't want to use the regular security lane and my AC BP didn't show PreCheck and also showed Y. The kiosk directed me to see a rep.


Originally Posted by fumje View Post
That sounds like the cause of
It has noting to do with SSSS, there are certain stereotypes that will bump your chances for additional security checks, now this can take 1 or 30 minutes, depends on how comprehensive the check is.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:52 pm
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I don't know how SSSS truly works, but I do a lot of flying to a lot of weird places and have only been through secondary once that I can remember. I'm a 49 y/o white guy in a collared shirt. I've had Clear/Pre/GA for a few years so maybe that takes me out of the random pool, but even before that - only once in 20+ years.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:53 pm
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Given the staffer did nothing to disparage your ethnicity or race..doesn't the fact that you assume bad customer service is automatically linked to your ethnicity indicate that you're yourself rather self-conscious about matching a certain profile. I can't look into that staffer's head, but I have a hunch that people of all sorts of background get crappy customer service from United (United is the only airline where a staffer ever got loud with me and I'm a white European male).
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Old Feb 10, 18, 12:55 pm
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Originally Posted by justsawaufo View Post
It could be the clothes. Still shouldn't happen.
I didn't want to use the regular security lane and my AC BP didn't show PreCheck and also showed Y. The kiosk directed me to see a rep.





It has noting to do with SSSS, there are certain stereotypes that will bump your chances for additional security checks, now this can take 1 or 30 minutes, depends on how comprehensive the check is.
How do these additional security checks come about? Not challenging your experience, but I have never seen any UA representative initiate a 'security check', so it would be news to me if they were involved.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by justsawaufo View Post
there are certain stereotypes that will bump your chances for additional security checks
Complain to DHS, not United. These directives come from the top levels in government.
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