bizarre denied boarding?

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Old Feb 17, 19, 7:05 pm
  #16  
 
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Any of the FT sages recall whether ROC was made one of those outsourced outstations during UA's Smisek tailspin?

Not that this excuses any of OP's experience, but in my experience service levels in the outstations have never fully recovered after this outsourcing.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 7:30 pm
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I'm going to leave side the agent's obvious issues.

If I read this correctly, it appears to complete your party's check in, you simply needed an employee's badge scan at a kiosk to confirm that your daughter was flying with you. And you missed your flights because there wasn't a UA employee available to do this. A dozen or so other passengers also missed that flight because regardless of reasons, UA ended up insufficiently staffing a busy counter. That seemed to me to be the crux of the issue.
Because it was so many people, the event must have been noticed. Seems to me your delay is an operational failure by the airline caused directly by their being understaffed.

Forgetting the IDB which doesn't apply as others have made clear and even leaving aside the agent's horrible performance, I'd be asking UA for reimbursement for hotel and meal costs. I doubt you'll be alone. I'd like to think they'd make good on it.
Fwiw, I have no appreciable status on UA and was treated fairly.
Also, iirc, when I've been delayed and missed a cxn on UA I got it at the layover airport, where the hotel voucher was needed. (Admittedly, this has only happened to me twice and it's been a few years.) It wasn't even a question. When we landed, missed cxns were directed by a gate agent to a desk where the vouchers were distributed. .
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Old Feb 17, 19, 7:46 pm
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Originally Posted by prometa View Post
If you--or anyone else reading--find yourself in a similar situation again, find the nearest law enforcement officer and report it. What you describe is a scenario that could have easily devolved into violence, and that women needed to be removed from the counter, and possibly detailed, until she had control of herself and her emotions again. If a passenger acted that way, the ticket agent wouldn't hesitate to call law enforcement.
This. (Except I would suggest she be detained rather than detailed.) If her behavior was as described, she was in serious need of an intervention by law enforcement. A police report would also strengthen your case with the airline.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 8:02 pm
  #19  
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This was not an involuntary denial of boarding. You may satisfy yourself of this by looking at 14 CFR 250 and its following sub-sections. It also does not matter whether your daughter's booking was linked to your or not. Presuming that she was too young to fly alone other than as an unaccompanied minor, she would have had to check in with an agent and a responsible adult (you) no matter what entries were made.

None of that excuses what happened.

I would send UA a clear and concise note which contains only the detail specifically relevant to what happened. The reason for needing agent assistance is irrelevant. But, be specific as to language and as to her actions, e.g., jumping on the scales. Include a detailed list of your expenses (with receipts) as well as a note about the missed night. I would read it again and see if there is someone else who can review it to make certain that it is short, tight, but omits nothing relevant. At the same time, do not make a claim for involuntary denied boarding. But, do ask for reimbursement in cash for the losses.

Not that this will repeat itself for you, but for the benefit of others, if something such as this happens, call the police. This is far beyond a customer service issue (which is not a police matter) but goes to safety and security.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 8:37 pm
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IDB does have a specific meaning that your situation doesn't fall under. What you describe sounds like a horrible situation caused by a bad agent, but it's not IDB as per the mandatory compensation rules.
But it probably does fall under the laws of Tort and nay be pursued in courts for even larger monetary amounts since it's outside normal compensation under IDB rules
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Old Feb 17, 19, 9:37 pm
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Not that this will repeat itself for you, but for the benefit of others, if something such as this happens, call the police. This is far beyond a customer service issue (which is not a police matter) but goes to safety and security.
Not sure if police involvement would force gate agent to work the check in counter or stop the flight from departure, but that would have pretty much “forced” United to admit fault and compensate.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 10:13 pm
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FWIW I would send UA a bill for all expenses including the missed nights and the cost of the layover. I would mention that you sent you part of your party to the gate as to advise them of the issue (always possible that the GA seeing many people are going miss the flight could come help at the checkin counter).

If UA does fully compensate you after several tries, the amounts are not so insignificant that I would not hesitate to file a small claims action.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 11:01 pm
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 17, 19 at 11:04 pm Reason: Discuss the issues, not the poster(s)
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Old Feb 17, 19, 11:11 pm
  #24  
 
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Is there literally no one else above the wing for UA at ROC? I'm not terribly familiar with small outstations, but to me it beggars belief that an agent was loudly swearing in public and ignoring pax at a kiosk for 45 minutes without anyone firmly confronting her, or seeking to inform the station manager (no idea if such a thing exists at ROC) or another responsible party.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 2:32 am
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Is there literally no one else above the wing for UA at ROC? I'm not terribly familiar with small outstations, but to me it beggars belief that an agent was loudly swearing in public and ignoring pax at a kiosk for 45 minutes without anyone firmly confronting her, or seeking to inform the station manager (no idea if such a thing exists at ROC) or another responsible party.
Isn’t ROC a contract station? I know SYR’s contract employees are really bad and have little to no oversight.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 4:21 am
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Originally Posted by hooterbif View Post
Sorry for not giving more detail. The routing was ROC-EWR-AUA (never made it out of ROC on UA). We got rebooked ROC-ATL-AUA on Delta.

By the way, the ticket agent wasn't just swearing. She was jumping up and down and on top of the baggage weight scales and yelling at people. I think that many people were genuinely in fear of their physical safety because nobody complained. Everybody just stood there missing their flights one by one. I was afraid to even say anything to her because of her behavior in front of my children. The other helper (not really a ticket agent but one of the guys who puts the bags on the conveyor) was very clearly afraid of her, saying that she was his boss and he could not do anything about what was happening - he apologized under his breath many times.

As far as her losing her job, she said many times that this job means nothing to her and that she doesn't need this aggravation.



I considered recording the agents behavior. The agent was borderline physically threatening. Can you imagine what would happen if I was recording her behavior? What do you think she would have done? In front of my daughter who was already petrified? Is it worth it for me?

Why was she on a separate locator? I had been scoping out these tickets for a long time. They finally went "on sale" for points. So, I was able to get three tickets with the amount of points I had immediately. I did so!

Meanwhile, I then tried to find more points. I realized that I could transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards. I did so and finally got the fourth ticket (separately). I had to phone in because she "appeared" to be an unaccompanied minor. Of course, the phone agent waived the phone fee because you just can't do that type of award online.
If you didn’t want to record her I would have called the police within the first 3-5min not let 45min go by standing there
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Old Feb 18, 19, 6:10 am
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I believe that ROC is outsourced to DGS (Delta Ground Services). United is still responsible for their contractors.

UAL is in the process of replacing DGS with their own ground handling company, United Ground Express (UGE), in order to have better control of the product. Often, UGE hires many of the previous contractor's employees when a station transitions so any improvement will depend on the new management and improved training.

In any case, if the service is below standards, report it. They can't fix problems if they don't know they are occuring.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 6:27 am
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UA can neither fire nor retrain the agent. That's the responsibility of the contractor. But UA should be made aware of this incident so that they can hold their contractor accountable.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 7:44 am
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Originally Posted by JetAway View Post
UA can neither fire nor retrain the agent.
UA could fire or retrain the contractor.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 8:49 am
  #30  
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Originally Posted by HkCaGu View Post


Not sure if police involvement would force gate agent to work the check in counter or stop the flight from departure, but that would have pretty much “forced” United to admit fault and compensate.
Local law enforcement will have emergency contact numbers and someone would have come running. You may be assured that the GA who told OP's daughter that he could not do anything, most certainly would have made it his business to return to the check-in counter. In addition, by notifying UA, someone senior at UA Ops. would have become involved and this might have resulted in OP being processed if time remained or at least being assured of being taken care of properly.
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