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All electronics turned off for SIN-SFO flight - comments from multiple onboard FTers

All electronics turned off for SIN-SFO flight - comments from multiple onboard FTers

Old Mar 20, 19, 7:34 am
  #1  
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All electronics turned off for SIN-SFO flight - comments from multiple onboard FTers

Hi all- I just flew from Singapore to SFO and it was the worst. I am curious what you all think is fair compensation.

All of the electrical power had to be shut down to the passengers for the entire flight. This meant that the entertainment system did not work. We could not turn the lights on and off. This meant that throughout the night everyone was blinding each other by using the flashlights on their cell phone. We could not recharge devices. I was flying in Polaris Business and the seats could not be moved up or down with the controls. I wondered if that would mean that we could not land, but when I asked a flight attendant if there was a chance it might get fixed I learned that she can disconnect it from the motor and manually move it. The galley did not have electricity. We did get meal service, but we had to eat in the dark.

The good news is that the Internet worked! I was very grateful for that.

The problem arose from some glitch that was causing the seatbelt chime to constanly sound again and again and again. The only way to stop it was disconnect all of the power. They even considered landing the plane in Tokyo and having us fly out the following day on a new plane

During the flight we got emails that we would get $125 in travel vouchers. I do think that this is more than fair if all we were missing were the movies. But I wonder if you all think that the widespread nature of multiple issues and the cost of the Polaris ticket meritted a little more. What do you think?
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Old Mar 20, 19, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by katycab View Post
... I was flying in Polaris Business and the seats could not be moved up or down with the controls. I wondered if that would mean that we could not land...
I can assure you that the plane would have to (and can) land at some point, even with seats reclined.

The amount can vary by status, but $125 seems chintzy for even a no-status passenger in Polaris.

Edit - after getting a more truthful story (IMHO), $125 seems appropriate. If you decide to ask for more, just report the facts to UA. They will no how long the cabin power was affected.
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Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Mar 20, 19 at 9:02 am
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Old Mar 20, 19, 8:06 am
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Seems cheap for such a long flight in business.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 8:21 am
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I personally would really question the Captains decision to fly ( or not to divert ) with this type of system failure. The lack of power was truly an inconvenience but the root cause is what concerns me the most. "Something" was causing the electrical issue and without landing and investigation, I'd be concerned.

I personally would take that approach ( I know you just wanted to get home or to work ) but after all, safely is the top priority ( not my words or mantra, its the Airlines ) . I definitely would write United and I might even take it to the DOT on a complaint, but that's just me.

$500 minimum would be by best thought although the more they offer, the bigger deal they admit it to be.

Just my .02

NOTE: Further comments indicate more power was available than I thought so I'd back off from some of my comments, but go for more for the lack of IFE.

DEN

Last edited by DEN; Mar 20, 19 at 8:41 am
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Old Mar 20, 19, 8:24 am
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Agree that the $125 is too low. Don't accept it if you get an email and instead write in to Customer Care with basically what you wrote in the OP. I'm sure you'll get something much more appealing.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 8:34 am
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I was on that flight in Polaris as well. I got $200.00 offer. I took it. . For no entertainment,IMO $200.00 is fair compensation. We had lights for dinner service, it was 3 hours in flight that All electronics were turned off. Lights are turned off usually after dinner service anyway. For second meal service with windows shades up we had sunlight. Both galleys had lights & electricity throughout the flights when I got up every 4 hours for a walk ; and midflight snacks were available in the galley between the 2 Polaris cabins. Hot snacks were available. During one of my walks I saw flight attendant in the galley preparing Grill cheese & soup for 2 paxs who were in the galley.
I take the 10:30PM SIN-SFO on regular bases, lights are turned off after dinner service and not back on 2 hours before landing for the second meal service.
In Dec 2018, again in Polaris, my SIN -SFO was cancelled.For 24 hour delay, I received $500.00
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Old Mar 20, 19, 8:57 am
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Originally Posted by yyzprincess View Post
I was on that flight in Polaris as well. I got $200.00 offer. I took it. . For no entertainment,IMO $200.00 is fair compensation. We had lights for dinner service, it was 3 hours in flight that All electronics were turned off.
Thanks for the detail. Sounds quite a bit less dire than OP made it out to be.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by yyzprincess View Post
... it was 3 hours in flight that All electronics were turned off. Lights are turned off usually after dinner service anyway.

Nice to have someone else who can report an “alternative truth”. I wish people would not exaggerate bad experiences..

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Mar 20, 19 at 9:06 am
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Old Mar 20, 19, 9:05 am
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During one of my first walk, the captain was in the Galley; Another 1 K & I had a lengthy conversation with him. There was no major failure. Only failure was in the beeping for seatbelt would not turn off. The flight deck crew was in contact with both Chicago & Boeing; Options:To have continuous beeping or to voluntarily turn off the electronics thus no continuous beeping or divert to Tokyo.
Since there was no major failure, decision was made to continue to SFO and turn off the electronics since it was a night flight and paxs would be sleeping. There was wifi for paxs who wanted to entertainment.
I was happy with the decision to continue to SFO decision. At no time during the flight I felt my safety was at risk.
I fly 300K a year 80% longhaul. I pick carriers for their safety records not the lowest fare. I only fly UA, LH, ANA, SQ, CX, QF& AC for all my international trips.

Last edited by yyzprincess; Mar 20, 19 at 2:12 pm
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Old Mar 20, 19, 10:51 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Thanks for the detail. Sounds quite a bit less dire than OP made it out to be.
Yeah really! That's one heck of a first post for the OP.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:43 am
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I was on this flight as well. The facts are as stated by "yyzprincess".
My POV on the "impact" is different. I fly this route regularly, in Polaris when I need to get work done. Thus was the case here. As mentioned, no power after about 3 hours. My seat was in the "sleep" position, as I had taken a short nap. No power - flat seat for 11 hours, no light, no power for laptop. I need the light, as I need to access paper docs while working. I asked the FA if the seat could be adjusted back to vertical, and was told "no, only for landing". So I tried to work sitting on the bed, using my phone for light, until my laptop ran out of power. Extremely suboptimal way to work. Again, if I have no work to do, I fly Econ and sleep.

As an additional data point, the flight was PZ9 up until departure.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 12:01 pm
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I had the same problem on a United flight HKG-ORD about 6 years ago. Lights and entertainment went off for 7 or 8 hours. I just went to sleep. My wife who cannot sleep on a plane thought she was going to go bezerk. No entertainment is no problem as she always carries some New Yorkers to read. No lights, that was a real problem. She went to the galley and mentioned to one FA that she could not take it (I guess she's not into quiet meditation). He offered his reader light.....that she happily used for the next 6 hours. We were flying Economy and got $150 ETC that we had no use for as at that time we only flew United to destinations that we could not fly on USAirways. For Business Class passengers, the recovery offer should be more than $150 ETC.

So, I can understand the problem and extend to katycab a warm welcome to FlyerTalk and especially to the United threads!
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Old Mar 20, 19, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by yyzprincess View Post
I was on that flight in Polaris as well. I got $200.00 offer. I took it. . For no entertainment,IMO $200.00 is fair compensation. We had lights for dinner service, it was 3 hours in flight that All electronics were turned off. Lights are turned off usually after dinner service anyway.
$200 seems low for Long Haul Business Class - I wrote 1KVoice regarding no PDE on my last Saturday HNL-LAX flight when I was in paid F, and received $300. While that was higher than usual, I've usually received $200 with no PDE when sitting in economy on Hawaii flights to/from the mainland.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 12:19 pm
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This sounds like a horrible experience!
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Old Mar 20, 19, 12:43 pm
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Interestingly had this same malfunction (the seat belt chime going repetitively) recently - albeit on an Airbus and while waiting at the gate - and came to find out it was a malfunction with the ditching system. Basically, the malfunction made the aircraft think that we were in an electrical emergency and about to ditch/crashland (airspeed below 100 knots, landing gear down, no flaps) but without the realization that we were actually parked at the gate and not in the air. Part of the ditching function of an Airbus is when activated, the seatbelt chime goes off every second or two as an emergency alert to everyone on board.
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