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United Airlines Kicks Elderly Professor Couple Off Late-Night Flight

United Airlines Kicks Elderly Professor Couple Off Late-Night Flight

Old Sep 16, 19, 8:19 pm
  #151  
 
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Originally Posted by Jessie and Guill View Post
This was the first time that the FA first misplaced our BP and then blamed us for her mistake....

I do believe that part of the events contributed largely to the deterioration, and to what ultimately transpired.


As an outsider like me, this whole fiasco could be simply summarized as:

1) A Flight Attendant who mishandled/lost a boarding pass necessary to resolve a seating issue, but who couldn't admit to her fault, and thus dug her heels in.
2) Passengers who were adamant to immediately prove they were in the right, and thus dug their heels in.

A bad combination...with a predictable outcome.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 8:25 pm
  #152  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Huh. Somehow, I've never seen a red mist when I've been asked to move. And, yes, I've been asked to give up better seats for worse ones.

I've also had my seat assignment changed after I had already printed out a boarding pass, both for better (upgrades) and worse (moved out of the exit row), which is why I stated earlier that a boarding pass proves nothing.

Seat assignments are not guaranteed. Sometimes that works in your favor, as somebody else loses a prime seat and you get it. Sometimes, it works against you. Either way, everyone gets to the destination at the same time.
I have flown on many airlines (was formerly UA 1p or 2p for many years pre-merger) and have never “lost” my seat assignment without a reason. Typically on AA when they have aircraft changes. Are you saying you commonly lose your seat on UA for worse ones without a reason? Upgrades are a different reason altogether and those make sense. I’m just confused why non-upgrade lost seat assignments are so common for you.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 8:34 pm
  #153  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Huh. Somehow, I've never seen a red mist when I've been asked to move. And, yes, I've been asked to give up better seats for worse ones.

I've also had my seat assignment changed after I had already printed out a boarding pass, both for better (upgrades) and worse (moved out of the exit row), which is why I stated earlier that a boarding pass proves nothing.

Seat assignments are not guaranteed. Sometimes that works in your favor, as somebody else loses a prime seat and you get it. Sometimes, it works against you. Either way, everyone gets to the destination at the same time.
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The manifest lists, among other things, the passengers who are expected to be on the flight and each person's seat assignment. A passenger wouldn't normally see the full manifest. However, the FA has access to the entire manifest in their version of the United app, which is available on the phones/tablets they carry with them.

More to the point, you had access to your seat assignments -- the only part of the manifest that's really relevant here -- on the mobile boarding passes in the United app. If you do not have, or do not use, the United app, the FA would have been able to look up the correct seats for all parties.

Your story seems to be missing that step, where the FA determines whose boarding pass is correct and whose is not. For a disinterested observer, this is the crucial point.
First off, everybody gets there the same time? Really, so if you are booted out of first class you wouldn't say anything?

Secondly, "whose boarding pass is correct" is meaningless. You have passengers who have a boarding pass that scanned. How is that "incorrect?" Are you saying a manifest is "correct"? Of course not. A manifest may be incorrect. The manifest may show a passenger in a seat when the passenger is not in the seat. That much is obvious.

..... the position that passengers should be moved as the FA so desires. Not everybody takes that view point. In fact, the whole point is that FAs often are on a power trip, don't admit they are wrong, and the whole question is why someone has to put up with it? Why are they allowed to be jerks? If they were allowed to carry guns do you just allow them to shoot people? "I felt threatened"

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 16, 19 at 9:22 pm Reason: DIscuss the issue; not the poster(s)
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Old Sep 16, 19, 8:49 pm
  #154  
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Originally Posted by TravelLawyer View Post
Are you saying you commonly lose your seat on UA for worse ones without a reason?
It's not common, no, but it does happen. I've been unloaded from flights that I was able to make; I've had agents make mistakes; I've had seat assignments disappear for no readily available reason. (There's actually an entire thread on this).

However, it also happens on board the flight. I've moved from an exit row window to a non-exit row middle in order to accommodate a family, at the FA's pleading. I've been asked to move from 1A to 13A on the CRJ200 -- from one of the only tolerable seats to the worst of them all.

At no point did I have to battle red mist. Life goes on.

Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
First off, everybody gets there the same time? Really, so if you are booted out of first class you wouldn't say anything?
If I were downgraded, I'd ask to move to a different flight, or I'd request compensation after the fact, depending upon how badly I needed to get where I was going. I certainly wouldn't refuse to move.

Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
Secondly, "whose boarding pass is correct" is meaningless. You have passengers who have a boarding pass that scanned. How is that "incorrect?" Are you saying a manifest is "correct"? Of course not. A manifest may be incorrect. The manifest may show a passenger in a seat when the passenger is not in the seat. That much is obvious.
The manifest is the single source of truth. If the manifest shows that a seat is empty, and there is a passenger sitting there, that passenger is, by definition, in the wrong seat. Now, manifests can be amended, and if the error were due to something like a broken scanner, the manifest would be updated and then the passenger would be in the correct seat. But it can't be wrong, because it's defined to be right.

Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
.... the position that passengers should be moved as the FA so desires. Not everybody takes that view point. In fact, the whole point is that FAs often are on a power trip, don't admit they are wrong, and the whole question is why someone has to put up with it?
I'm taking the position that you don't have a right to sit in a particular seat just because you have a piece of paper.

If FAs are "often" on a power trip, I suppose I must have fantastic luck, because out of the hundreds that I've met, I can think of maybe two that seemed to be having a really bad day.

I would estimate the ratio of bad passengers to bad FAs that I've personally seen to be on the order of 50:1, depending upon how obnoxious somebody has to be to qualify as "bad." Now, in fairness, 50:1 is also the FAA-mandated maximum passenger:FA ratio, so what I'm really saying isn't that FAs are saints, but rather that the two groups are about equal.
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Last edited by jsloan; Sep 16, 19 at 9:47 pm Reason: Removed response to deleted content; updated quote to match moderator edit.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 9:08 pm
  #155  
 
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
Now imagine what would've happened if as part of the FA investigation, the FA lost track of one of the pax boarding passes & then accused the pax of lying about their seat assignment. I think that is what the professors are asserting happened to them?
I have seen horrendous caprice by FAs, against others and myself. Yet, I never would grab a FA to show them a BP they had dropped, or argue with them, merely to point out that they were in the wrong. Why, after being seated, couldn't OP have let it pass? Passengers never win these confrontations and get booted all the time.

Here is a post from 2017 with an example that I witnessed of indefensible FA behavior:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/28156538-post783.html
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:12 pm
  #156  
 
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Originally Posted by Jessie and
[color=Blue
To clarify, the FA and GA were discussing removing us from the flight, claiming we sat in the wrong seat and refused to leave. That is why we tried to show her the recovered BP, as a way to stop them from carrying out their threat. I tapped the elbow only after they refused to acknowledge my verbal attempts of getting their attention.
.
But that doesn't make sense.
First thing the FA would have done is look at the boarding passes.

They either have a duplicate and need to sort it out.
Or.
You are in the wrong seats and need to move

If the FA has gone to sort it out, then they've acknowledged a duplicate I'd think.

They've then moved the other pax to a different seat, and unless another person shows up with yet another duplicate, you are in the correct seats
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:20 pm
  #157  
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Originally Posted by Jessie and Guill View Post
You can find the new and improved UA rules after the Dao incident in multiple websites. Here is one of them: https://www.eonline.com/news/846487/...moval-incident
United Airlines Announces 10 Policy Changes in Response to Passenger Removal Incident by FRANCESCA BACARDI | Thu., Apr. 27, 2017 8:30 AM

The ten changes UA promised to do after the Dao incident are as follows. Please note #2 and recall that we had been seated for 20 minutes before the other BG5 passenger showed up.
1. Limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only.
2. Not require customers seated on the plane to give up their seat involuntarily unless safety or security is at risk.
3. Increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000.
4. Establish a customer solutions team to provide agents with creative solutions such as using nearby airports, other airlines or ground transportations to get customers to their 􀃘nal destination.
5. Ensure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure.
6. Provide employees with additional annual training.
7. Create an automated system for soliciting volunteers to change travel plans.
8. Reduce the amount of overbooking.
9. Empower employees to resolve customer service issues in the moment.
10. Eliminate the red tape on permanently lost bags by adopting a "no questions asked" policy on lost luggage.
On one hand, you're taking that out of context. If you buy basic economy and grab an open first class seat, you're going to be asked to leave your seat.

On the other hand, the second you don't adhere to the request, you technically ARE a safety/security risk, so it seems very easy for them to throw that line item out the window.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:35 pm
  #158  
 
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Originally Posted by TravelLawyer View Post
I have flown on many airlines (was formerly UA 1p or 2p for many years pre-merger) and have never “lost” my seat assignment without a reason. Typically on AA when they have aircraft changes. Are you saying you commonly lose your seat on UA for worse ones without a reason? Upgrades are a different reason altogether and those make sense. I’m just confused why non-upgrade lost seat assignments are so common for you.
Perhaps you should read through these threads. Hundreds of us have experienced this. It was very frustrating for a while to get booted out of a prime seat with no reason. Yet, I never lost my cool. Things are better now.

See here:

Random seat changes to UA itineraries after they are booked & purchased [ARCHIVE]

Random seat changes to UA itineraries after having an assigned seat [Consolidated]
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:41 pm
  #159  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
You leave me no choice but to assume that your seats in the manifest did not match what was printed on your boarding pass, and that the FA told you as much.

If that is the case, you were not being asked to "give up your seat involuntarily," but rather to take your assigned seat.

The fact that your assigned seat had, at one point, been different is, in my opinion, irrelevant.
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
...

I'm taking the position that you don't have a right to sit in a particular seat just because you have a piece of paper.

...
You're normally one of the voices of reason here, but I'm puzzled by your argument in this case. It seems like it's borderline gospel at FT that pax shouldn't leave/change their seat unless handed a new b.p. by the GA. When did that change? How could a person with a scanned b.p. showing seat 21C who is sitting in 21C somehow be in the wrong?
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:46 pm
  #160  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If FAs are "often" on a power trip, I suppose I must have fantastic luck, because out of the hundreds that I've met, I can think of maybe two that seemed to be having a really bad day.
So I've never had an issue with a GA or FA. I know how to behave. But I don't think it is right. Other people have issues cause they don't understand the servitude you have as a passenger in the US (I mean, look at flights in other places where lots of passengers misbehave. They don't all get threatened with arrest or being deplaned). And I don't like it when others get in trouble because a FA is unreasonable.

People comment that the person "grabbed" the FA. I think we all here believe they "tapped" them on the shoulder but the FA interpreted that differently. Most of us frequent fliers know the FA is allowed to touch you but you aren't allowed to touch them. Which just simply doesn't make sense. Why is one considered "battery" and the other not?

The power differential doesn't actual help ensure safety. Far from it. If you take the same logic that the power differential of captain and co-pilot is the source of error of many flights, why isn't the power differential between FA and passengers? We all know the cases where the passenger notices an engine is on fire and no crew catches it. A passenger may get up to tell the crew (not wanting to yell it out loud and make everyone panic) but the crew yells, "Sit in your seat!"
But is it going to take a plane crashing, where that was the root cause, for things to change?
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:46 pm
  #161  
 
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Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
How could a person with a scanned b.p. showing seat 21C who is sitting in 21C somehow be in the wrong?
The post immediately prior to yours has a link that lists a few scenarios, such as:
- Weight & Balance issues
- Federal Air Marshal {FAM}

A common one also would be an upgrade cleared after boarding.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:48 pm
  #162  
 
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
On one hand, you're taking that out of context. If you buy basic economy and grab an open first class seat, you're going to be asked to leave your seat.

On the other hand, the second you don't adhere to the request, you technically ARE a safety/security risk, so it seems very easy for them to throw that line item out the window.
I think that is a hyperbole. If the FA asks you to give them a hundred dollars, and you disobey them, are you a safety/security risk?
If you are in one seat in economy and asked to move to another seat in economy, refusing to move makes you a security risk? (that makes the question simpler, because the whole "basic economy" and "first class" is irrelevant)
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:55 pm
  #163  
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
The post immediately prior to yours has a link that lists a few scenarios, such as:
- Weight & Balance issues
- Federal Air Marshal {FAM}

A common one also would be an upgrade cleared after boarding.
This obviously wasn't a weight/balance issue, and pax are supposed to be provided a new b.p. in the latter two cases. Unless or until that happens, I don't see how the passenger in question could be seen as being in the wrong.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:56 pm
  #164  
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Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
You're normally one of the voices of reason here, but I'm puzzled by your argument in this case. It seems like it's borderline gospel at FT that pax shouldn't leave/change their seat unless handed a new b.p. by the GA. When did that change?
If the passengers had paid for E+, for example, it makes sense to request a reprinted boarding pass to make sure that the refund request will go through as smoothly as possible; this is doubly true for a cabin downgrade. If not, the only real reason to ask for a new copy of the boarding pass is to ensure that the GA/FA has gone through the correct re-seating process, if you think you're being disadvantaged by "shenanigans," such as being moved to accommodate an NRSA. The idea here is that you would force an unscrupulous agent to create a paper trail of something they weren't planning to log, and that they'd therefore back down.

If the passengers had said, "that's fine; can we get a copy of the boarding pass?" I suspect either (a) that would have been provided, (b) the agent would have looked exasperatedly at them and said "refresh it in your app," or (c) the agent would have given in and told the other passengers to move. Option (d), being deplaned for questioning the FA's authority, seems remote.

Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
How could a person with a scanned b.p. showing seat 21C who is sitting in 21C somehow be in the wrong?
Your seat assignment is subject to change even after you've boarded. However, that's not the only possibility. I was recently first on the upgrade list on a flight that looked virtually sure to clear, and I had no carry-on luggage. Instead of boarding with the 1Ks, I went to use the restroom. By the time I'd returned, my upgrade had cleared and I had my new seat assignment. I handed my original Y boarding pass to the gate agent, expecting him to hand me an F pass. Instead, he scanned it and allowed me to board. The boarding pass in my hand was 21A, but the scanner showed 2F. The gate agent didn't notice; I boarded and sat in 2F. If I'd sat in 21A -- the seat printed on my boarding pass -- I would have been in the wrong.

Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
Other people have issues cause they don't understand the servitude you have as a passenger in the US (I mean, look at flights in other places where lots of passengers misbehave. They don't all get threatened with arrest or being deplaned).
Actually, whenever I see news about passengers misbehaving in other countries, it is generally in the context of an arrest. I'm sure that there are other examples that don't lead to arrests (and don't make the news). But, yes, there have been a few examples of absolutely revolting passenger behavior that the FAs put up with due to cultural differences, but (a) that's OMNI, and (b) irrelevant here, since this is a domestic flight on a US airline and the passengers appear to be American.

Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
And I don't like it when others get in trouble because a FA is unreasonable.
Except we generally only hear one side of the story.

Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
People comment that the person "grabbed" the FA. I think we all here believe they "tapped" them on the shoulder but the FA interpreted that differently. Most of us frequent fliers know the FA is allowed to touch you but you aren't allowed to touch them. Which just simply doesn't make sense. Why is one considered "battery" and the other not?
I don't recall being touched by a FA except to be awakened, which was an example already given in the thread. If a passenger is being unruly, the FA would have authority to make physical contact (e.g., to restrain him). Otherwise, I don't intend to give FAs carte blanche for passenger abuse. I'm certain that if there were a UA FA who regularly hit passengers intentionally (e.g., not bumping the aisle passenger with a cart), we'd have heard about it here.

Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
We all know the cases where the passenger notices an engine is on fire and no crew catches it. A passenger may get up to tell the crew (not wanting to yell it out loud and make everyone panic) but the crew yells, "Sit in your seat!"
But is it going to take a plane crashing, where that was the root cause, for things to change?
This seems over-the-top, but it also seems like a situation where the correct thing to do is to ignore the crew's instructions, knowing that your actions would be vindicated later. But nothing in this story rises to the level of a life-or-death situation.

Last edited by jsloan; Sep 16, 19 at 11:06 pm
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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:59 pm
  #165  
 
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
The post immediately prior to yours has a link that lists a few scenarios, such as:
- Weight & Balance issues
- Federal Air Marshal {FAM}

A common one also would be an upgrade cleared after boarding.
Yeah, I was tossed out of business class once for a FAM at the last minute (my wife determined that he was a FAM after sitting next to him for hours and observing his behavior-I was given no reason for the downgrade). I got downgrade compensation but was in coach, and separated from my wife for 12+ hours, so I wasn't happy. In addition, I've been bumped out of domestic F so a security guard for a politician could have my seat. I've also been downgraded out of NH First to Business once for some VIP.

Things happen. Roll with the punches.

Last edited by zombietooth; Sep 16, 19 at 11:44 pm
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