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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 15, 19, 5:39 pm
  #121  
 
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We thank the following contributors for their thoughtful analysis.

Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
Sorry, but in this case it doesn't seem like the service employee was treated like dirt. It sounded like the passengers were.
Were they responsible for duplicate BPs?
Were they the ones who lost one of 4 BPs?
Did they accuse themselves of not having a BP (a ridiculous assertion since they were onboard, implying incompetence of the Gate Crew)?
And were they at fault, once being accused of lying, for trying to show their accuser that, yes, they actually had a BP for that seat on this flight, once it was found?
And for this they got booted? And I'm sorry, maybe your experiences have been different than mine, but I've found a much higher than average number of entitled pissants wearing the UA uniform.
So I really don't think much of this sad tale has been spun. We'll just have to disagree, since neither of us were there.
[QUOTE=narvik;31519958]Aye, I'd say at least 50% of the story is missing, i.e. the other side!

Originally Posted by username View Post
To some earlier comments...

1 - Since this is a Forbes story, it is understandable the author disclosed his stock holdings for possible conflict of interest
2 - Yes, we only got 1/2 of the story but the author could not get UA to respond
3 - It also sounds to me the FA overreacted/wanted to cover her mistake
4 - In all cases, you just don't treat customers like this - especially 2 with statuses
5 - I can see the couple was hoping the UA internal process would clear them but it seemed to have made their lives worse. So, they decided to go public. Imagine if you have built up status and miles with UA and now UA treats you as enemy...
Originally Posted by narvik View Post
Hmmm, after reading some of that from the link you provided, I'm contemplating adjusting my point-of-view on this: their sole mission seems to be to support (i.e. protect) their FAs and other front-line staff.
Crosshairs indeed!
Narvik is referring to PIRC, the UA committee that appears to have the authority to ban a passenger from flying on UA for life.

Originally Posted by COSPILOT View Post
Tapping someone on the shoulder or elbow isn't accosted, assuming the story is correct. If so I have about a thousand claims per year toward others, and a few hundred will have claims toward me. Pinning down a person or grabbing and holding someone without letting go I completely agree.

The couple with no apparent previous problems and both with status are now suddenly on the radar of UA, which doesn't make sense. But somehow a BG5 person apparently took priority. I'd be beyond annoyed if I'm happily seated and some FA says I need to leave the airplane. With or without some alcohol in me, I'd be outspoken.
Originally Posted by COSPILOT View Post
No idea what sensitivity people have, but I tap people all the time, for stupid stuff like your kid's shoe fell off, you dropped your wallet, let me help you with that. Never once have people overreacted, ever. Instead they are thankful I took the time to care. UA has self created a toxic environment for everyone, passengers and employees. Most employees are fine, and it's the few that create the toxic environment, just as a few bad passengers do so as well. However status passengers with no previous issues lead to me to believe this is the FA on a power trip, not the couple.
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
FAs sometimes touch passengers, for example to wake someone for breakfast. Can the FA then be fired for assaulting the customer?
Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
Hopefully, UA not only has a "Passenger Incident Review Committee," but also an "Employee Incident Review Committee." Overreacting/hysterical employees reflect badly on a company and they should be subject to review and appropriate counseling, training, and discipline. It is hoped that HR/Corporate Security has reviewed this FA's record and had a conversation with the FA about how the FA could have de-escalated the situation without affecting the entire plane.
As stated in our previous postings, our goal is to heighten the awareness how the current system does not offer sufficient protections to air passengers. We believe each of us on this forum has contributed to making progress in that direction. Thank you.

Finally, there were questions as to whether we are “fake”. I will take this opportunity to promote bladder cancer research, an area we spent our first 15+ years and were able to make some contributions. Statistically, one of the regular contributors to this forum would have this affliction or at least have a loved one who has (fortunately it is also readily managed). In that case, you or your loved one would have likely been managed by the treatment we developed together with our collaborators. (see https://www.bcan.org/staff-page/jess...pharm-d-phd-2/). BCAN, or Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, is a relatively new nonprofit organization dedicated to helping bladder cancer patients and always welcomes public participation. (Disclosure: our current research focus is not on bladder cancer but rather on peritoneal metastases, a highly fatal disease that kills more Americans than breast and prostate cancer combined every year).
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Old Sep 15, 19, 6:17 pm
  #122  
 
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Originally Posted by Jessie and Guill View Post
As stated in our previous postings, our goal is to heighten the awareness how the current system does not offer sufficient protections to air passengers.
I’m still not sure what went so wrong. A mistake was supposedly made and folks over reacted. How exactly is legislation or whatever it is you are asking for going to change that?
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Old Sep 16, 19, 6:26 am
  #123  
 
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Originally Posted by Jessie and Guill View Post
We have been advised not to provide video to avoid unnecessary litigation risks. ...

You were advised not to post the video but advised it was fine to talk to a reporter and post on an online forum?

Originally Posted by Jessie and Guill View Post
...I do not believe the incident, as long as the UA policies and procedures continue to give its crew the unchecked authority, could have been avoided....
Taking no action may have avoided the incident. Worst case, you would have been re-seated, but at least you would have made it to your destination. This kind of thing (double seat assignment) probably happens (probably to the same FAs that you interacted with) at least once daily without causing a "newsworthy" incident.
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Last edited by eng3; Sep 16, 19 at 6:39 am
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Old Sep 16, 19, 9:26 am
  #124  
 
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Originally Posted by Jessie and Guill View Post
My husband said “No, you were not there, but it would be an outrage, wouldn’t it?”
Nothing is outrageous about the events described in the article and in this thread

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 16, 19 at 10:30 am Reason: discuss the issue; not the poster(s)
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Old Sep 16, 19, 9:29 am
  #125  
 
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
If anyone’s boarded an Air China plane at Guangzhou in the 1990s (the terminal door is opened and everyone runs to the foot of the air stairs), they know height has zero correlation to belligerence or aggressiveness.

Not sure why you have to go back that far in time, or single out this one specific airport in China, but point well made!
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Old Sep 16, 19, 11:56 am
  #126  
 
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Well, they got booted off a flight they for which they paid for no cause at all, except the whim of yet another entitled UA employee.
Certainly, in the context of FT, they're victims.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 16, 19 at 1:26 pm Reason: removed quote of deleted content
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Old Sep 16, 19, 12:00 pm
  #127  
 
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
Well, they got booted off a flight they for which they paid for no cause at all, except the whim of yet another entitled UA employee.
Certainly, in the context of FT, they're victims.
They got booted off the flight for refusing to deplane with everyone else. Not sure why they thought that was a good idea. Seems they didn’t deescalate the situation any better than the FAs.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Newman55 View Post
They got booted off the flight for refusing to deplane with everyone else. Not sure why they thought that was a good idea. Seems they didn’t deescalate the situation any better than the FAs.
???
The Wientjes, who say they were sitting in their assigned seats and felt “abused” by United, refused to leave. A 40-minute impasse resulted, in which three ground personnel boarded the plane to “discuss” the situation with the Wientjes, which they found intimidating. Ultimately, the pilot went on the intercom. He said there was a “situation” on the aircraft and all the passengers would have to deplane.

At this point, the Wientjes reluctantly left the plane so the other passengers could fly.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 12:40 pm
  #129  
 
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
???
I'd want them removed as well. They were unnecessarily delaying the flight because of a dumb mistake.

Granted... this is only one side of the story.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 12:44 pm
  #130  
 
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Originally Posted by Newman55 View Post
I'd want them removed as well. They were unnecessarily delaying the flight because of a dumb mistake.

Granted... this is only one side of the story.
Okay, but you just accused them of refusing to deplane get off the plane. That's simply untrue.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 12:50 pm
  #131  
 
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Exact Same Situation - Different Outcome

A few days ago, I was seated in the aft exit row (where I always sit), seat 21D, when I noticed some late boarders (a young couple) come on to find that one of their seats was taken (seat 20E). The young man calmly showed the occupant of his seat his boarding pass and the occupant (a non-rev) in turn showed his boarding pass with the same seat number showing. Instead of freaking out, the young man calmly walked back to a FA, who then started an investigation, after which, the GA boarded and apologized to both parties for the mix-up, resulting in the non-rev moving to another seat.

No excitement, no accusations, just calm reasonable behavior displayed by all involved.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 12:54 pm
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
Okay, but you just accused them of refusing to deplane get off the plane. That's simply untrue.
I misread the paragraph. Indeed they did get off with everyone else.

Still don't see how they have been victimized. There seems to be plenty of blame to go around.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 1:04 pm
  #133  
 
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Originally Posted by Newman55 View Post
I misread the paragraph. Indeed they did get off with everyone else.

Still don't see how they have been victimized. There seems to be plenty of blame to go around.
Reminds me of a Bible verse I learned as a child:

"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger".

I never, ever, confront or raise my voice to a FA. The need to get to my destination supersedes any need on my part to be proven right.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 1:59 pm
  #134  
 
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Originally Posted by zombietooth View Post
A few days ago, I was seated in the aft exit row (where I always sit), seat 21D, when I noticed some late boarders (a young couple) come on to find that one of their seats was taken (seat 20E). The young man calmly showed the occupant of his seat his boarding pass and the occupant (a non-rev) in turn showed his boarding pass with the same seat number showing. Instead of freaking out, the young man calmly walked back to a FA, who then started an investigation, after which, the GA boarded and apologized to both parties for the mix-up, resulting in the non-rev moving to another seat.

No excitement, no accusations, just calm reasonable behavior displayed by all involved.
Yes same thing has happened to me more than once. Exactly the same result.

On one occasion, the flight was overbooked and I had volunteered. They didnt need me so I boarded. The cleared a standby, when she went over to her seat, it was occupied. She alerted the FA, the FA got the GA. There was no argument or really any discussion. I caught the GA's eye, he chose to deboard me (as I had previously expressed that I would have MUCH rather taken the volunteer deal). While back at the counter, they told me the seated guy must have made it past the GA without scanning his BP or the scanner didn't pick it up and so they thought he was a no show and gave his seat to the stand by. I guess that is really more the GA's fault. If there weren't any volunteers, I would assume they would just undo the standby. Again, a common issue that was easily resolved in minutes with no incident.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 2:54 pm
  #135  
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No clue what happened here. However I have been in this "here's your new boarding pass and you are sitting somewhere else" situation and, quite frankly, I had to fight the red mist and watch my words. My experience of this is that if you so much as look at them then it might end badly for the passenger. I have never seen an FA deplaned so the odds aren't good. Touching one - well you shouldn't need to be Einstein to work out where that could head. If it were me I would put a lid on it because you aren't going to change anything whether you are right or wrong.
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