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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 12, 19, 8:31 pm
  #1  
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United Airlines Kicks Elderly Professor Couple Off Late-Night Flight

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michael.../#680ddfc36639

Seems like another David Dao type case. Anyone on that flight saw what happened?
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Old Sep 12, 19, 8:43 pm
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How does being 5’ 3” tall and a non-drinker preclude someone from being belligerent????

It would be nice to have a 3rd party witness.
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Old Sep 12, 19, 8:43 pm
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"Au says, “The flight attendant and gate gate both yelled at us. We were traumatized. ..."

I hate getting yelled at by gate gates. It's the worst!

Seems they were upset about the apparent lying of the FA (the BP issue). Seems to me they might have got a bit TOO upset.
After all, they were in their original seats, and the other pax were moved. Should have ended right there...

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
How does being 5’ 3” tall and a non-drinker preclude someone from being belligerent????
You forgot the CRUCIAL piece of evidence: she is a grandmother!!

"(Full disclosure: I own stock in American, JetBlue and Southwestern Airlines.)"

Well, there's motivation for this non-story right there!
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Last edited by narvik; Sep 12, 19 at 8:49 pm
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Old Sep 12, 19, 8:50 pm
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I love how the author of the article disclosed he owned stock in American, Jetblue and Southwestern airlines. An author looses credibility when they do stupid stuff like that.
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Old Sep 12, 19, 8:53 pm
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BG 5 is Basic Economy. I can believe GA made a mistake and assigned a BE passenger to what an exit row seat may have appeared to be unoccupied. This should have been a fairly simple error to take care of. The follow up actions by United Internal Review sounds grossly over reaction. I'm not sure what the retired professors can do at this time other than having their story published.
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Old Sep 12, 19, 9:01 pm
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Was there anyone in 24B?
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Old Sep 12, 19, 9:18 pm
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A couple of notes from reading the article

-- This was nearly 3 months ago, 24 Jun 2019 on a mainline aircraft
-- With the error / confusion in boarding, duplicate seat assignments, unclear if too many passengers were boarded
-- As the passengers in question decline exiting, per UA policy, the flight was canceled and all passengers were deplaned.
-- The physical contract, however innocent, seemed to have led to the escalation
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Old Sep 12, 19, 9:49 pm
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So the synopsis

Professors get seats 21 A and 21 C, husband in 21 A and wife in 21 C.

Later in boarding some one has 21 A (call that passenger 21 A2). Flight attendant takes all boarding passes but drops one and does not remember.

The problem is resolved and 21A2 goes to sit somewhere else.

Another passengers later finds the dropped boarding pass and returns it. Au ie Passenger 21C wants to confront the FA about the dropped boarding pass. FA has her back to passenger 21C talking to gate agent about the now resolved issue — So passenger Au — the 5”3’ PhD grandmother reaches out and touches the FA to get attention .

“They had their back to me. I said,“We have the pass here it is,” says Dr. Au. They ignored her “until I tapped her elbow from her seat. “’I just want to show you.’”

“Tapping” someone to get there attention is never a good idea — especially after the problem is resolved—. Second passenger sat elsewhere.

It is not a good idea to start “tapping” the elbow of someone.
who has their back to you and is engaged in a conversation with a colleague— especially for a non emergency. What was the point of the “light tapping” — to say see I told you so? I did give it to you.

Sounds like there was not great behavior on both sides.

Oh full disclosure— I do not own any airline stock but I did turn down a project from a PhD who was upset and then reminded me of his exalted credentials.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 12, 19 at 11:19 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Sep 12, 19, 11:00 pm
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I wonder if the person was meant to be assigned in 21B (assuming that no one was there originally as they seemed to try to go for the A and C to increase chances of an empty seat), but something messed up and put the passenger in 21A.

The FA did mess up by assuming that they did not give them the boarding pass. Honestly if I gave it to the FA but she denied receiving it from me I would be a little mad. It then doesn't surprise me as to why the FA could have reacted like that (if that was the case).

I can understand if the passenger got mad if the FA ignored her. However elbow is a really weird place to get someone's attention physically; usually it would be somewhere on the upper back back or shoulder, and even then I wouldn't have done it in that situation (would use vocal gestures if I absolutely must).

I do kind of feel that the FA may have overreacted, but there's so much missing here that I can't say that with absolute certainty.
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Old Sep 12, 19, 11:43 pm
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Originally Posted by quantumslip View Post
...but there's so much missing here that I can't say that with absolute certainty.
Aye, I'd say at least 50% of the story is missing, i.e. the other side!


Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
-- As the passengers in question decline exiting, per UA policy, the flight was canceled and all passengers were deplaned.
I read the article to mean they voluntarily left the plane; the deplaning was "only" a threat:

"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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Last edited by narvik; Sep 12, 19 at 11:59 pm
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Old Sep 13, 19, 12:01 am
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If it were me, I'd be rather concerned about the fact Forbes included an underacted copy of the boarding pass - with details including like their Frequent Flyer number (it's masked in the text, but not in the barcode).

It's amazing sometimes what sort of information you can get out of United with nothing more than a name and an FF number...
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Old Sep 13, 19, 12:14 am
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
If it were me, I'd be rather concerned about the fact Forbes included an underacted copy of the boarding pass - with details including like their Frequent Flyer number (it's masked in the text, but not in the barcode).

It's amazing sometimes what sort of information you can get out of United with nothing more than a name and an FF number...
Nah, no worries.
Unless you know their favorite ice cream flavor, and which large city they first visited, it's completely safe!
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Old Sep 13, 19, 5:54 am
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This story confirms a deeply held impression I formed in college about professors.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 6:11 am
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There's a lot missing here. In particular, why did the couple wait so long to go public? My guess they tried to get United to pay something and then went public when this didn't work.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 6:30 am
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The gate agent only goes by what the computer system gives them for seat assignments, so it wasn't the gate agent that actually assigned dupe seats. May have been a software/computer glitch or something.....I fly twice a week on United and I can't EVER remember seeing dupe seat assignments, except when a PAX is looking at their connecting flight boarding pass in error or back in the old days before the computer assignments.
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