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EWR gate agents blame “unruly” passengers to solve oversale

EWR gate agents blame “unruly” passengers to solve oversale

Old May 25, 2024, 1:48 pm
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EWR gate agents blame “unruly” passengers to solve oversale

My mother came to meet us in DBV on EWR-DBV last night. She was in paid J. The flight was more than 3 hours late due to a mechanical. At the gate they announced that Polaris was oversold by 3. Y and W sold out so rebooking option was the next day. They offered 2500 and then 3000. No one took it. They then said only Y and W could board. Even 1Ks in J were refused. Not sure if there were GS but no J passengers boarded. Offer went to 3500. No takers. She was in the front of the queue and ultimately heard the gate agents scheming that they would call a supervisor to solve the issue by claiming unruly passengers. There had been no unruly behavior. Indeed shortly thereafter as boarding was still held while the entire Y and W cabins had boarded, a couple expressed their irritation that they had paid lots of money for their vacation which was being unnecessarily delayed which was then backed up by an elderly woman. Not aggressive, unruly or physical - an assessment backed up by many other passengers. Sure enough gate agents claimed them to be unruly and offloaded them. The elderly woman’s husband of course refused to fly which explains why the fight went out 32/34. Presumably one of those two was crew rest.

fWIW I rarely post second hand stories. But given it’s my mother, and she was a lifelong frequent traveler during her career and now in retirement who has the context and experience, I trust the facts are accurate.

Last edited by PlungeTEX; May 25, 2024 at 1:56 pm
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Old May 25, 2024, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by PlungeTEX
My mother came to meet us in DBV on EWR-DBV last night. She was in paid J. The flight was more than 3 hours late due to a mechanical. At the gate they announced that Polaris was oversold by 3. Y and W sold out so rebooking option was the next day. They offered 2500 and then 3000. No one took it. They then said only Y and W could board. Even 1Ks in J were refused. Not sure if there were GS but no J passengers boarded. Offer went to 3500. No takers. She was in the front of the queue and ultimately heard the gate agents scheming that they would call a supervisor to solve the issue by claiming unruly passengers. There had been no unruly behavior. Indeed shortly thereafter as boarding was still held while the entire Y and W cabins had boarded, a couple expressed their irritation that they had paid lots of money for their vacation which was being unnecessarily delayed which was then backed up by an elderly woman. Not aggressive, unruly or physical - an assessment backed up by many other passengers. Sure enough gate agents claimed them to be unruly and offloaded them.
Just horrible, I smell a potential law suite here. I have posted this before that my brother build a significant portion of his legal practice on "travel law" and some of the stories he has are unreal. This above story is one he has seen/heard before I assure you. Just FYI, he is long retired so not looking for work for him... LOL.
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Old May 25, 2024, 1:56 pm
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EWR agents lying? Who could have imagined it?
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Old May 25, 2024, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by nomad420
I smell a potential law suite here.
What would be basis for a lawsuit? Presumably, they have to deny one person or the other boarding or does it have to follow a particular basis?
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Old May 25, 2024, 2:19 pm
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It’s ridiculous that they would resort to that when they could have just had the computer pick the passengers to IDB and pay them their comp. That would of course suck for the passengers but it is what it is.
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Old May 25, 2024, 2:21 pm
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Originally Posted by dw
It’s ridiculous that they would resort to that when they could have just had the computer pick the passengers to IDB and pay them their comp. That would of course suck for the passengers but it is what it is.
it would appear from multiple experiences this year that UA is not wanting to do that but instead try to intimidate passengers into taking offers maxing out in the 2-4K range - which is far less than delta is willing to pay fir example.
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Old May 25, 2024, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by PlungeTEX
.....fWIW I rarely post second hand stories. But given it’s my mother, and she was a lifelong frequent traveler during her career and now in retirement who has the context and experience, I trust the facts are accurate.
Being a third party report, this iis hard to have useful discussion as there are some many blanks.

Ultimately the agents have the option to due IDB, they really don't need to make up a reason.

I also suspicious of any report "I heard the agents (privately) discussing such-n-such" by a nearby passenger. While perhaps catching bits & pieces of a conversions but catch every word of the whole, complete conversion? No extrapolation?

However, this thread should not turn into a defending or challenging the veracity of the OP's mother, this issue is reflective of any third party were each posters fills in the blanks.
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Old May 25, 2024, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA

I also suspicious of any report "I heard the agents (privately) discussing such-n-such" by a nearby passenger. While perhaps catching bits & pieces of a conversions but catch every word of the whole, complete conversion? .
So true. Often taken out of context. Never know what they were actually talking about when there was mention of unruly passengers. Which is why sometimes better to keep one's mouth shut in thee work place because colleagues or customers hear snip bits and think they, or some interest dear to them, are the subject of the discussion and then misread the situation. So many other threads on FT of hearing crew say this or that but we rarely truly know the context and often interpret what we heard through whatever lens we want to see it.
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Old May 25, 2024, 3:21 pm
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Originally Posted by PlungeTEX
which is far less than delta is willing to pay fir example.
Perhaps for an oversale of the whole aircraft, but if there were space in Y, DL would have assigned some of the paid J pax to those seats and expected them to board with a smile. UA is lightyears ahead of DL in handling downgrades as a general matter.
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Old May 25, 2024, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by findark
Perhaps for an oversale of the whole aircraft, but if there were space in Y, DL would have assigned some of the paid J pax to those seats and expected them to board with a smile. UA is lightyears ahead of DL in handling downgrades as a general matter.
Not sure, but looks a bit like the whole aircraft was actually over. IME, UA would have been downgrading rather than denying boarding if space in back existed.
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Old May 25, 2024, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by dw
It’s ridiculous that they would resort to that when they could have just had the computer pick the passengers to IDB and pay them their comp. That would of course suck for the passengers but it is what it is.
Wouldn't denying passengers for being unruly prevent it from looking like UA's fault on paper and instead shift the blame to the passenger, as well as save UA any compensation requirements? A dirty trick indeed.
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Old May 25, 2024, 3:52 pm
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Originally Posted by phkc070408
A dirty trick indeed.
A dirty trick though without much precendence or motive. Why would a gate agent decide they want to cook something up to save United 4000 dollars? Why would the gate agent decide to create a situation that doesnt exist to deny boarding, when they absolutely dont need a reason to do so ffor an overbooked flight. Also we do not know that the denied passengers were not just treated as IDB. Angry passengers upset about delays are in airports everyday and most of us have been upset or raised our voice sometime in our life in an airport and the reaction is never to deny boarding (at least I haven't heard or seen such).
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Old May 25, 2024, 4:03 pm
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Originally Posted by ani90
A dirty trick though without much precendence or motive. Why would a gate agent decide they want to cook something up to save United 4000 dollars? Why would the gate agent decide to create a situation that doesnt exist to deny boarding, when they absolutely dont need a reason to do so ffor an overbooked flight. Also we do not know that the denied passengers were not just treated as IDB. Angry passengers upset about delays are in airports everyday and most of us have been upset or raised our voice sometime in our life in an airport and the reaction is never to deny boarding (at least I haven't heard or seen such).
Maybe the gate agents resorted to this game to absolve them of the responsibility to make a decision.
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Old May 25, 2024, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by jpezaris
Maybe the gate agents resorted to this game to absolve them of the responsibility to make a decision.
I am sure there must be some guidance to GAs on how to pick passengers to IDB in an oversold cabin, and doubt in can be punitive in this manner or it will lend itself to possibility of abuse.
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Old May 25, 2024, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by ani90
A dirty trick though without much precendence or motive. Why would a gate agent decide they want to cook something up to save United 4000 dollars?
I wouldn't put it past them to pocket the cash themselves.
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