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Alcatraz A320: CSR Imprisons PAX on Broken Airplane, UA 589 PHL-ORD (1/31)

Alcatraz A320: CSR Imprisons PAX on Broken Airplane, UA 589 PHL-ORD (1/31)

 
Old Jan 31, 12, 8:20 pm
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Alcatraz A320: CSR Imprisons PAX on Broken Airplane, UA 589 PHL-ORD (1/31)

[Please note the the original post incorrectly used UA 589 as the flight number. The correct number is UA 549. That's been updated below. (589 was the flight I was rebooked onto.)]

UA549 was scheduled to depart PHL for ORD at 9:50AM. We pushed back on time but encountered a flight computer problem during taxi. Computer was rebooted, didn't work. Then replaced, didn't work. It turned out the computer the wasn't to blame, as it was in fact correctly indicating that there was a mechanical issue that was not an easy fix.

Through the nearly two hours before UA 549 was cancelled, pax were kept onboard and seated. The pilots and cabin crew, however, were quite good. The pilot made regular announcements about what was going on, and the cabin crew passed out a lot of water and kept spirits reasonably high, given the circumstances.

What happened next, however, was a shocker. We cancelled at about 11:45AM. At that point, PHL ground operations produced exactly one (1!) CSR to rebook the entire loaded A320. The kicker: Although the pax had been stuck on the plane on the ground for nearly 2 hours, the CSR did not allow the PAX to deplane. Instead she pulled people off the plane and walked them up the jetway, one by one, and issued them each new boarding passes for alternative flights. This was obviously a very slow process.

A few of us took an alternative strategy. I called reservations and was placed on a PHL-IAH flight. A handful more people seemed to do the same and got up and left on their own. The CSR was not amused by her prisoners being so uppity as to rebook themselves. This apparently caused her to double down on her demand that nobody could leave the plane without her permission.

When I hung up the phone after rebooking on the reservations line, I walked to the front and the FA let me off the plane without incident. At the top of the jetway, the pilot and the CSR were ending an apparently tense conversation. He wanted to get the pax off the plane, but she said no.

I walked past them and past the counter (where a second CSR had finally appeared and was setting up). But the jail warden CSR shouted at me, claiming that I was not allowed to leave the aircraft ("You can't just walk off an aircraft!"). I replied that they had no legal right to hold me on that MX'ed plane and in any event that I just hung up from being rebooked via phone. She continued to insist that I was violating the rules and when I said I was walking anyway, she angrily said that I would have to return, because I was not permitted to rebook that way.

Amazing. I did get on the IAH flight without having to deal with the jailer CSR from hell again.

By chance, about 30 minutes later, I wound up standing beside the pilot in the pizza line. He recognized me as the guy who disobeyed the CSR's order. Apparently, the pilot too had had enough of the prison matron CSR's about 15-20 minutes after I walked. He apparently told the passengers to deplane over the CSR's objections. Well done, Mr. Pilot. It was getting tense in there when I left, and it was surely worse 15 minutes later. Those people needed to be let out of the Alcatraz A320.

There is a UA CSR in PHL that need some serious retraining.

Last edited by perezoso; Feb 2, 12 at 10:22 am Reason: Corrected flight number
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Old Jan 31, 12, 8:28 pm
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Good for you to stand up! Crew all together sounds great but the CSR sounds awful
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Old Jan 31, 12, 8:51 pm
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wow can't believe the sheeple would sit there and take that, good on you for leaving. I just can't understand why people would take that abuse, can't leave the plane...please watch me and for my own amusement please make an attempt to stop me.

And as for retraining, you are correct, surly there's a fry bucket somewhere that needs dropping or a ditch that needs digging.
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Old Jan 31, 12, 9:08 pm
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This is ridiculous. I've never gone more than 30 minutes on a plane that' delayed due to MX and not called the 1K line to either rebook or be protected on something else.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 6:48 am
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Originally Posted by perezoso View Post
......There is a UA CSR in PHL that need some serious retraining.
Haven't flown out of PHL on UA the last few months, but there was definitely 1 really bad apple that I had a few run-ins when I did before that. She was always less than friendly & the one time she REFUSED to help me, she also refused to identify herself when asked. Not sure if OP's experience was with the same agent, but if so, I don't think retraining would do UA any good. She belongs in another line of business where customer interaction is avoided.

LAX
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Old Feb 1, 12, 7:12 am
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Originally Posted by UAL250 View Post
Good for you to stand up! Crew all together sounds great but the CSR sounds awful
Well, it is PHL, after all.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 7:32 am
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I find the UA GA's at PHL to be a huge help when in need. Although, I'm pretty sure I know who you're talking about
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Old Feb 1, 12, 7:58 am
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recalling similar issue in PHL a few yrs back. Am actually surprised that pax put up with it let alone the pilot.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by grteyes2 View Post
recalling similar issue in PHL a few yrs back. Am actually surprised that pax put up with it let alone the pilot.
+1

The minute that flight cancelled and the door was opened, I would have been off the plane, period.

I don't need her to rebook. PHL has a club, there's the 1K line, etc.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by ryan182 View Post
..can't believe the sheeple..
Great description and great term. Just added it to my FT vocabulary list.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by 323power View Post
I find the UA GA's at PHL to be a huge help when in need. Although, I'm pretty sure I know who you're talking about
+1. Most of the UA agents at PHL know me on sight and are great. There is that one though . When I see her I make a 180 and look for someone else.

Maybe we should set up a PM chain here and confirm our assumptions privately?
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Old Feb 1, 12, 11:32 am
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The "sheeple", by majority, don't have a clue about what options they have, and any guidance, be it stupid and senseless, is still better than not having any guidance at all.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by ryan182 View Post
wow can't believe the sheeple would sit there and take that, good on you for leaving. I just can't understand why people would take that abuse, can't leave the plane...please watch me and for my own amusement please make an attempt to stop me.

And as for retraining, you are correct, surly there's a fry bucket somewhere that needs dropping or a ditch that needs digging.
Well if you're not sure what the consequences are for leaving the aircraft, most folks would rather not take the chances of being detained by TSA or the cops. You may be in the know of your rights, but many aren't familiar and are not too willing to make a stand like OP did if they had no idea what was in store for them. Can't blame them in this day and age of overreactions especially with CSRs like these.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 1:23 pm
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Originally Posted by PHLGovFlyer View Post
+1. Most of the UA agents at PHL know me on sight and are great. There is that one though . When I see her I make a 180 and look for someone else.

Maybe we should set up a PM chain here and confirm our assumptions privately?
+1 - I have never had a problem with any one of the CSRs in PHL. Maybe I just missed her?
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Old Feb 1, 12, 1:40 pm
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OP should have called the airport police to have that CSR arrested.
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