Downgraded for Security Reasons - DCA to IND

 
Old Apr 1, 14, 4:43 pm
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Downgraded for Security Reasons - DCA to IND

I'm US Airways Gold and since my home station is SYR my upgrade percentage, at least for now, is great. Yesterday, while I had a confirmed complimentary upgrade from DCA to IND, the gate agent in DCA informed me that I was "downgraded for security reasons." After chatting for a couple of minutes, it was clear that there were Air Marshals on board but they didn't actually tell me that. Anyway, they were kind enough to tell the flight attendant that me and the other dude who got bumped should receive first class service, which we did. They brought back the snack basket, gave us a pre-flight cocktail, etc. He was livid; I laughed. Has this ever happened to anyone? It's the first time it has ever happened to me and it was all quite interesting. I tried to figure out who the Air Marshals were but couldn't - which I guess is the whole point.
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Old Apr 1, 14, 5:41 pm
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Originally Posted by PeakTek78 View Post
I tried to figure out who the Air Marshals were but couldn't - which I guess is the whole point.
Have you looked at their ankles
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Old Apr 1, 14, 8:17 pm
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This does happen. Not a lot, but it does, and DCA is probably the most likely airport in the US to have it happen at given the proximity to the Pentagon and other DC landmarks.
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Old Apr 1, 14, 8:45 pm
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Had it happen PHL-BUF, just without the enhanced coach service (or really anything other than a typical PHL gate agent's 'tude).
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Old Apr 1, 14, 9:03 pm
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I think I've seen this mentioned before, but does what seat you've picked matter (or if you've picked one at all)?
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Old Apr 1, 14, 9:11 pm
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Originally Posted by taxicabnumber View Post
I think I've seen this mentioned before, but does what seat you've picked matter (or if you've picked one at all)?
Or do you think they bump the last person upgraded/lowest status?
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Old Apr 1, 14, 9:15 pm
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Originally Posted by taxicabnumber View Post
I think I've seen this mentioned before, but does what seat you've picked matter (or if you've picked one at all)?
I've seen it rumored that air marshals sit in aisle seats, since there would be no one in their way if they had to get up and act. Assuming that's true, you're more likely to lose your seat if you're booked in an aisle.
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Old Apr 1, 14, 10:31 pm
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Originally Posted by LSUTigerWes View Post
Or do you think they bump the last person upgraded/lowest status?
From what I understand it has nothing to do with upgrade priority or status, and everything to do with where the air marshall wants to sit. If you happen to be sitting there, you lose. Normally an aisle.
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Old Apr 2, 14, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by hginPHL View Post
From what I understand it has nothing to do with upgrade priority or status, and everything to do with where the air marshall wants to sit. If you happen to be sitting there, you lose. Normally an aisle.
THIS. Two of five of us got reassigned on a paid F intinerary. Guess the FAMs didn't want bulkhead windows
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Old Apr 2, 14, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by LSUTigerWes View Post
Or do you think they bump the last person upgraded/lowest status?
I should've mentioned this, but I asked that exact question. I was told they choose who gets downgraded based on when you checked-in. Apparently the other guy and I were the last two F passengers to check-in, so that's why we lost our seats. This is what the gate agent said.
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Old Apr 2, 14, 10:45 pm
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That's a little surprising when the cause if FAMs - it could lead to musical chairs with most/all of the other FC passengers ending up in different seats than they selected.

Jim
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Old Apr 3, 14, 8:38 am
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I was flying AA earlier this year, and had a nice Exit Row seat. Guy who sat next to me had this happen to him (I was aisle, he was window, no one in middle). Super friendly guy who had some pass that allowed him to fly first class on AA for the rest of his life for free (or so he claimed). Based on the way that the FA treated him, I didn't doubt it - he insisted that they give me the royal treatment as well (and they complied). At first, we couldn't really figure out why he got bumped, FA wouldn't tell us. Eventually we asked if it was an air marshall, she said "I recally can't say" with a big grin on her face.

Good for you for laughing it off, life's too short to be pissed about getting "downgraded" on a SYR-DCA flight. Now an LAX - PHL redeye, maybe . . .
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Old Apr 3, 14, 9:39 am
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Originally Posted by PeakTek78 View Post
I should've mentioned this, but I asked that exact question. I was told they choose who gets downgraded based on when you checked-in. Apparently the other guy and I were the last two F passengers to check-in, so that's why we lost our seats. This is what the gate agent said.
I'm not so sure that is true. The FAMs choose where they want to sit, and if it isn't in the seat of the last person checked in, they would then need to reassign everyone else in the F cabin. The FAMs try to be as inconspicuous as possible, and reseating all of the F cabin wouldn't go over very well I wouldn't think. Hmm.
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Old Apr 3, 14, 9:59 am
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Out of curiosity, besides the "threat" that an armed federal air marshall is on a flight, has their presence at any point in time since they started actually stopped any hijackings or other criminal activities aboard a plane?
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Old Apr 3, 14, 11:36 am
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
Out of curiosity, besides the "threat" that an armed federal air marshall is on a flight, has their presence at any point in time since they started actually stopped any hijackings or other criminal activities aboard a plane?
They have most commonly blocked disruptive passengers, stuff like this:
http://www.nycaviation.com/2010/09/f.../#.Uz2DiHd5b1U
http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_wei...ard-plane.html

I'm sure there are plenty more cases. I've been on a few flights where the FAM had to "come out" and assist the crew in detention of a passenger. None I recall making the news, but the presence of FAMs trained to subdue and detain the individuals likely made it easier than relying on the FAs and fellow passengers to do so. There were no threats to the cockpit, just apparently drunk idiots that resulted in vandalism and potential injury to others on board.

Tough to tell the true value of the program unless or until they either succeed or fail at blocking something major.
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