Refusal to transport; is this IDB or what, exactly?

Old Aug 5, 17, 12:40 pm
  #1  
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Refusal to transport; is this IDB or what, exactly?

In the midst of dealing with an interesting situation that occurred at LaGuardia earlier today.

I was unable to complete on-line check-in (probably due to my original flight having been changed due to storms yesterday), so approached the check-in counter 45 minutes prior to flight departure.

The counter agent tried to issue my boarding pass, but ran into difficulty, because the gate had taken control of the flight early. She called down to see if they would still let me check-in, but refused (as an aside, I didn't have any bags).

She then told me I was out of luck and walked away.

I immediately called Virgin America to explain the situation and attempt to get them to allow me to check-in. The reservation agent could see by her clock that I was there prior to the required check-in time, but seemed powerless to do anything-- she checked with a supervisor, and they both seemed bewildered, but sympathetic.

They have re-accommodated me in first class on American Airlines out of Newark several hours later, to DFW, rather than Love Field.

A review of the flight records and my telephone conversation will both confirm I was present at the ticket counter prior to the check-in cutoff time.

I reviewed the contract of carriage, and it appears that I am entitled to IDB compensation (the VX rep said I needed to call back on Monday to deal with that aspect), also what about transport costs from LaGuardia to Newark and from DFW to Love Field?


Surprisingly, in my decades of flying, I've never encountered a situation quite like this. Does anyone have any thoughts?
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Old Aug 8, 17, 9:07 am
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I had an issue similar out of EWR on CO years ago. GA offloaded me by accident and then couldn't get me back on. Booked on flight next day in same (first) class.

Wrote to HQ, they denied it was IDB but gave me IDB comp ($400 at the time) as a gesture. Think they were wrong but got same remedy so didn't care.
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Old Aug 8, 17, 9:29 am
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As a starting point, IDB only applies if you were both timely present for check-in and you were denied because the flight was oversold. You can find the rules beginning at 14 CFR Section 250. VA's check-in deadline is T-40. Thus, if you were actually at the counter (not the line) no later than T-40, you were ontime.

In addition, if the carrier arranged "alternate transportation" it must pay for you to get there, e.g. EWR.

Thus, everything hinges on whether the flight was oversold. If you were simply denied boarding because the IT is lousy, you are not covered under IDB rules.

But, because you never made it to the gate, you have no way of knowing whether the flight was oversold.

I would suggest filing a claim for IDB which is 400% of the fare's value up to a maximum of $1,350 and is payable in cash (equivalent) such as a check or prepaid card which is unrestricted, not in air carrier funny money.

The only relevant facts are that you were at the counter (not the line) at T-45 and that the counter agent was unable to check you in or to obtain permission from the gate to do so. The rest of the back-and-forth is irrelevant.

Your claim ought to be for 400% of the ticket up to $1,350 + cost of the car service to EWR (make sure you include a receipt).

I would not handle this by phone, but rather by an online submission.

It is possible that VA will respond that the flight was not oversold. If that is the case, you are SOL and all you have is a request for a customer service gesture.

Not to berate you, but because these threads help others too, always OLCI as soon as reasonably possible. Particularly after a reroute. If you can't, get on the phone then and there and get it fixed. It's a lot easier to get these things done from home/hotel/office than at a counter with the clock ticking down.

Additionally, if rebooked from another airport, ask for a taxi voucher.
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Old Aug 15, 17, 7:42 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
As a starting point, IDB only applies if you were both timely present for check-in and you were denied because the flight was oversold. You can find the rules beginning at 14 CFR Section 250. VA's check-in deadline is T-40. Thus, if you were actually at the counter (not the line) no later than T-40, you were ontime.

In addition, if the carrier arranged "alternate transportation" it must pay for you to get there, e.g. EWR.

Thus, everything hinges on whether the flight was oversold. If you were simply denied boarding because the IT is lousy, you are not covered under IDB rules.

But, because you never made it to the gate, you have no way of knowing whether the flight was oversold.

I would suggest filing a claim for IDB which is 400% of the fare's value up to a maximum of $1,350 and is payable in cash (equivalent) such as a check or prepaid card which is unrestricted, not in air carrier funny money.

The only relevant facts are that you were at the counter (not the line) at T-45 and that the counter agent was unable to check you in or to obtain permission from the gate to do so. The rest of the back-and-forth is irrelevant.

Your claim ought to be for 400% of the ticket up to $1,350 + cost of the car service to EWR (make sure you include a receipt).

I would not handle this by phone, but rather by an online submission.

It is possible that VA will respond that the flight was not oversold. If that is the case, you are SOL and all you have is a request for a customer service gesture.

Not to berate you, but because these threads help others too, always OLCI as soon as reasonably possible. Particularly after a reroute. If you can't, get on the phone then and there and get it fixed. It's a lot easier to get these things done from home/hotel/office than at a counter with the clock ticking down.

Additionally, if rebooked from another airport, ask for a taxi voucher.
Thanks for you thoughtful response. A couple of things:

1) I normally do OLCI while en route to the airport from Manhattan. In this case, it didn't work... probably had to do with the fact they had rebooked me from another flight due to storm-related cancellation the prior day. I didn't worry, as I knew I would be to airport prior to T-40.

2) I understand what you are saying about the federal regs relating to IDB compensation. However, I am pressing my claim based upon the VX Contract of Carriage, which takes the same language from fed regs, but fails to add the definitive qualifier from the fed regs that the flight has to be overbooked. The Contract of Carriage is actually somewhat poorly drafted.

Still waiting for a response. I asked over the phone, was told I would hear back in 24-48 hours. It has now been over a week. I submitted a claim in writing two days ago.

As you can tell from my profile, I have flown literally millions of miles over the years... usually pretty good at sorting things out, rolling with the punches, etc. This one left me kind of stunned for a second, because of the circumstances:

Me: Hi, I need a boarding pass.
VX Agent: I can not give you a boarding pass.
Me: But I am here, ready to board, prior to T-40.
VX Agent: Yes, I know. The flight is already boarding.
Me: Okay, can I have a boarding pass?
VX Agent: No, the gate agent will not allow me to give you one.
Me: What am I supposed to do?
VX Agent: I don't know. (walks away)

Last edited by HKG_Flyer1; Aug 15, 17 at 7:49 am
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Old Sep 1, 17, 1:12 am
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This is actually a refusal to transport, unless they were oversold, and you may have even more remedies. I'd file a DOT complaint if they don't compensate you to your satisfaction.
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