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Thread: Sounds like United Airlines muffed it

  1. #1

    Sounds like United Airlines muffed it

    I get that the airport security dragged that man off. But still, it seems like it's United's problem to get an aircrew to their next departure point. So they should have offered more compensation instead of using their removal policy.

    And, I'm the lone wolf here, but the Doctor really should have gotten off when they asked. You can't argue with an airline crew on a loaded jet - security won't ever allow that and in some cases you can even go to jail.

    Just seems like UA could have handled their end better. I never did like flying them or Continental. But they didn't do themselves any favors.

    Fred

  2. #2
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    A couple things to consider. It's my understanding it's a violation of regulations to defy airline employees directions. It violates the laws to ignore or defy police when they ask you to do something. It was airport authority police who drug the guy off not United Airlines employees.
    Ken

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    A couple things to consider. It's my understanding it's a violation of regulations to defy airline employees directions. It violates the laws to ignore or defy police when they ask you to do something. It was airport authority police who drug the guy off not United Airlines employees.
    I definitely agree Ken. Never ever defy a cop, or an aircrew.

  4. #4
    However, United was dumb to let things escalate to the point where the guy was dragged off the plane. People would have volunteered if they had kept increasing the payment. It's like an auction, eventually you'll hit someone's price and they'll volunteer. They know that if they wait for a higher price someone else will beat them to it.

    The story I heard was that the doctor and his wife were considering taking the money (volunteering) but when he learned that the next plane was the following day he said he couldn't do it because of his commitments at the hospital.

    It would have been MUCH less expensive for United to pay someone $1,500 or even $2,000 to volunteer. In his case, the doctor's wife might have volunteered to get the money while he had to get back to the hospital.

    Just a question - How much would it take for you to volunteer to wait until the next day to get home? For everyone who doesn't have a situation where they HAVE to be home, there's a price where they'll volunteer.

    Mike

    [I don't know what my minimum price is but I know that for $5,000 I'd volunteer unless there was some reason I just had to be home that evening. If pushed, I'd probably take less, but not $800.]

    [Once the passengers were seated on the plane, the compensation had to be greater than it would have been if they had dealt with the problem before loading.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 04-12-2017 at 12:13 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
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    Mike....has it been confirmed the guy was really a doctor?

    How long do you delay a flight while "auctioning off" seats? According to an article I read today one of the criteria for a traveler to give up their seats is the price of the ticket. The cheapest seats are selected first.

    Once, while traveling on business, they asked for volunteers and I took them up on their offer. Then on the replacement flight, I was asked if I would trade my seat so a mother and child could sit next to each other. I said yes. My new seat was in the 1st class section. I enjoyed the additional comforts.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 04-12-2017 at 12:27 AM.
    Ken

  6. #6
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    So a paying guest, ticket bought and boarded, can just be asked to leave WITHOUT doing anything wrong?? Just because of a random selection thing? And shouldn't resist or be passive?

    They blew it, should have just kept increasing the temptation $. What they saved in the $ "carrot", will be quickly lost in the aftermath of lost revenue, possible law suits and bad PR.

    Someone should loose their job over this. And UA should make that public to try and save some face.
    Funny, I don't remember being absent minded...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    Mike....has it been confirmed the guy was really a doctor?
    Yes, it has been confirmed and they also gave his name and the name of the hospital. I don't remember what they were right now.

    United is going to wind up paying him a lot more than it would have cost to get someone else to volunteer.

    Mike

    [My gut feeling is that they would have gotten four volunteers by the time they offered $2,000. Maybe before. How much would it take for you to volunteer?]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 04-12-2017 at 12:31 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  8. #8
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    Mike....has it been confirmed the guy was really a doctor?
    Why is that even an issue? Is being a doctor the only thing that is more important than UA poor scheduling?

    A lot of things in peoples lives are just as, or more important than their schedules and poor planning.

    UA should have just kept raising the ante...
    Funny, I don't remember being absent minded...

  9. #9
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    Whether or not the guy was a doctor isn't important to me but if someone just claiming to be a doctor excused them from being deplaned, wouldn't everyone do it after the word got out.

    What United did was legal and United employees didn't remove the guy. The Airport police removed the guy. If he had just left the plane, he wouldn't have been injured. No. I have no sympathy for him, a doctor or not.
    Ken

  10. #10
    It isn't important that he was a doctor. Many people have reasons that they have to get home. Maybe a child or close relative is getting married the next day.

    And, no, you can't believe any excuse that someone offers. If you listen to excuses everyone will have one.

    The only fair solution is to offer compensation until you get volunteers. Those who HAVE to get home will not take the compensation. Those who can will do it for the right price.

    Mike

    [Suppose your mother was dying and you got the call to come quickly. How would you react if they tried to take you off the flight? Would you just get up without protest?]

    [Another example: Suppose a basketball team was traveling to an away game and the star was chosen to be bumped?]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 04-12-2017 at 1:24 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    Whether or not the guy was a doctor isn't important to me but if someone just claiming to be a doctor excused them from being deplaned, wouldn't everyone do it after the word got out.

    What United did was legal and United employees didn't remove the guy. The Airport police removed the guy. If he had just left the plane, he wouldn't have been injured. No. I have no sympathy for him, a doctor or not.
    I agree completely with Ken is saying here. In addition to his first point about wouldn't everyone claim to be a doctor if it worked, what would stop future flights from becoming bidding wars if the other suggestions of just increasing the offer until someone agreed to get off had happened?

    Besides all of that, I think something stinks in this whole thing. I fly a lot, and have over the last 10 years. At least 3 trips a month so a minimum of 6+ flights every month over the last 10 years. I have never seen any airline call for volunteers to deplane after boarding because of an oversell. Not even once, something just seems fishy here.

  12. #12
    I dont think his being a doctor has anything to do with it (except maybe to himself). His job is no more important than others we could think of. My feeling is they should have worked harder to avoid escalating. They got to feeling schedule pressured, or heavy handed, or whatever - and muffed it.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by George Werner View Post
    I agree completely with Ken is saying here. In addition to his first point about wouldn't everyone claim to be a doctor if it worked, what would stop future flights from becoming bidding wars if the other suggestions of just increasing the offer until someone agreed to get off had happened?

    Besides all of that, I think something stinks in this whole thing. I fly a lot, and have over the last 10 years. At least 3 trips a month so a minimum of 6+ flights every month over the last 10 years. I have never seen any airline call for volunteers to deplane after boarding because of an oversell. Not even once, something just seems fishy here.
    This one was different because the passengers were already boarded and seated. The whole problem with United's approach is that it ignores that some people HAVE to get home. Others, not so much.

    Compensation will sort that out. Suppose the situation was what I described - where someone was trying to get home to a dying mother. Should the airline take that into account? If so, how do they know the story is true? There's no way to to know in advance but if they refuse, and it's true, the story will get out and explode in social media and the press.

    No, it's easier and cheaper to do it with money and let the passengers choose. Each passenger who absolutely doesn't have to get home has a price. You'll get the four cheapest ones.

    Mike

    [And if it costs the airlines more money, they'll do a better job of not overbooking flights.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 04-12-2017 at 1:36 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by George Werner View Post
    Besides all of that, I think something stinks in this whole thing. I fly a lot, and have over the last 10 years. At least 3 trips a month so a minimum of 6+ flights every month over the last 10 years. I have never seen any airline call for volunteers to deplane after boarding because of an oversell. Not even once, something just seems fishy here.
    Fortunately, I landed a new role and now only fly for my personal trips. Like you, I was in the air a lot. And I have tons of coworkers who fly constantly: 800 person sales staff flying to customers plus the rest of us who travel between all our various offices around the world (55,000 employee company).

    I have been on a few flights where passengers were asked to volunteer to give up their seats after boarding. Reasoning has been "weight," and it was always on the tiny puddle jumpers. But I have never even heard of randomly selecting passengers to be removed from a flight. Nor have any of my coworkers as we're having shocked conversations about United now.

    What's blowing my mind is the CEO of United's piss poor responses. A smart man would have waited a few days for the facts to be present; while, making an immediate step through an internal communication asking employees to be patient and compliant with the thorough investigation United was launching.

  15. #15
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    It is the airline responsibility to see that there other crew is where they should be and not use that as an excuse to put a paying customer out without plenty of compensation not just a voucher. That was what they offered not cash. Vouchers can be voided for all kinds of things and they don;t have to accept them like cash. They can restrict what they are good for. This has been discussed on other forums with pilots chiming in and verifying that. Also once you are boarded they have giving you the right to sit there unless they can prove you are a threat which he wasn't until they threatened him. I am sure that United could have used another flight for their crew either another airline or a charter that would have been cheaper how much would a small charter cost to get 4 people 300 miles when they offered $800 plus hotels to 4 people that would be well over $4000

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