Please Sit Down... Unless You Have Down's Syndrome

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Mike Reed, Sep 4, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    That's what the article would have you believe, of course...

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nat...lLinksEnabled=false&google_editors_picks=true

    From the article:
    The family is alleging that they were denied boarding because American didn't want the boy in First Class. Given that they hadn't boarded yet, I can't understand how they expect American to have known based on interactions in the gate area prior to boarding where they were seated.

    It would be nice to see the airport video of the gate area to see who's perspective is more true... the family or the airline. Being re-accomodated in coach on a United flight is probably the worst thing AA could have done in this case...
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I don't quite get the part about being discriminated against again and the "segregation" complaint:

    The family's trip home deteriorated even further when they were loaded into a full United Airlines flight and placed in the very back row.
    "For a second time, we were discriminated against. Segregated."


    The plane was "full", and presumably the last row is the least desirable one, so it's not too surprising that those were the seats available. Doesn't justify the downgrade from F on AA, of course.
     
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  3. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well I'd agree that they were singled out, discriminated against even, because of his condition. But you know that they use words like defamation and segregation to add fuel to the fire.
     
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  4. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Depends on what you mean by "because of his condition." If you're suggesting the mere fact that he had Down's was a reason I'd highly doubt that. Down's, even in less sensitive circles, isn't the "social pariah" taboo condition it used to be 40 years ago. If you mean "his condition led to a more aggravated, excitable state" then that's entirely possible and it's a significant symptom/drawback of many mental illnesses, genetic disorders, etc.

    Discrimination isn't necessarily wrong, unethical or immoral. Discrimination without just cause, however, is. And we're only getting one side of the story here - I'd prefer to at least see more evidence before denouncing someone.

    Fact is that if the child was agitated to the point of being a potential disturbance, the airline has an obligation to other passengers to create a safe flight and push back on time and may have well done the right thing. Thankfully, though, laws exist such that it's much, much easier for those with conditions (and their families/caretakers) likely to expose them to unjust discrimination to hold people and organizations accountable for doing so.

    Last thing - if I were AA, I'd have nothing to do with asking for the airport security / terminal video to be released as I wouldn't want to be perceived as "shaming" the kid. As a public citizen, I'd ask that the PARENTS who are making the complaint do so to prove out their case that there was no just cause for them to be denied boarding. I'd also hope a news organization would simply file a FOIA request (or similar) to the entity operating the airport for any video, reports, etc.
     
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  5. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    You've never asked a gate agent for a better or different seat prior to boarding?
     
  6. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    I don't see that in the article.
     
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Just because it wasn't mentioned doesn't mean it didn't happen. My expectations of journalistic accuracy and completeness are somewhat reduced these days, especially when I see a URL that points to a tabloid website
     
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  8. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    "the new york daily news" - doesn't this say it all IIRC this is a news rag which loves to sensationalize
     
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  9. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Reading the article it's very clear that the diction and word choice is designed to demonize AA and portray the family as victims, the whole article slanting with an agenda. I really doubt we're getting an accurate picture of the day.

    Which isn't to say AA didn't foul this one up, I just highly doubt that AA removed them solely because the young man had Down's syndrome, particularly since I've flown multiple times in F cabins on AA with individuals with the exact same condition.
     
  10. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    The Post is much much worse if you can believe it.
     
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  11. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    This article has a video account from a local news station.
     
  12. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    This ended up on the consumerist. Supposedly AA issued the following statement to them in response to the story:

     
  13. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    However, I have seen parents with young children allow their kids to run wild before a flight to tire them out. Albeit, this kid was 16, but it may have been a similar scenario. I think the airline was wrong. After all they were ticketed in First. and the substitute flight forced them to the back.
     
  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I thought the parents said the son wasn't running wild.

    The question is: were they justified to deny boarding for the original flight? Difficult to tell as none of us was presumably there. The lawyer dad seems to like throwing around words like defamation, discrimination and segregation and calls it a violation of civil rights and the ADA (which I believe doesn't apply here). If he's going to sue, he'll hopefully have a bit more evidence than the blurry cellphone video that's running on TV now.

    As for the downgrade, probably difficult to find three or more F seats on the same flight at short notice given the load levels these days.
     
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  15. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I recently flew Tampa to Cleveland in First Class with a family traveling, their son had Down Syndrome and was definitely behaving normally as their parents put it. I do have to appreciate the parents for letting the entire crew and first class cabin know about their son's condition so that there wouldn't be any :rolleyes: . I'd have to say the F/C passengers certainly went out of their way to accommodate the family and the flight went by excellently!

    By the way... the ADA does not apply to the airlines when flying, the ACAA does. :-:
     
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  16. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    The cellphone video only reflects what was going on later (ie. when the CSM was speaking to them), so it's really hard to tell what the pilot (& other pax in the gate area) observed earlier!
     
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  17. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    From the story it seems like the parents chose a different airline. I can understand the emotions of that choice (and it may have been because the next AA flight was a long layover, the next day, etc.). Still, you fly another airline, you take what you can get.

    As for thinking the airline was wrong - we need to be able to see what they saw on that day. So far, that's not happened.
     
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  18. DestinationDavid
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    And it won't ever surface, we all know that.

    This one is going purely by the court of public opinion and AA will end up losing. Which again, I think we all know already.
     
  19. paladin87
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    paladin87 Silver Member

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    Are they going to sue UA too for putting them in the back of the plane? Sue sue sue! I was defamed, I was caused severe emotional distress!! Oh please. People need to get the **** over themselves. Severe emotional distress was not a doctrine that arose to give remedies to those who were made to sit in the last row of an airplane or denied boarding on a plane. Of course, as always, we hear the family side of this, the people who naturally were at the ready with their video camera the moment things began to go awry for them....:rolleyes: Yeah, I believe every word of your story...AA hates people with Downs syndrome...thank god you were instantly ready to record things from your perspective and from the moment YOU chose, because obviously you were not expecting any kind of incident.
     
  20. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I don't see any downgrade here. Apparently the family bought coach that they were able to upgrade. AFAIK most airlines' SOP when tickets are rebooked over to another carrier is to give the cabin that was actually purchased.

    AA isn't responsible for the seat assignments on UA. It was lucky that UA was able to find three seats together on a full flight.
     
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  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    You are probably right. But good luck explaining that SOP to the average civilian, especially someone already agitated about a perceived or real discrimination.
     
  22. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Saw another article that stated the family paid $625 to upgrade (not sure if that was per seat or not). If AA refused them the seats they should probably have refunded the first class upgrade fee.

    This is one of those stories where we'll never know who's right and it's entirely possible both parties are at fault. Obviously, the family is quick to throw around words like "segregation" which don't seem applicable in this case. On the other hand, I'm not sure why AA felt the family couldn't fly on that plane but could be accommodated on another plane.
     
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  23. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    And it's entirely possible that they got the back row because word got over as to why they weren't on their AA flight. Harder to disrupt the flight deck from 30 rows back...
     
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  24. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Not sure why, but it's something I have seen in several stories where a traveler was denied boarding on the original flight for some controversial reason (not oversell) and then accommodated on a later flight. Could it be that the captain of one flight might not refuse the passenger to board and another one (same airline) is less concerned about whatever the issue was? Kind of how captains seem to have some discretion when it comes to accepting or rejecting airplanes with mechanical problems that are deferrable (eg non-functional lavs)
     
  25. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    The account I read stated that AA did refund the upgrade fee(s) to the pax.
     

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