Rule on re-opening the door?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by SnowDogDad, Nov 4, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    Hi all,
    My first post here. :) What are the rules on reopening the boarding door if the jet bridge is still attached to the plane?

    The other night in SFO, due to a very late United flight, I arrived at my departure gate at 7:07pm for a 7:15 flight. The area was clear except one gate agent (a very rude Filipino lady named Ocampa) and the door was closed. I had a party of 5 people with me that were all on that flight. I asked her if we could board, she said no, that she was busy and that I had to go to Customer Service). I asked for her supervisor and she rudely said "go to customer service".

    The gate agent had not even printed out the passenger manifest yet, so I know the plane was not ready to back out. It remained at the gate until around 7:20pm.

    As a result, for my party, United had to fork over 3 hotel rooms and meal vouchers. But the value of those were minimal compared to the expense I incurred due to a loss of a work day and one of my friends also had to take a day off.

    I texted a friend that is a station manager at another United location afterwards and ask him what I should have done. He said I should have identified myself as a 1K and / or asked for a supervisor. He said the hassle of reopening the boarding door was minimal compared to the work and cost on the backside to reroute us.

    Thoughts? I asked a few people at United what the official policy is and they tell me it is up to the gate agent as long as they can continue to get the plane out on time.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Flyer1976
    Original Member

    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    You already have United's answer on this issue and it is really up to the agent(s) working the flight. A good agent would have called ahead to POC ( passenger operations control ) and asked to get you all on but from what you've told us it would seem that the agent was either lazy or the flight had already closed out with all standbys accommodated (no seats open).

    There are many factors at hand but if you're not in the gate area by the required time then you're at the agents discretion.

    Sent from my Sonic Screwdriver.
     
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  3. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    I wondered if they gave my seats away, but I never got an answer from the gate agent. I think the thing that infuriates me the most is that I came in to gate 37 and ask the gate agent there to call down to gate 82 and let them know that my party and I were on our way. He also refused. He said I needed to board the shuttle and go down there. That would have given them an extra 10 minutes notice that we were on our way.
     
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  4. SFOPhD

    SFOPhD Silver Member

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    I feel for you and understand your frustration. I've learned to deal with it nowadays by expecting very little help from United customer service. Passenger treatment just isn't what it used to be.
     
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  5. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

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    This is one of the most frustrating experiences for customers.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd get out pen and paper (or open up Word) and write an old fashioned letter to United. Name the agent, but perhaps tone it down on the name calling and ethnic references. State exactly what happened, how you asked at both your arrival gate and departure gate, and neither employee would help. State the costs the carrier could have easily avoided, and highlight the challenges you faced. Ask for some specific compensation.

    Matters like this are not suitable for call centers or emails.

    I had a forced overnight due to a weather cancellation on Delta. Most here would say I'd be out of luck as carriers aren't responsible for weather problems. My written letter to Delta got full reimbursement for my night at the Four Seasons and round trip private ground transportation covered.

    http://upgrd.com/sitinfirst/successful-complaint-letter-regarding-a-weather-delay.html

    Not that I'm a big DL fan (I generally prefer AA over DL or UA), I also draw your attention to the connection services that DL offers DMs and PMs. More than once with a tight connection at Atlanta, I've been greeted at the arrival gate with a golf cart and driven to my departure gate. While they don't do this 100% of the time, I find DL to be the most pro-active in accelerating mis-connecting high-elites.

    Let us know what if anything you do...and what they respond with.
     
  6. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    Thanks NYBanker an SFOPhD! (No name calling was intended other than to give someone else that may encounter this less-than-polite woman at a gate in the future a description. My friend that is a manager at United says she should be reported to her supervisor's manager because she is consistently less-than-polite with customers. But, that is another thread.

    Frankly, I have given CO and UA a LOT of leeway over the past 18 months. Things started downhill in early 2011 and got really bad at the official merger day back in March and for a few months afterwards. But, overall, they seem to have been getting a bit better and they have adjusted a processes and procedures based on customer feedback.

    It does seem, though, that at some stations (LAX and SFO especially) the overall employee attitude is bad. Still a lot of "well, *I* don't know anything because I was CO" type comments. Stations like ORD or DEN that were mostly UA previously don't seem to have the same issues.

    I flew DL primarily for 20 years and was a Platinum level flyer for several years and 1MM flyer. I finally left them for UA because DL's complimentary upgrade policies to/from Hawaii (where I live) were not as liberal as UA's. I *never* got complimentary upgrades on DL to/from Hawaii after 2003. I almost always get them on UA.

    I'll write a printed letter to UA. Nothing like old-fashioned paper to be taken a bit more seriously than bits. :)
     
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  7. dayone
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    dayone Silver Member

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    After you draft your letter, let it sit for a night and then edit it by a third the next day before you mail it.
     
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  8. iterfacio12

    iterfacio12 Silver Member

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    I do this exact thing when writing bad performance event oriented counselings. Never do it when you're annoyed or angry. Review after a day or so.
     
  9. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Every time the door is reopened and closed, FAA requires that the safety video be played again. Everyone on board gets to see DRSL again, along with Lincoln, Chase Card and movie commercials all over again. I got to see them three times recently at IAH. Much more entertaining than the election coverage I was trying to watch on the satellite TV. :eek:
     
  10. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    What's sad is they knew you were "coming over"... once upon a time airlines would hold the last plane of the day for connecting passengers.... and the GA should have known what was going on.

    Assuming this was a legal connection, I think you have the basis for a complaint and it should be if your employee had done such and such it would have saved your company some money.

    DTWBOB
     
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  11. Canarsie
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    Canarsie Gold Member

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    This is correct.

    If an aircraft is late departing from the gate and the reason is not beyond the control of the gate agent, then the gate agent is ultimately responsible and may be subject to justifying to the airline the reason as to why the aircraft did not depart from the gate on time, which could include but not be limited to significant paperwork.

    For this reason, gate agents attempt as best as possible to avoid delayed departures — and opening the aircraft door again significantly increases the chance of a delayed departure.
     
  12. sfogate
    Original Member

    sfogate Gold Member

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    There is so much more to this equation then just opening the door for late arriving customers. The gate agent has to look at many factors....will the flight take a delay due to arguements over lost seats, checking carry on bags, throwing off the final count and possible requirements of calling load planning for new numbers, crew legalities, lost connections at the arrival city, etc.
     

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