UA forces (150lb) Pearl Harbor survivor off of scheduled flight due to weight

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by rwoman, Dec 5, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    All,

    I wanted to highlight an update from a news story posted later in the thread here in my OP:

    Looks like A LOT (well, I think 41 is a lot for a 737) of pax were bumpled off the flight yesterday:

    http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/...t-allegedly-bumped-from-honolulu-bound-flight

    The quote below is from the link above and UA's statement:

    Definitely a challenging situation for any GA.

    ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************


    Hello Everyone,

    As I'm a AA/DL FFer, I do not often post in the UA forum.

    A bit of background...I am a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy and part of the "Chiefs Mess".

    Yesterday, a Chief was escorting, Ewalt Shatz, a Pearl Harbor survivor, on the UA 1226/LAX-HNL flight.

    A quote from my fellow Chief:

    I know ground staff have to make decisions on flights to get them out safely and on time...and it's not going to be a popular decision in many cases.

    This just seems messed up IMHO.

    On a good note, Mr. Shatz did receive a warm welcome upon his delayed arrival in HNL thanks to the Chiefs Mess and others!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  2. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    That does sound like the situation wasn't handled properly as he was bumped involuntarily. I can only hope the person received appropriate compensation for the IDB. :(
     
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  3. mherdeg
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    mherdeg Silver Member

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    (Cross-posting reply from elsewhere.) Did UA solicit volunteers before involuntarily denying boarding to this passenger?

    If they did not, then they violated the DOT rules for how to handle oversales (which includes weight&balance situations for this kind of aircraft). If they broke the rule, the passenger should file a DOT consumer complaint to have this event on the record, http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint . This is really fast and will get a proper investigation & response from UA Corporate.

    Did UA provide the passenger with cash compensation of 400% of the actual one-way fare the passenger paid from SFO-HNL, up to $1300? (The "one way fare" is the portion of their ticket price which covers the SFO-HNL trip, easy to look up if you know the fare construction, difficult otherwise.) If UA did not pay cash compensation, they broke a DOT rule. If they broke the rule, the passenger should file a DOT consumer complaint to have this event on the record, http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint . (And follow up with UA to get cash.)

    If UA complied with the rules (sought volunteers, found none, chose to IDB a passenger who happens to be a veteran, paid him cash compensation), then that is a huge bummer but also an established business practice, and hopefully the cash compensation made up for the lost time in HNL.
     
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  4. rggale
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    rggale Gold Member

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    Sounds like a poor judgement call on behalf of the gate agent.

    Bring on the news media shitstorm...:rolleyes:
     
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  5. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    As I stated on FT, I've asked my fellow Chief about the circumstances. When I get a response, I'll pass along any information.

    UA may have fully complied with the rules (which IS fine although this sort of thing does provoke emotions in all directions) and they did rebook him on an HA filght.
     
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  6. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    hmmm

    I remember a reverse thread on FT some years ago on FT. The GA had two seats, two people were going on to SYD and one 1K was just going to LAX. The GA bumped the 1k and he got on to FT and proceeded to start a similar thread.

    Even if the GA followed proper procedure there is no good outcome here. Either the veteran gets bumped, or someone who was not supposed to be bumped gets bumped. Catch-22.
     
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  7. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    Based on that It looks like the Veteran has a 4hr delay getting to HNL. Not great but not terrible either.
     
  8. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    To the non-FFer, I can imagine it does sound humorous when a GA tells a relatively small person that they're not going to be able to take their flight due to weight restrictions.

    To those of us who fly often, it's not all that strange, but to the novice observer/traveler, I suspect it is.
     
  9. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Yeah if it's the same Pearl survivor Ewalt Shatz (how many of those can there be), he's 89 years old. At 150 lbs., there had to be someone else that would make a better candidate for an IDB.
     
  10. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    I would also imagine that he had a "handler" or nurse with him. And it could have been a variation of an "Honor Flight" where Mr. Shatz was a guest of the airline.

    Still was a really really really bad PR move on the gate agent's part.
     
  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    LAX-HNL... Ya think all the other pax were elites?

    Expecting to see this story on local "news" by tomorrow morning. Dumb move. And franky, veteran or not, reunion or not... an 89 year old should not be your choice for bumping.
     
  12. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Well, Mr. Shatz has a very solid internet presence (simply Google his name); and he was 89 years old a year ago when he last visited Pearl Harbor (perhaps he does this annually):
    http://news.yahoo.com/pearl-harbor-dead-remembered-71st-anniversary-091656970.html
    Obviously, the airline messed up big time, with the potential bad publicity yet to come.
    That aside, if anyone was travelling with Mr. Shatz, I'd suggest that they didn't make a forceful enough case for his remaining on the plane. And others may have relinquished their seat if they had heard his story. But, as colpuck points out, a 4-hour delay is not the end of the world.
     
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  13. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I'll give ANYBODY my seat for a voucher if I'm only having a 4 hour delay. :)
     
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  14. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    It is my understanding that the policy on people to IDB is clear and there is a specific order that passengers are IDB'd in. Whomever is #2 on the list is still #2 it doesn't matter if they are 1K or 0K. Assuming the agent followed policy they had a choice between bumping an 89 year old veteran and breaking policy and bumping someone who wasn't eligible to be bumped.

    The policy outcome isn't always the right outcome and the popular outcome isn't always the right outcome either. Here the agent was faced with a catch 22. I won't be mad at the agent for making the policy call. Making a policy with exceptions for certain groups is just begging for a discrimination lawsuit. I echo other posters surprise that no one else would volunteer, but that is what it is.

    When GA's ask for volunteers I run in the direction of the counter.
     
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  15. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well, 1226 is a relatively "small" plane, and seems to be always packed (16/133). Still, it's hard to believe that out of everyone on the plane he was the only one eligible for IDB.

    Over my dead body. :)

    I "casually" put my name on the list as soon as I get to the gate, assuming the agent is not busy and I don't have anything better to do.
     
  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I am going to look forward to seeing the UA spokesperson explain this situation in the court of public opinion.

    If they didn't find a volunteer, they either didn't ask or they didn't offer enough.
     
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  17. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    Like the upgrade list there is the IDB list based various criteria. Again assuming the policy was followed he ended up as #1 on the IDB list.
     
  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Is the prioritization of the list documented somewhere that's publicly accessible?
     
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  19. nathan.anthony82

    nathan.anthony82 Active Member

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    Sometimes ya still get the Green Weenie!
     
  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Wonder how accurate this seatmap is...

    seatmap.png
     
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  21. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Not having been there at the time, I wonder if a creative solution once the GA was aware of who was being bumped might have been to ask again for a volunteer, this time pointing out rather publicly just who would be bumped if there wasn't a volunteer. I imagine that would have led to a queue of volunteers.

    Then again, maybe the GA tried that gambit and still came up with no volunteers, in which case my suggestion would be useless another time.

    That said, if protocol was followed, then there is no faulting the GA even if the lottery came up with bad optics for the airline.
     
  22. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    UA seems to manage capacity on that route fairly well. They run three flights Tues-Wed but 4 flights otherwise, and on the weekends 1226 is a 753 instead of a 738.

    That upgrade list is nasty though :)
     
  23. sfogate
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    sfogate Gold Member

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    Unfortunately there are times when no one will volunteer to get off a flight.
     
  24. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    But did they really leave with that many empty seats?

    In other news, there are some reports that the pax left on an Hawaiian Airlines flight.

    http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/...t-allegedly-bumped-from-honolulu-bound-flight
     
  25. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    UA should have their IDB procedures and priorities spelled out in their CofC. Many carriers have exceptions that they won't IDB UMs, the handicapped, etc. At his age and if he had a traveling companion, I'm almost surprised that wasn't considered an exception. Did he check in very late? That's sometimes a criterion.

    This was due to W&B rather than an oversale. Does IDB nevertheless apply because it wasn't a small plane?
     
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