Who should I complain to about a broken seat?

Discussion in 'Star Alliance' started by riverchica, Dec 2, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. riverchica
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    riverchica Silver Member

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    Okay, wise MPers, who should I complain to about this?
    Flew Ethiopian ET500 on November 10th in Biz class (ADD-IAD) on a ticket booked with United miles. About an hour into the flight, my seat controls stopped working and the seat was stuck in a partial recline. The seat could only be put upright or laid flat manually by the crew who were none too happy about the chore and reluctant to help. They eventually laid the seat completely flat and left it. I had to eat dinner sitting cross-legged on top of the flat seat. There was a crew change in Rome and the new crew was even less helpful. I asked several times for help with the seat and even showed the flight attendants where the manual controls are located. They insisted they couldn't manually adjust the seat and didn't attempt to put the seat upright until towards the end of the flight and the best they could do was a reclined position.
    Sitting on top of the flat seat was uncomfortable and the crew was begrudging. (I understand Amharic so I know just how begrudging they were!) But who should I complain to since it was an Ethiopian flight booked with United miles?
     
  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    That's just adding insult to injera!

    I think you complain to Ethopian as they were operating the flight.
     
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  3. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Keep in mind since this was an EU connected flight you might have rights that you are not aware of... Its not quite a delay, or downgrade but it does seem as if they forced you to use an unsafe seat within the EU.
     
  4. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    It's unsafe if the seat can't be locked in the upright position for takeoff and landing.

    However, why didn't you complain and try to switch seats during the stop?
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Only the operating carrier can deal with the problem, really. Also, I believe that FCO is a tech stop without local traffic rights so I'm not sure that EU rules (other than basic safety regulations) come into play.
     
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  6. riverchica
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    riverchica Silver Member

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    There were no available seats. A seat change wasn't offered but I did look around myself. And, yes, the seat was unable to be locked in the upright position for landing/takeoff in FCO and landing in IAD.
     
  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Then you should have been downgraded or IDBed.
     
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  8. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I would definitely write to Ethiopian to report this incident however if you're seeking compensation then they won't be in any position to offer anything. It is not customary for African carriers to compensate their customers for something like this.

    Secondly, I would also write to both the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration as your safety was compromised when they allowed you to remain in your seat from FCO to IAD. We have to help our own Government hold these foreign airlines accountable otherwise they would not know about these incidents and then foreign airlines will get away with skirting the regulations they must follow when flying to the USA.
     
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  9. riverchica
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    riverchica Silver Member

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    Thanks for the advice, guys. I've never written to DOT or the FAA before!
     
  10. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    When any fixed equipment does not work, or fails to work, I always tell the purser. The crews write up reports to the airline, and flag such for maintenance. Just happened on a UA A-320 last week. The recline would not hold, so "upright position," rapidly became fully reclined.

    We have encountered minor issues, which have been reported, and in a few cases (more major), have been reseated. We were also missing a life vest in F, SFO to HNL, and were handed one to go into under-seat.

    Usually, we encounter just minor issues, such as a pair of headphones not working. However, in that case, we have our Bose units, so not an issue, other than to mark the UA offerings for repair, or replacement. Of course, that was before we could run the Bose headphones during takeoff and landing.

    Next, a quick, short letter to the airline (Ethiopian in your case), would probably be appreciated.
     

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