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Source: (consider it) Thread: Fly the Friendly Skies?
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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A doctor was dragged against his will off a United Airlines flight yesterday, getting his face bloodied in the process. Outrage and some viciously funny memes ensued.

Today another man was threatened with being handcuffed and dragged of a United flight for not yielding his seat to a "higher-priority" passenger.

(This is the same airline that smashed a performer's guitar then gave him the unholy runaround refusing to recompense him. They claimed to have learned from their mistake then. Clearly they did not.)

My takeaway from this, other than I will never, ever fly United, is that the airline industry needs re-regulating. Clearly this whole "businesses will regulate themselves if the government just steps out of the way" bullshit is bullshit.

Thoughts about these incidents, or about airline regulation, or related topics?

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62199 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Palimpsest
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# 16772

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For me, it doesn't come to being dragged out of the seat. They cancel or re-assign the plane to another late flight before you can get on the plane.

And thanks to the miracle of smart phones, you can watch while they don't post that your flight is going to be late when you can find out that it hasn't left the previous airport.

That said, most of the other airlines in the US are not much better.

As for this incident, the official reaction was almost as bad as the incident. "Reacommodation of passengers who were designated volunteers" is Orwellian.

Posts: 2948 | From: Seattle WA. US | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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"designated volunteer"

You're right, Orwell would be proud.

I read (I do not have confirmation) that searches at Merriam-Webster* for "volunteer" went up 1900% today.

_____
*US's largest dictionary publisher

[ 13. April 2017, 04:04: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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simontoad
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# 18096

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This is the price of freedom...

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
This is the price of freedom...

How is this freedom? Freedom for United, yes, but not for its passengers.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

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Dave W.
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# 8765

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
As for this incident, the official reaction was almost as bad as the incident. "Reacommodation of passengers who were designated volunteers" is Orwellian.

Do you have a link showing where the phrase "designated volunteer" was used by United?
Posts: 1923 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
This is the price of freedom...

How is this freedom? Freedom for United, yes, but not for its passengers.
I heard a radio program recently about the rise of no-frills airlines like Spirit and Frontier. The original idea was that they were going to corner the niche market of people who care about nothing other than price. But the other airlines took notice, and while they might provide slightly better services, they pretty much all run the same model.

This is one of those things where people are going to be tempted to say "fly with someone else if you don't like it," but the reality is that you have very limited choice when flying, and the choices are all cutting services and customer service as quickly as they can get away with it.

(I'm probably one of the Ship's biggest airline defenders, and I am still reluctant to whine about stuff like paying for drinks or checked bags, but it needs to be said, the consumer has very little power to modify airline behavior, short of posting the video to YouTube that causes the airline's stock to tank.)

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
My takeaway from this, other than I will never, ever fly United, is that the airline industry needs re-regulating. Clearly this whole "businesses will regulate themselves if the government just steps out of the way" bullshit is bullshit.

Thoughts about these incidents, or about airline regulation, or related topics?

As I understand it, United absorbed Continental which has given it a virtual monopoly on many domestic routes in the US. Antitrust legislation looks to be in order.

On the other hand, given that the EU has not (so far) followed the US and the UK in banning laptops in cabins to certain destinations, there is also a case to be made that this is an attempt by the US to force people off the big three Middle Eastern carriers onto US ones. That looks like too much government interference (rather than intervention by a regulatory body).

Overall, it seems to me that flying in Europe is a better customer experience than in the US. I think some of this is down to regulation and some down to culture.

On the one hand, the average passenger is, I think, politer in Europe (for instance, it's extremely rare in Europe to see anyone leave their seat after landing before the seatbelt sign is switched off).

On the other, enforcement training seems to focus more on non-confrontation and de-escalation than in US culture.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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It certainly gave us pause when booking our internal US flights for our upcoming visit.

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

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Gee D
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# 13815

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
This is the price of freedom...

How is this freedom? Freedom for United, yes, but not for its passengers.
I suspect that simontoad was referring, in non-complimentary terms, to the general process of de-regulation.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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Why couldn’t United’s employees have dealt with the situation, put their staff (who apparently needed seats people had paid for) on another flight, or simply waited?

Surely some patience is required in difficult situations?

The need by those in uniform for instant obedience is a very worrying one. One should instantly obey the one in uniform 'or else'. In this case be dragged down a plane, in others (usually if pulled over when driving while black and not instantly obeying) get shot. It's interesting to note that he was an Asian bloke. Would a blonde white man or woman have been treated the same?

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Garden. Room. Walk

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BroJames
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# 9636

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Without remotely excusing the way this man was treated, the likely pressure on United was to get an aircrew to the destination airport in time to staff a flight from there to somewhere else without breaching regulations about rest times etc.

It was bad planning that this wasn't sorted before the flight boarded so that passengers who were to be bumped didn't even board the plane, and very bad handling of the resultant situation.

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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There are those who have been warning what unfettered capitalism might look like for years: nothing gets in the way of the needs of the corporation - that is the first (and possibly the last) law. Did people really need an incident like this to illustrate it?

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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I am not offering any excuses for United, but there was already a serious disruption of service before this incident.

A storm had wreaked havoc at the Atlanta airport, which is a hub for United, several days earlier. A huge number of flights had been cancelled, and United was doing its damndest to get its scheduled service back to normal.

They decided to bump four passengers so that crew needed in another city could have their seats. The obvious way to handle this was to offer ever-larger sums of money to passengers to give up their seats. AIUI, they offered $800, but did not raise their offer.

The way they handled the situation was not only wrong, but stupid.

Moo

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See you later, alligator.

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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He made an easy target, being nearly 70 and Asian (therefore probably smaller of frame than most men on the plane).

My son insists on speculating about what would have happened if they'd targeted his dad, who is also Asian, nearly 70, and from a profession you don't expect to fight back (a pastor).

It would have been an even bigger mistake, as a midnight mugger on Christmas eve found out. Mr. Lamb is an Air Force vet and has military martial arts training.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:
It certainly gave us pause when booking our internal US flights for our upcoming visit.

My brother's mother-in-law flew back to Korea yesterday, with at least her first leg on United. He said that he had never seen a more attentive and polite staff. Maybe they will be the friendliest airline in the country for a while, at least until this incident is mostly forgotten.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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All public servants (everybody in fact) needs to realise that in every single pocket is a handy video recorder with the facility to send that video round the world in seconds.

No need for CCTV.

Your company's shares can plummet when your employees forget their manners - better to train those employees how to be human beings, whatever the short term cost. The long term cost could be much bigger. Reputations built over years toppled in seconds.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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The standard tactic of blaming the victim has also been resorted to.
Which led to this, another sterling comedy column from Petri at the POST.
"Born (possibly out of wedlock?) in a stable, this jobless thirty-something of Middle Eastern origin had had previous run-ins with local authorities for disturbing the peace, and had become increasingly associated with the members of a fringe religious group. He spent the majority of his time in the company of sex workers and criminals."

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:

As for this incident, the official reaction was almost as bad as the incident. "Reacommodation of passengers who were designated volunteers" is Orwellian.

I was also amused by the United CEO talking about "denying boarding" to a man who was sitting on the plane.

No. That's not how English works. The process of getting on to the aircraft is called "boarding". Once someone is on the plane, he has boarded. It is no longer possible to deny him boarding.

It is possible to remove him from the plane, but not to deny him boarding.

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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I have no sympathy for United at all, at least not from what I've read about this incident. It appears that there was an announcement in the lounge asking for volunteers to take a later flight as this one was overbooked (though, surely, that would have been known for a couple of hours as they'd have known how many people had checked in). I'm rarely in a great hurry to get somewhere, so may well have taken up their offer of a hotel and a later flight with a bit of cash thrown in.

But, it seems extremely odd to start boarding and then realise you still need four more volunteers. A willingness to volunteer while in the departure lounge is likely to disappear once you've gone through all the effort of finding your seat, cramming your carry-on around your feet as there's no room in the over head locker, and got yourself as comfortable as possible.

Selling more tickets than a plane can carry is strange enough practice, though it does provide some cover for passengers not turning up and there being empty seats. But checking-in too many passengers seems to be the height of incompetance. If there have been delays and they're trying to get delayed passengers into the planes then the place to ask if someone would take a later flight (especially if that's the next day) would be at check-in - before handing over luggage and waiting in line for security.

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Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:

That said, most of the other airlines in the US are not much better.

As for this incident, the official reaction was almost as bad as the incident. "Reacommodation of passengers who were designated volunteers" is Orwellian.

Most US airlines are beaurocratic and soulless, and most engage in the same practices of overbooking. But united has much lower customer satisfaction ratings and this is why. What most airlines do in this situation is continue upping their offer until the get a real volunteer. If no one will voluntarily deplane for $800 try $1000. Keep increasing until someone goes for it-- this is one of those situations where market forces work, and it's fair since the root of the problem is a capitalist one-- increasing corporate profits. This works well in other airlines, with the deplaned passengers who truly volunteer often pleased with their bargain rather than bloodied. But United was too cheap-- unwilling to offer more than $800 for a 24 hour delay-- and will end up losing millions as a result

The epic response of CEO Munoz showed why this is the case. Took him 3 tries (after the Orwellian double speak above along with a bit of victim blaming) to get to "sorry"

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Selling more tickets than a plane can carry is strange enough practice, though it does provide some cover for passengers not turning up and there being empty seats.

I believe it's standard practice in the industry. The number of people who don't turn up predictably falls sufficiently short of the number of people that it makes statistical sense.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Gramps49
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# 16378

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I have had a travel agent tell me that if I am taking a flight within the US and I have a choice between a US carrier or an EU carrier, I should take the EU carrier because there are more protections through the EU.

This all has to do with deregulation. It started a number of years ago. Regulations used to provide better protections to the consumer; but starting during the Clinton era, those protections were lifted.

Now Trump is saying he wants to further deregulate other industries (in particular, the financial sector). The only entity that benefits from that is the business, not the consumer.

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Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
In the future, law enforcement will not be involved in removing a "booked, paid, seated passenger", Mr Munoz said. "We can't do that."
I'd have thought this was a common sense approach to customer service, but apparently it takes United CEO Oscar Munoz a couple tries to arrive at this position.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Selling more tickets than a plane can carry is strange enough practice, though it does provide some cover for passengers not turning up and there being empty seats.

I believe it's standard practice in the industry. The number of people who don't turn up predictably falls sufficiently short of the number of people that it makes statistical sense.
But again, other airlines handle this differently, with much different responses.

I was once in just such a situation on a return flight from Hawaii. A bit of extra cash and an extra night's stay in paradise? Yes, please. Sadly, I didn't jump fast enough and more nimble passengers snapped up the deal before I could.

Of course, if you're not returning from Hawaii, you have to sweeten the deal a bit more to make it attractive. But it's hard to imagine there's no figure that would induce a traveler to voluntarily stay behind for 24 hours, even if you're staying in Buffalo NY rather than Honolulu.

People are traveling for all sorts of reasons, with all sorts of financial and personal matters on the line for their arrival. For some, like me on my Hawaii trip, a 24 hour delay is not such a big deal, and with sufficient compensation, they'll be quite happy with the deal. For others (like the doctor in this case) there's much more on line-- perhaps you are traveling to a once-in-lifetime job interview, going to a medical appt with a specialist that took you months to book, or arriving just in time for a loved one's funeral. Perhaps you are a single mom who has no childcare for an overnight stay. Similarly, job situations vary greatly-- if you have a last-minute delay that keeps you going to work the next day, some employers will simply dock you a personal day holiday-- others will terminate you.

All of these variable circumstances can be nicely sorted out again by simple market forces if you just keep upping the offer until you get a real volunteer who will happily walk away with the extra cash.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10697 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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I started flying at 5 this morning. 3.5 hours later I notice while waiting for the second flight that 3 of 100 people are not on their "miraculous smart phones". Everyone over 60 types with 1 index finger at 6 words per minute while looking over the tops of their eyeglasses. Everyone under 40 types with both thumbs at 390 words per min while watching netflix at the same time.

Correction to the above. Flight #1 delayed 30 mins so flying didn't really start until 5:30. (Flight #2 delayed 45 mins)

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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It would have been cheaper for United to roll out another jet for those four crew persons. Heck, it would've been cheaper for them to hire a space shuttle. The hit they're going to take now is orders of magnitude huger. You do not recover from a PR disaster like this.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

Posts: 4740 | From: Washington DC | Registered: Mar 2014  |  IP: Logged
Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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NPR had a game theorist on this morning, talking about how the airlines could handle the overbooking situation better, and about how United particularly screwed this one up, even before calling in the goon squad.

First, work it out before people are on the airplane. Once people are on the airplane, their concept of the seat changes from an image of a seat that they will occupy in the future to an actual seat which they are entitled to sit in. Once people have a concept of ownership of a seat, they become less likely to give up that seat.

Second, don't make announcements and wait for people to stand up. Humans are scared of appearing to be suckers. If you have to raise your hand and announce to the rest of the passengers that you are willing to give up your seat, you risk looking like a sucker if no one else jumps at the offered price. So maybe do it by text message, or at the desk at check-in.

Third, when offering money or vouchers, start high, and go lower until you get down to the number of volunteers that you need. If you start at two thousand dollars, you will get more than enough volunteers, and you know who really will not get off the plane. Then go down incrementally, until you get to the actual price that will result in the proper number of volunteers. (And, I suppose, you could keep going from there, until you drop below the requisite number of volunteers.)

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

Posts: 3027 | From: Denver, Colorado, USA | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:

But, it seems extremely odd to start boarding and then realise you still need four more volunteers.

The story I heard was that the United employees needing to travel to Louisville didn't show up until the plane was largely (or completely?) boarded, so the gate agents didn't know they needed four more spaces until the plane was already full of people.

Which is major league incompetence on the part of the airline, really.

I wonder, also:

This was a Sunday evening. Most people on the plane would have been expected at work on Monday morning. I wonder what fraction of people have the flexibility to take a buyout and stay an extra day.

Posts: 4369 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
HCH
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# 14313

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I wonder how they choose their "volunteers". If someone is kicked off a plane, I assume the carry-on luggage goes along. What if the person has checked luggage? I can imagine someone being taken off a plane and forced to wait for a later plane without even a toothbrush.

I tend to think overbooking should be banned, not only by airlines but by hotels and other industries.

Posts: 1441 | From: Illinois, USA | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Selling more tickets than a plane can carry is strange enough practice, though it does provide some cover for passengers not turning up and there being empty seats.

I believe it's standard practice in the industry. The number of people who don't turn up predictably falls sufficiently short of the number of people that it makes statistical sense.
Though, there are also statistics on people who need a seat on a flight at the last minute - those who missed their flight (part of the above) or were there but couldn't board as it was overbooked, occasions when a flight is cancelled or a smaller plane is needed, even flight crew who are in the wrong airport.

Basically it seems like the over-booking model is one that is necessarily inflexible. And, when strained will always snap - leading to the sort of situation where someone who has paid the price for their seat is turfed off the flight they need to be on and put on another flight that doesn't suit their needs.

I guess the old practice of selling stand-buy tickets for any flight that had room doesn't work in the current climate of security checks.

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Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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Augustine the Aleut
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# 1472

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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
Without remotely excusing the way this man was treated, the likely pressure on United was to get an aircrew to the destination airport in time to staff a flight from there to somewhere else without breaching regulations about rest times etc.

It was bad planning that this wasn't sorted before the flight boarded so that passengers who were to be bumped didn't even board the plane, and very bad handling of the resultant situation.

A friend of mine, for many years a minion of a major carrier, said that in this particular case, he would have just booked a van and driver to take the staff members there directly. It's not as if they needed to get a crew from Yellowknife to Winnipeg.

I've twice happily accepted denied-boarding compensation-- once, when others did not volunteer and the gate agent looked desperate, I spoke with him and we agreed on the cash and accommodation, as well as an upgrade and two spare lounge passes (an engineer friend used to volunteer regularly and financed a few holidays out of it).

Others have written on the tone-deaf response of United staff, which is so obvious and embarrassing that one hardly needs to comment again. Sadly, more than one bishop has indulged in similar self-defensive and side-stepping language.

As well, two staff have been put on leave, which suggests that they did not operate in accordance with procedure (i.e., they assaulted the passenger)-- such things do not happen in a vacuum. These staff must have received signals or even explicit direction that such abuse is smiled at. Rogues always have friends and never operate independently.

I have seen some estimates of the cost of this foolishness to United, and it seems to me that they would have likely been better off to have chartered private jets for each of the four passengers, likely at a cost of about US$40 000, champagne and pedicurist included. It would have been cheaper by tens of millions.

Posts: 6039 | From: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Crœsos
Shipmate
# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Basically it seems like the over-booking model is one that is necessarily inflexible. And, when strained will always snap - leading to the sort of situation where someone who has paid the price for their seat is turfed off the flight they need to be on and put on another flight that doesn't suit their needs.

Kevin Drum did some analysis of which airlines eject the most paying customers. Interestingly Delta has the most denied boardings but the fewest ejections. They seem to have figured out that the time to make these decisions is before the passengers are actually seated on the plane.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

Posts: 10105 | From: Sardis, Lydia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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The attorney (of course you knew there would be one, right?) representing the dragged passenger reports that his client suffered serious concussion, a broken nose and loss of teeth.
We could probably have a betting pool, on how much United is going to have to pay him. There is not a jury in the US which will not find against United, even assuming you could empanel jurors who have not read of the case or seen the video; if I were them I would settle out of court ASAP.
I will place my bet at $100 million.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

Posts: 4740 | From: Washington DC | Registered: Mar 2014  |  IP: Logged
Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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I despise United Airlines, and the only reason I'm not boycotting them because of this situation is because I've already been boycotting them for several years.

United Airlines certainly deserve to have their pants sued off of them. But so does the Chicago Department of Aviation security office. It was their guys who actually attacked and dragged the passenger. (Really -- they didn't ever raise the armrest rather than drag him over it?)

[Mad] [Mad] [Mad]

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Posts: 9013 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I believe it's standard practice in the industry. The number of people who don't turn up predictably falls sufficiently short of the number of people that it makes statistical sense.

Though, there are also statistics on people who need a seat on a flight at the last minute - those who missed their flight (part of the above) or were there but couldn't board as it was overbooked, occasions when a flight is cancelled or a smaller plane is needed, even flight crew who are in the wrong airport.
I would suppose that those things can be taken into account. Although I can see that there is scope for a short-sighted airline obsessed with short-term profit to shave things too close.

(Similarly most banks lend out at any time more than their actual assets. Which is fine if they've estimated the risk correctly. And a bit of a problem if they haven't. Which never happens because bankers always rationally estimate the risk.)

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

Posts: 10095 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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Also this past Sunday, a passenger on a United flight from Houston, Texas, to Calgary, Alberta, was stung by a scorpion.
[Eek!]

(They "consulted with a physician on the ground" -- another reason it's a bad idea to drag physicians off of planes. They might be needed.)

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

Posts: 9013 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Selling more tickets than a plane can carry is strange enough practice, though it does provide some cover for passengers not turning up and there being empty seats.

I believe it's standard practice in the industry. The number of people who don't turn up predictably falls sufficiently short of the number of people that it makes statistical sense.
No, it doesn't make any sense at all. If the seat has been sold, the airline already has the money. Why should they care if the person who bought the seat shows up or not? Besides, they can usually sell it to a standby passenger, thus collecting twice for the same seat.

Overbooking should be banned. Period.

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"We're not in Wonderland anymore, Alice." – Charles Manson

Posts: 9980 | From: The Great Southwest | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
simontoad
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# 18096

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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
This is the price of freedom...

How is this freedom? Freedom for United, yes, but not for its passengers.
I suspect that simontoad was referring, in non-complimentary terms, to the general process of de-regulation.
Yep. Plus freedom ends at the door of big business, dunnit.

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

Posts: 607 | From: Romsey, Vic, AU | Registered: May 2014  |  IP: Logged
Palimpsest
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# 16772

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Selling more tickets than a plane can carry is strange enough practice, though it does provide some cover for passengers not turning up and there being empty seats.

I believe it's standard practice in the industry. The number of people who don't turn up predictably falls sufficiently short of the number of people that it makes statistical sense.
No, it doesn't make any sense at all. If the seat has been sold, the airline already has the money. Why should they care if the person who bought the seat shows up or not? Besides, they can usually sell it to a standby passenger, thus collecting twice for the same seat.

Overbooking should be banned. Period.

The overbooking is driven by the refundable fares that are available for business travelers who need flexibility. Given those, there's usually a 5 to 10% cancelling of tickets. It will be interesting to see if refundable fares continue.
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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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I have now seen 2 articles mounting fairly convincing arguments that what United did was simply illegal.

Essentially, the argument is that these things have to be done before boarding, not after. The rules are structured to delineate "denying boarding" provisions from "removal" provisions, and that United attempted to justify its actions by referring to the "denying boarding" provisions when the man had already boarded. None of the grounds allowed for "removal" applied.

Cue internet discussions where amateur lawyers try to argue that a person on board a plane hasn't actually "boarded" until the plane moves, but frankly the structure of the legislation makes a fairly compelling case. If you want to bump passengers, you do it in the lounge beforehand. You don't drag them off the plane after you've already accepted their boarding pass.

[ 14. April 2017, 12:21: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 17916 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
It will be interesting to see if refundable fares continue.

Precisely. Even expense-account business travelers have to travel. They have no choice but to fly unless they want to arrive several days late for their appointments. The airlines have them by their, erm, dossiers.

Make all fares non-refundable, period. OK, if plans change, issue a travel voucher for future flight -- the airlines already charge a hefty "rebooking fee" for those. They're not going to lose a penny, except as a result of bad publicity caused by stupid actions.

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"We're not in Wonderland anymore, Alice." – Charles Manson

Posts: 9980 | From: The Great Southwest | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
amateur lawyers try to argue that a person on board a plane hasn't actually "boarded" until the plane moves

In that case, the airlines had better re-write the script that flight attendants use to announce that "Boarding is now complete" (which assumes that it was in progress) when they close the door.

[ 14. April 2017, 12:27: Message edited by: Amanda B. Reckondwythe ]

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"We're not in Wonderland anymore, Alice." – Charles Manson

Posts: 9980 | From: The Great Southwest | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
amateur lawyers try to argue that a person on board a plane hasn't actually "boarded" until the plane moves

In that case, the airlines had better re-write the script that flight attendants use to announce that "Boarding is now complete" (which assumes that it was in progress) when they close the door.
Exactly the kind of thing I've been trying to point out to some people, to no avail. They talk about a boarding process, and yet every step of their argument requires boarding to be an instantaneous thing where all the passengers, in a legal sense, suddenly collectively "board" at a point in time well after they are all physically on the plane.

And no legal definition is used to back this nonsense up. Nothing to displace the natural meaning of the language, where each passenger boards at the point in time when they walk onto the plane. They just seem to believe that the answer HAS to be the same for every passenger.

But then, I've spent nearly a decade learning that people can't cope with relational concepts. They want to define "boarding" instead of "boarding of a passenger", and so end up defining it by referring to something that the plane does. The passenger gets ignored in the definition.

[ 14. April 2017, 12:36: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 17916 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
The passenger gets ignored in the definition.

When airlines treat passengers as numbers on a spreadsheet, then this doesn't seem an inappropriate description.

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Posts: 31686 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
I wonder how they choose their "volunteers". If someone is kicked off a plane,

There is no regulation guiding this. They are free to choose their own method, typically it being the cheapest ticket purchased; first removed.
quote:

I assume the carry-on luggage goes along. What if the person has checked luggage? I can imagine someone being taken off a plane and forced to wait for a later plane without even a toothbrush.

Most airlines know where on the plane your luggage is. If it cannot be removed efficiently, it will be rerouted later. This can happen to your luggage even if you stay on the plane.
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
No, it doesn't make any sense at all. If the seat has been sold, the airline already has the money. Why should they care if the person who bought the seat shows up or not?

Refundable tickets.
quote:

Besides, they can usually sell it to a standby passenger, thus collecting twice for the same seat.

Never been on a flight with an empty seat? They are looking to maximise profit. Your convenience isn't their priority.

quote:

Overbooking should be banned. Period.

I don't like it either. And United handled it very poorly and unnecessarily. But, according to an LA Times article, the rate of passengers being bumped is less than a 100ᵗʰ of a percent.

[ 14. April 2017, 15:22: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

Posts: 15757 | From: out of the corner of your eye | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
Shipmate
# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
If the seat has been sold, the airline already has the money. Why should they care if the person who bought the seat shows up or not? Besides, they can usually sell it to a standby passenger, thus collecting twice for the same seat.

Overbooking should be banned. Period.

I expect the airline has to use less fuel if it runs with all its seats filled, which costs it less money. Not that the airline probably cares about the environmental impact, but I'm glad that environmental impact is lessened.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

Posts: 10095 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
cliffdweller
Shipmate
# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
I wonder how they choose their "volunteers". If someone is kicked off a plane,

There is no regulation guiding this. They are free to choose their own method, typically it being the cheapest ticket purchased; first removed.
quote:



[qb] [QUOTE]
Overbooking should be banned. Period.

I don't like it either. And United handled it very poorly and unnecessarily. But, according to an LA Times article, the rate of passengers being bumped is less than a 100ᵗʰ of a percent.

Again, not really a problem if you keep upping the offer til you get willing volunteers. A problem when you're too cheap to arrive at a fair figure.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10697 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Soror Magna
Shipmate
# 9881

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
Precisely. Even expense-account business travelers have to travel. They have no choice but to fly unless they want to arrive several days late for their appointments. The airlines have them by their, erm, dossiers.

Make all fares non-refundable, period. OK, if plans change, issue a travel voucher for future flight -- the airlines already charge a hefty "rebooking fee" for those. They're not going to lose a penny, except as a result of bad publicity caused by stupid actions.

Unfortunately, the same applies to public sector employees who have to travel as well. I book travel for university employees and we make deals for refundable tickets and insurance and changes and so forth because we don't want to waste the taxpayer's money when shit happens. We're also responsible for students traveling e.g. on field trips or exchange, and again, when shit happens, we need to be able to get them home asap.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Most travellers seem to want the cheapest fare possible, so that's the product the airlines provide. How do you get cheap fares? Operate at maximum occupancy, and sell each seat as many times as possible.

Re: European airlines being nicer - of course they are; they have competition - a decent train system. The alternative to flying in North America is 16 hours in the car and 8 hours in a cheap motel. Every day. For several days. [Help]

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

Posts: 5243 | From: Caprica City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I expect the airline has to use less fuel if it runs with all its seats filled, which costs it less money.

I can't see how a heavier plane would use less fuel than a lighter one. If you hold all other variables equal (type of plane, route, etc.), the only variable affecting fuel use would be weight. The less the weight, the less fuel used.

[ 14. April 2017, 22:26: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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