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USA Today: UA forcibly remove random pax from flight

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USA Today: UA forcibly remove random pax from flight

Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:14
  #1001 (permalink)  
 
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@ Piltdown Man

I understand your concerns. Now look at it from the passenger side. I would suggest that it's fairly reasonable for a passenger to consider that after they have purchased their ticket, complied with all the rules and requirements, been accepted without condition at the gate and taken their allocated (and booked) seat, the last thing they might expect is to be bumped off AT THIS STAGE of the process. Even more so if they are going to be split from the rest of their family. The bottom line here, which many seem to have forgotten, is that the airline made some sort of monumental cock-up regarding the DH crew and they expected 4 boarded passengers to give up their seats, without even the guarantee of a seat on the very next flight. That's just not right, period.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:18
  #1002 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Piltdown Man View Post
What makes me feel uneasy is that some here have the opinion that that as soon as a passenger's bum hits their seat they are protected by some omnipotent legal shield. The passenger can now call the shots. Does that mean that unless my company come up with a sufficiently high enough level of compensation for them to vacate their seat they have a legal right to remain seated, no matter what? Do they have to travel on the aircraft they boarded, in that seat to the prescribed destination, no matter what?
No, not "no matter what".

But if the passenger hasn't breached the Conditions of Carriage that they (and your employer) have agreed to, and they are already sat in a serviceable seat on a flight that's going to their intended destination, then yes, you can only buy them out of their contract by offering them what they consider to be an acceptable sum.

From this point on, you're going to have to get used to that idea.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:21
  #1003 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Piltdown Man View Post
Just to be clear, I have no interest in disembarking any passenger on a random whim. PM
But that is just what happened. Not chosen by the captain, to be sure, but randomly chosen nonetheless. Yes, the passenger/customer does have the right to expect the occupy the seat. He had bought (paid for) a ticket, passed through all the necessary formalities and was behaving as civilised member of the human race.

The problem arose because four members crew (working for the airline) turned up at the 11th hour and 59th minute. The airline decide they had to fly so others should be off loaded. Bribery worked on three but not on the four person, Dr Dao. Airline solution, call "security" and have him forcibly removed. Not an acceptable solution for Dr Dao or one suspects many other millions of the travelling public.


PS. PM Seems there are three in a row here who are thinking along the same lines...!! As I said, in reality it runs into millions... In essence I suppose you could ask the question: Are the airlines run for the convenience of airlines or for the convenience of passengers..?
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:23
  #1004 (permalink)  
 
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Jay, you are correct. But the contract exists from you buying the ticket until the contract is fulfilled with you arriving at your destination, providing numerous compliance check-points are met along the way. But flying also requires the weather and airports to play ball. At the same time airlines have become used to using their aircraft as internal transport. Are they wrong to do this? Should airlines keep seats free for position crew? Every airline adverse option means the poster is perfectly happy for you to pay more to fly. Is that OK?
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:24
  #1005 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
No, not "no matter what".

But if the passenger hasn't breached the Conditions of Carriage that they (and your employer) have agreed to, and they are already sat in a serviceable seat on a flight that's going to their intended destination, then yes, you can only buy them out of their contract by offering them what they consider to be an acceptable sum.

From this point on, you're going to have to get used to that idea.
Well I am sure this will all look good on United Airlines next sale pitch.

Dragged of your flight with a bloody nose....That's United
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:24
  #1006 (permalink)  
 
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Piltdown Man - your post reveals exactly what I have said. Somehow the actions of law enforcement seem irrelevant to you here. I would strongly suggest that they are at the root of the problem. That is not to say that Dr Dao was completely reasonable. What we all have to recognize is that if you have a flight with 150 assorted passengers on board, some will be trickier to handle than others. Given that we are all likely to be faced with some difficult and less compliant passengers, the default action by law enforcement cannot be to carry out violent attacks on such people, simply because they can. This is all about training - there is no achievement in handling nice people who, when told to jump reply, 'How high'? The skill is dealing with perfectly law-abiding but idiosyncratic people who think they have rights or absolutely reject the idea of being booted from a flight to accommodate staff. The future costs of travel are nothing to do with Dr Dao - they are all to do with inadequately trained and selected security staff who are totally ill-equipped to perform their basic duties due to an astonishing lack of common sense and temperamental inadequacies.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:31
  #1007 (permalink)  
 
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PM, I fully understand and appreciate what you say. In fact you use the phrase "on a whim" which seems to apply to this case as there were many other options available that were either not considered, or considered and discounted. The path of least resistance would have appeared to be to remove the passenger who had already expressed a willingness to do so in the belief that a later flight was on offer; once it was clear this meant a flight the next day the circumstances for him changed and he rejected that offer.

Anyone who buys a ticket for an airline flight, has a boarding pass and is seated in a perfectly serviceable seat and doing no harm to anyone certainly has the right not to be assaulted; and subsequently humiliated and denigrated.

Unforeseen circumstances can occur and will continue to do so. These must be addressed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the safe conduct of the flight, and/ or the safety of the passenger(s). As you say, you have bought yourself out of those situations in the past; sadly in this instance UA closed the wallet too soon and it will cost them dearly. I am sure that for a few hundred dollars more someone else on that plane would have voluntarily relinquished their seat.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:33
  #1008 (permalink)  
 
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Next up? AA

Spreading to other airlines now.

Internal Error
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:34
  #1009 (permalink)  
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A few purported PIC here have stated it is their decision and an airplane is not a democracy and they call the shots.....
and a few purported PIC are quite wrong when discussing this particular, (or similar) situation(s), involving an airline, rather than a third level operator with 20seat aircraft at remote out stations. There are multi layers of airline traffic management, (ground staff), between the person who approached the doctor to ask him to leave and the most senior traffic services manager in the airline. At no stage do the lines of traffic management authority cross with those of the PIC when it comes down to a passenger seating dispute and the traffic staff would have valid grounds for complaint if a PIC tried to intervene. There would have been several more senior staff available that night who could have become involved, right up to and including the UAL Duty Station Manager, Chicago, if necessary.

To those posters using this thread to denigrate the pilot work force; PPRuNe is a professional pilots forum, please leave the chips on your shoulders at the door, before entering.
To those taking exception to the term Self Loading Freight (SLF); An understanding of aviation humour would probably be enough to stop you rushing into print.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:43
  #1010 (permalink)  
 
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Surely this isn't as difficult to understand as some people are trying to make out.

If there is a genuine safety reason (broken seat, last minute need to add fuel for changing Wx and now above MTOW or whatever), the PIC has legitimate authority to request a pax to get off). 99% of pax will get that. Hopefully the carrier will compensate the pax for something which is really no ones fault but rather circumstances beyond everyone's control. Next possible flight, lounge access, upgrade .....whatever. Isn't that what most of us would expect if we drew the short straw for the greater good? This safety reason separates airlines from other businesses like restaurants or cinemas or whatever.

LEO have dragged pax off for legitimate reason - intoxicated or whatever. And the other pax support that and won't come to the defence of the clown. The fact the video shows outraged pax (some of whom allegedly subsequently refused to reboard) should be a hint that this was not right.

Could a hotel or cinema or restaurant demand someone vacate so an employee could take their place? Of course not - it's not safety related. So why should an airline?

The fact some people still don't seem to get this is the centre of the pupil of the bullseye of the failed customer service culture that so many pax have experienced.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:47
  #1011 (permalink)  
 
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slats11 You sum it up very well.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 23:48
  #1012 (permalink)  
 
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DavidReid - I have always respected your opinion. I seldom disagree with you and I'm not going to now. As I said in my last post above, this is not a problem for me, only my company. I also know who pays my salary (and soon my pension).

But I find it interesting that contract law appears to trump any aviation law. Once the victims park their bums they appear to be invulnerable. So being a bit naughty, what is a passenger's status after passing the gate, before getting on board? Clarity is essential as I fly 50,000 people every year and I'd like to know what is legal and what is not.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 00:02
  #1013 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SeenItAll View Post
I keep hearing people say that once a confirmed-booking passenger has entered the plane or sat down in a seat, s/he cannot be off-loaded. If you take that position, please explain to me what happens when the seat that the pax sits in is found to be defective (e.g. has a non-functioning seat belt), or due to some change in the weather (e.g., temperature or wind direction) the flight becomes over-weight? I have seen (multiple times) both of these circumstances -- and guess what? I have seen "boarded" pax have to leave the plane.

If the airline is not permitted to IDB people (assuming that even generous VDB hasn't worked), what is it to do? Ask everyone to leave the plane (guaranteeing a huge delay)? Just cancel the flight? And what, then, if someone takes exception and refuses to leave the plane? Remember, not everyone in the world is polite. Please tell us what procedures you would have the airline follow in all of these cases.

There is a reason why IDB rules like EU261 exist.
If the craft becomes ' overweight' because of an unseen weather change, or similar circumstances, if the required volunteers are not forthcoming, the captain could announce that this flight can't legally leave the stand and will have to be fully deboarded where either a larger plane will be found or the passengers reboarded in the order in which they checked in, minus the last x number of passengers, so no dramas, no tears, no bashings, simples.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 00:04
  #1014 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Piltdown Man View Post

But I find it interesting that contract law appears to trump any aviation law.
I don't think it does here, or should ever do so. Mr Dao did nothing wrong to contravene aviation law.

Personally I hope he sues UA for millions and enjoys his accelerated retirement. I also hope this is a long over-due wake-up call to an industry that hides behind "it is because of security" whenever it is called to account.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 00:08
  #1015 (permalink)  
 
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ABC reports Delta has a upped the maximum for a denied seat to $9950.
Delta OKs offers of up to $9,950 to flyers who give up seats - ABC News

Stupid move imho, it simply sets off a bidding war among the carriers.
Given the upcoming Senate interest, it would have been much better to work out an industry wide compensation agreement. That would have allowed the industry as a whole to point to a proactive response.
Absent that, I think they are all in the soup, because any inquiry into industry procedures will raise lots of questions.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 00:17
  #1016 (permalink)  
 
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To those posters using this thread to denigrate the pilot work force; PPRuNe is a professional pilots forum, please leave the chips on your shoulders at the door
Pilots enjoy very high levels of public support and esteem. In my personal view, rightly so.

If the public has a beef with airlines, it really isn't to do with the pilots.

Responsibility is rarely a completely black and white issue with a sharp dividing line between zero responsibility and 100% responsibility. The court will decide this. But I expect the majority of the lay public you serve would likely believe the PIC has at least some responsibility for lots of things whenever s/he is onboard. It may be dangerous to think of a problem as "your problem."

Unfortunately the IC part of PIC means pilots risk getting caught up in something they have little direct involvement in. Best way to manage this risk is to be aware and be involved. Otherwise you are potentially at risk by the person who is thinking least.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 00:28
  #1017 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by etudiant View Post

Stupid move imho, it simply sets off a bidding war among the carriers.
Given the upcoming Senate interest, it would have been much better to work out an industry wide compensation agreement. That would have allowed the industry as a whole to point to a proactive response.
Absent that, I think they are all in the soup, because any inquiry into industry procedures will raise lots of questions.
Or the 'industry' could start putting customers first and avoid cartel-esq behaviour. Prices and compensation are on the same coin but different sides.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 00:47
  #1018 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by twb3 View Post
Bottom line is that it's United's aircraft. It would have been far better to deny boarding in the first place than to deboard a passenger, but the incident was escalated by the passenger refusing to leave the aircraft once told that he would not be accommodated on that flight.


I think it will set a terrible precedent if this passenger is rewarded for his behavior. The lesson learned will be that defiance of flight and ground crew and abusive behavior will get you want you want.
Court proceedings will determine if the passenger 'defied' a legal and ethical request or not, and if he is in the right, I hope he IS rewarded for his 'defiance', the carrier really stuffed up the management of this situation by not handling this at the gate, and after a polite approach to pax to voluntarily deboard, the next reasonable step should have been to find alternative means to transport the stby crew.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 03:29
  #1019 (permalink)  
 
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ABC reports Delta has a upped the maximum for a denied seat to $9950.
Delta OKs offers of up to $9,950 to flyers who give up seats - ABC News

Stupid move imho, it simply sets off a bidding war among the carriers. .........

Sounds like a fast track to chapter 11.
Not such a risk for the airline if they stop creating situations which could cause the need to compensate passengers! This will be a good motivator for the staff to get the seating right the first time!
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 03:29
  #1020 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Piltdown Man View Post
DavidReid - I have always respected your opinion. I seldom disagree with you and I'm not going to now. As I said in my last post above, this is not a problem for me, only my company. I also know who pays my salary (and soon my pension).

But I find it interesting that contract law appears to trump any aviation law. Once the victims park their bums they appear to be invulnerable. So being a bit naughty, what is a passenger's status after passing the gate, before getting on board? Clarity is essential as I fly 50,000 people every year and I'd like to know what is legal and what is not.
PM, Your last sentence has me astounded, you are a PIC and you are asking on here what are the legal ramifications.
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