26 July 2010

United Flight Kicks Off Passengers Who Paid Least for Tickets

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

So now you can get bumped for being cheap with your money??? What is up with that??? A weight restricted flight causes a denied boarding situation and a situation that could scare many passengers into not flying or at least being extremely selective when and who they fly. 

Here is what happened in the words of one of the passengers and i added a few comments and they are in Italics.

What happens when a small United Airlines flight from Burlington to Washington DC oversells its cargo capacity and ends up with a weight problem? Well, when this exact thing happened today for @brucepoontip's flight, the gate agents announce that the passengers who paid the least for the flight will be removed.

How unfair! But even more—how embarrassing, to be punished for scoring a deal perhaps months in advance when someone who paid top dollar the day before gets to remain on the plane. Then you're stuck back in the terminal, without a guaranteed flight for another two days and no hotel allowance from the airline.

So if you shop the airlines for a low priced fair you give yourself the open chance to be bumped from a flight because you were penny pinching! Is this the next wave of new things on the horizon coming from the airlines? I hope not but anything is possible these days!

This is why Twitter sometimes becomes a priceless tool for customer service. Bruce, Founder of Gap Adventures, began tweeting the drama:

United Airlines Service. Just announced they have a weight problem and have to remove 20 ppl in order of how much you paid for your ticket!

...and continued to relate the ridiculous actions of the United crew:

So uncomfortable with United Airlines removing families and older couples who bought cheap tickets. Sad frankly.

I've now missed my connection in Washington but they said they can only guarantee me a flight out in two days! I can't stay here two days!

[Gate agent] said if we don't get two more [volunteers to get off the flight]... I am going to get a list of the last people that checked in! All passengers sitting nervously!

We managed to reach Bruce via Twitter during the drama to ask about the mood of the kicked-off passengers, and he responded:

It's funny, there is no anger really. People are embarrassed. [The gate agent] has announced that you will be thrown off based on how much u paid. "Thrown off the flight!" What kind of customer service is that considering that is not how you handle a denied boarding situation!

To see the entire series of tweets about this drama, check out @brucepoontip. We can happily report that United is now reviewing the mess, as their @UnitedAirlines customer service finally noticed and responded to the situation. It will be very interesting to see if anything comes of this. Nightly news?

This is a black eye for United even though this was an express carrier and not main line United. It sounds like inexperience played a major roll in this even and lack of tact if nothing else. This is definitely not the norm and even though I haven't seen any follow up info I hope at least that the denied passengers were compensated. When I talked to Bruce just after it had happened via Twitter he said that they were not compensated at all but just put onto a later flight. Hopefully united makes a mends with the little incident!!!

Remember to Be Proactive Not Reactive and enjoy your Flight!!!


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