Ser Scot A Ellison

Overbooking, Flightcrew over paying passengers, the United incident

403 posts in this topic

18 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

I think one of the points you are all forgetting about was, as the prez of United said, the employees were not provided with the training or the flexibility to be able to use common sense. That is likely the root of the problem.

The law says passengers should be offered up to 400% of a one way ticket, with a cap of $1350. Not, passengers can be offered up to $1350.

A one way fare next Sunday from Chicago to Louisville can be had for $200, so $800 meets the cap. If reports are true that the airline had actually gone up to $1000, they probably went as high as they were allowed, an additional 100% of the one way fare.

 

There is no cap on how much an airline can offer for a voluntary bump.  For an involuntary bump, DOT regulations cap airline liability.

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24 minutes ago, Tempra said:

There is no cap on how much an airline can offer for a voluntary bump.  For an involuntary bump, DOT regulations cap airline liability.

I'm not sure what the relevance is of that comment. I would think that the airlines regularly offer less than the maximums set out for involuntary bumping for voluntary bumping. My assumption is that most of the time, people will accept an offer before maximums are hit.

If you read the story about the method Delta uses, you'll see folks talk about the amount they've said they would accept, and they've never been accepted, presumably because they asked for too much.

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14 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

I'm not sure what the relevance is of that comment. I would think that the airlines regularly offer less than the maximums set out for involuntary bumping for voluntary bumping. My assumption is that most of the time, people will accept an offer before maximums are hit.

If you read the story about the method Delta uses, you'll see folks talk about the amount they've said they would accept, and they've never been accepted, presumably because they asked for too much.

In your previous comment, you said, "The law says passengers should be offered up to 400% of a one way ticket, with a cap of $1350. Not, passengers can be offered up to $1350." I pointed out that your statement isn't accurate because there is no cap (per DOT regulations) on how much compensation can be offered to a passenger for being voluntarily bumped.  The cap only applies to how much an airline must compensate a passenger who is involuntarily bumped (thus, airlines are not liable for compensatory damages beyond the capped amount). Not sure how you can miss the relevance of my comment... 

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46 minutes ago, Tempra said:

In your previous comment, you said, "The law says passengers should be offered up to 400% of a one way ticket, with a cap of $1350. Not, passengers can be offered up to $1350." I pointed out that your statement isn't accurate because there is no cap (per DOT regulations) on how much compensation can be offered to a passenger for being voluntarily bumped.  The cap only applies to how much an airline must compensate a passenger who is involuntarily bumped (thus, airlines are not liable for compensatory damages beyond the capped amount). Not sure how you can miss the relevance of my comment... 

Some of the reports said the airline offered $800, which seems to be 4x the likely price of a ticket from Chicago to Louisville (looking at Expedia for next Sunday, so that should be an expensive ticket, just a week ahead). Some reports are saying the airline went to $1,000, which would be 5x the price. Yes, there's no cap on voluntary bumps, I think it's likely airlines have their own caps for voluntary bumps, beyond which they won't go, ie when I said if they did offer $1,000 it was probably as high as the employees could go. After all, once you can't get volunteers, you may as well choose passengers to bump, because the cap is $800 in this example.

Surely no airline is going to keep going up and up and up when they know they can involuntary bump at a set rate. They may be willing to go a bit higher, for the sake of good PR, but there's probably a point which an employee can't go past.

Numerous people keep saying why didn't the airline at least go to $1,350, referring to the highest amount mentioned in the regulations. I doubt the airline allowed the boarding agent the flexibility to go that high. The president of United may have meant the boarding agent should have had the flexibility to go higher, if the 4 crew members absolutely had to get to Louisville, or maybe they should have been able to say to whoever asked them to kick off 4 passengers after the plane had already boarded to say no, sorry, it's too late. ie use common sense.

I just checked to see what a flight would cost 3 months down the road, and the lowest price that shows up is $166, so offers of $800 or $1,000 are 480% to 600% of the ticket price, not shabby offers at all and actually quite a bit above the regulation for involuntary bumping.

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Ok, I just saw a report that said United has announced a policy change - employees must ask at least one hour before a flight's departure for a seat on the flight. As I just said in my post above, give the gate agent the right to say no, it's too late. That way bumping can be dealt with before anyone boards the plane.

And Delta has announced that they are increasing the top amount they will offer for bumping from $2,000 to almost $10,000. They apparently already had the highest amount of any airline with the $2,000. They also have the lowest rate of involuntary bumping, because they pay so much. I assume the higher amounts will be for first class and business class bumping.

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I haven't been following this topic, so this may have come up before, but the BBC Radio 4 programme More or Less did a short feature on this incident yesterday - it's called The Economics of Overbooking

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12 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

" an increase in the intensity or seriousness of something; an intensification "

I don't think you can argue that his refusal to get off of the plane didn't caused the situation to intensify. That moved things to the next level. 

Yeah, I can argue that. Saying 'no' to someone is not 'moving things to the next level'. A direction can be complied with or it can be refused. Both are possible responses when the direction is made, therefore neither introduces a new element: they're implicit in the direction being made. So neither is an 'intensification'.

I'll repeat it for clarity: saying 'no' is not escalating and does not justify the use of force. To argue otherwise leads us down some dark paths.

12 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I actually agree with you for the most part. But the rub here is how else do you get Dao off of the plane if he physically refuses to leave voluntarily?

This is begging the question, as has been pointed out previously by myself and others. The question actually is: if Dao refuses, what do you do next? Rather than: if Dao refuses how do you get him off the plane?, which presumes that the only way to resolve the situation is to remove him. Drop that assumption, and your view of the situation will clarify wonderfully.

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United bumped passengers to seat it's own employees, so this was not a case of overbooking the flight.  When one passenger refused, there was a very simple solution for United.  Put one of its employees in the cockpit jump seat.  The reason they didn't is they didn't want passengers to see them backing down.

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Posted (edited)

Mormont - I agree entirely, but it may just be our euro-commie-ness. Maintaining the status quo ≠ escalation.

It cannot, it would be a complete contradiction in terms.

 

 

Mind, I'm also unsure why there seems to be a thought process suggesting that because Dao felt he was being treated illegally, and so may have contacted his lawyer means that he is at fault and possibly that he deserves it.

Edited by Which Tyler

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1 hour ago, Which Tyler said:

Mormont - I agree entirely, but it may just be our euro-commie-ness. Maintaining the status quo ≠ escalation.

It cannot, it would be a complete contradiction in terms.

 

 

Mind, I'm also unsure why there seems to be a thought process suggesting that because Dao felt he was being treated illegally, and so may have contacted his lawyer means that he is at fault and possibly that he deserves it.

The implication that someone contacting their attorney means they're either up to no good or out for money is, quite frankly, offensive.

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Lol, sorry, Ser Scot, you live in the most litigious society in the world!

We also live in a society where an economist working on math problems was taken off a flight because a passenger thought he was a suspicious person, maybe writing out a plot in that damn Muslim language or some secret code.  I had rather have passengers removed to put a crew on than to have passengers being removed for working on math. :o 

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3 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

Lol, sorry, Ser Scot, you live in the most litigious society in the world!

We also live in a society where an economist working on math problems was taken off a flight because a passenger thought he was a suspicious person, maybe writing out a plot in that damn Muslim language or some secret code.  I had rather have passengers removed to put a crew on than to have passengers being removed for working on math. :o 

Had that passenger contacted their attorney that shouldn't imply there was something sinister in the equation they were working on.  That's what I find offensive.

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I was on a flight last week in the exact same situation--the flight was booked to capacity, but they needed to transport 2 of their flight crew. They asked for volunteers at the gate, offering a later flight and $500 voucher. No takers, they upped it to $1k. No takers, they have us board the flight, still continually asking for volunteers. We all get boarded and seated and they are announcing on the plane's MC. Luckily for us, instead of deciding "fuck these passengers" and dragging anyone off the flight, they upped the offer (finally to $2k voucher and flight the next day) until someone accepted.

One distinction about the compensation too is that (to the best of my knowledge) the $800 being offered was not cash, it was airline credit. I can't find confirmation of this right now, but that has always been my experience. That can be significantly less valuable to someone than cash, especially people that don't fly frequently or people that are currently annoyed at your airline for your flight being delayed and overbooked and so they aren't exactly looking forward to their next flight with you. (The compensation requirements for involuntary bumping as listed earlier in this thread *are* cash mandates.)

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Airline credit is pretty useless because it usually expires in six months and has limitations on use.  I've received credit lots of times for various problems with flights and each time it was used by my employer for my business travel rather than by me because I couldn't get it to work in time for a personal trip. 

And airmiles are basically useless now too.  I spend airmiles to upgrade my family when we fly across an ocean, but the $ upcharge required with the airmiles is more than half of the fare differential.  So you spend all your airmiles to get a very slight discount on a full fare first class seat.  E.g. I bought economy seats recently at $900 each while first class were $1,600.  Then I spent an additional 20,000 airmiles each and $550 each to upgrade.  So overall I saved $150 each in exchange for 20,000 airmiles each.  There are so many billions of airmiles outstanding, especially with all the credit card rewards programs, that the airlines routinely devalue them by changing the terms of what the airmiles can purchase.  It used to be that an upgrade just cost airmiles plus a small fee for taxes and "handling". 

The only reason to show any loyalty to an airline anymore is priority boarding for overhead bin space, and you can get that if you just sign up for their credit card and never fly at all. 

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On ‎11‎/‎04‎/‎2017 at 6:42 PM, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Dr.P,

I'm entirely sympathetic to the passenger regardless of his past.  

I don't believe the flight was "overbooked".  I think, at the last minute United discovered it needed to get a Flight crew somewhere and decided to bump boarded passengers to facilitate its needs.

I'm really curious to find out why United's lack of organization means paying passengers have to make way for flight crew?

I believe this as well. If they had the list of passengers and all of then had boarded on the plane and were sitting.....how can the plane be "overbooked"? It could be overbooked before boarding, and normally many hours before boarding (and thus some passagers would have never boarded). It was all because of the company's ibterests and/or lack of organisation of the company, for not having the crew that had to board on the destination of that flight prepared for that purpose.

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On 4/14/2017 at 6:04 PM, larrytheimp said:

Great that the lawyer panel decided that.  Did they say that the airline had the right to call in police to bloody the guy?  Why are you caping for the airline so hard here?

This isn't about caping for the airlines. I'm simply pointing out things that should be rather obvious yet several people are failing to comprehend them. 

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3 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

This isn't about caping for the airlines. I'm simply pointing out things that should be rather obvious yet several people are failing to comprehend them. 

There appears to be a split regarding whether what United did was "legal" or "obvious".  Hence different experts with different opinions about the legality of United's actions.  

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On 4/15/2017 at 5:31 AM, mormont said:

Yeah, I can argue that. Saying 'no' to someone is not 'moving things to the next level'. A direction can be complied with or it can be refused. Both are possible responses when the direction is made, therefore neither introduces a new element: they're implicit in the direction being made. So neither is an 'intensification'.

I'll repeat it for clarity: saying 'no' is not escalating and does not justify the use of force. To argue otherwise leads us down some dark paths.

It absolutely is if one person has power and another does not. You may not like it, but that's how it goes in these types of situations. 

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3 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

There appears to be a split regarding whether what United did was "legal" or "obvious".  Hence different experts with different opinions about the legality of United's actions.  

Not really. Almost every expert I've listen to has said that United had the right (let's pause for a second and laugh about rights) to request Dao be removed from the plane. And again, it was the airport's security that acted out of line, not United.

I've got a legal question for you Ser Scot. If it was an airport staffer and not a United employee that original requested for security, would that absolve United of any liability? 

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