United passenger threatened with handcuffs to make room for higher-priority traveler

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    theguru's Avatar
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    United passenger threatened with handcuffs to make room for higher-priority traveler

    This is a separate incident.

    It’s hard to find examples of worse decision-making and customer treatment than United Airlines having a passenger dragged from an overbooked plane. But United’s shabby treatment of Geoff Fearns, including a threat to place him in handcuffs, comes close.

    Fearns, 59, is president of TriPacific Capital Advisors, an Irvine investment firm that handles more than half a billion dollars in real estate holdings on behalf of public pension funds. He had to fly to Hawaii last week for a business conference.

    Fearns needed to return early so he paid about $1,000 for a full-fare, first-class ticket to Los Angeles. He boarded the aircraft at Lihue Airport on the island of Kauai, took his seat and enjoyed a complimentary glass of orange juice while awaiting takeoff.

    Then, as Fearns tells it, a United employee rushed onto the aircraft and informed him that he had to get off the plane.

    “I asked why,” he told me. “They said the flight was overfull.”

    Fearns, like the doctor at the center of that viral video from Sunday night, held his ground. He was already on the plane, already seated. He shouldn’t have to disembark.

    “That’s when they told me they needed the seat for somebody more important who came at the last minute,” Fearns said. “They said they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me.”

    United passenger threatened with handcuffs to make room for 'higher-priority' traveler - LA Times
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    United is a joke.

    I'm sure we'll hear them defended again though...

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    I asked if he’ll ever fly United again.
    Fearns could only laugh. “Are you kidding?”


    United is going to take a big financial hit from the two incidents. People will take another airlines to avoid these kind of situations, even though this could and does happen on other airlines.

    Our recent airline experience. We flew AA to Charlotte last week and sat on the runway for about 40 minutes. We missed our connecting flight to Sarasota by 5 minutes. There were 4 of us. The AA staff was able to get us on another flight about 2 hours later. Three of us were supposed to sit together on the original flight to Sarasota, but on the new flight I was put in 1st class(no complaint from me) but the wife didn't like that the other three seats were spread out all over the plane. She(and I agreed) felt like we all should have been put in 1st class due to the inconvience. There were 7 other open seats in 1st class.

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    Completely different set of circumstances and I'm not sure if LEGALLY there was an issue with him being/staying on the plane like there was with the other situation (having to get a flight crew to Louisville), so he might have had more of an argument (depends on what the fine print says). It seems United may have also asked for volunteers first instead of just kicking someone off the plane, or maybe should have made the guy who wasn't on wait for another flight or inconvenience him with coach since he was a later arrival for the flight and other passengers were already on board. So seems to me there may have been some better options available to settle this. However, the guy made the RATIONAL decision to disembark and get on another plane, still making his destination, though probably not quiet as pleasant a flight.

    The kicker for me here is that United evidently wasn't even going to reimburse him the first class ticket difference until he issued a formal complaint through a lawyer, which is insane, and offered him a very minimal compensation for the hassle he was put through. Horrible customer service/relations all the way around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigVMan23 View Post
    Completely different set of circumstances and I'm not sure if LEGALLY there was an issue with him being/staying on the plane like there was with the other situation (having to get a flight crew to Louisville), so he might have had more of an argument (depends on what the fine print says). It seems United may have also asked for volunteers first instead of just kicking someone off the plane, or maybe should have made the guy who wasn't on wait for another flight or inconvenience him with coach since he was a later arrival for the flight and other passengers were already on board. So seems to me there may have been some better options available to settle this. However, the guy made the RATIONAL decision to disembark and get on another plane, still making his destination, though probably not quiet as pleasant a flight.

    The kicker for me here is that United evidently wasn't even going to reimburse him the first class ticket difference until he issued a formal complaint through a lawyer, which is insane, and offered him a very minimal compensation for the hassle he was put through. Horrible customer service/relations all the way around.
    To United these two cases are exactly the same. You have a seat, we want the seat back, you have to give it to us or else...

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    Quote Originally Posted by theguru View Post
    To United these two cases are exactly the same. You have a seat, we want the seat back, you have to give it to us or else...
    Ultimately it's the same outcome, but still a different route. My point though is the Etown Doc flight had FAA rules that applied and something was going to have to happen. This example I don't know what the legal ramifications were or if FAA rules come into play of not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigVMan23 View Post
    Ultimately it's the same outcome, but still a different route. My point though is the Etown Doc flight had FAA rules that applied and something was going to have to happen. This example I don't know what the legal ramifications were or if FAA rules come into play of not.
    The way I understand it, and I admit it isn't clear, is the common practice of the Airlines is to take any seat they want, any time they want, and if you refuse they will use force to accomplish it.

    This is why we need an Airline Passengers Bill of Rights.

    We have Corporations able to use Government force to increase their profits and that is wrong, a million times wrong.

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    United Airlines sucks

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    Quote Originally Posted by theguru View Post
    The way I understand it, and I admit it isn't clear, is the common practice of the Airlines is to take any seat they want, any time they want, and if you refuse they will use force to accomplish it.

    This is why we need an Airline Passengers Bill of Rights.

    We have Corporations able to use Government force to increase their profits and that is wrong, a million times wrong.
    Corporations use the government all the time.

    From nascar races to movie theaters or NFL games...local police, sheriff's deputies and state police are used.

    In this case, was it the government or private security?

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfback20 View Post
    Corporations use the government all the time.

    From nascar races to movie theaters or NFL games...local police, sheriff's deputies and state police are used.

    In this case, was it the government or private security?
    I would say any security force at an International Airport ultimately falls under the Jurisdiction of the Federal Government so, "What is Government?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfback20 View Post
    Corporations use the government all the time.

    From nascar races to movie theaters or NFL games...local police, sheriff's deputies and state police are used.


    In this case, was it the government or private security?
    Sure, all the time. Corporations hire Police Officers for private security details but in every case the Officers are limited to their statutory powers granted to them.

    So here were are again, what does the law say about a non-violent paying customer on a plane that refuses to give up their seat? What law is being broken? What is the policy for handing the violation of that law? Who is able to enforce that law? What amount of force are they able to use to enforce that law? And so on and so on...

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    Add the guy that got stung by a scorpion on a UA flight lst week to the mix. It's been a bad run for them.

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    So scorpions can fly for free, but passengers have to have their faces beatin in to fly.

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    I will be flying United. Seats will be very cheap since everyone is refusing to fly with them.

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