More info

The flight was operated for United by Republic Airline, which United hires to fly United Express flights. Mr Munoz said four Republic employees approached United’s gate agents after the plane was fully loaded and said they needed to board.

Turn up late then demand to fly. …….

60 comments on “More info

  1. Who flies what is a 4 hour drive? That’s what I don’t get.

    Travel to airport.
    Check in and be abused by security an hour before the flight.
    Possible delays.
    Hour or so flight.
    Getting off the plane and out the airport.
    Drive to final destination.

    Might as well just drive the 4 hours.

    It’s like when I see flights from Guangzhou to Hong Kong and I just can’t imagine why anyone would do that. Maybe all domestic transit I guess….

    Still, there obviously a market for it.

  2. This is merely a natural extension of the police-state tactics that were introduced to the airline industry following 9/11: simply cite “security” and the door is open for police brutality of the sort normally seen in places like Africa or South America. The fact they were prepared to do this in full view of the public shows how blase they have become about this sort of thing. I am glad the public were outraged and videoed it. The obvious answer is to ban videos on planes, of course.

  3. Next week I’m flying from my Brisbane office to Bundaberg. Drive time to my hotel is 4h 43m according to Google maps. I don’t live in Brisbane so would have to pick up and drop off a hire car so around about 5h in total.

    I’ll leave my office about 1h 30m before flight, quick glass of red in the Business Lounge (not travelling business, using status), 55m gate to gate flight, 10m to grab bag (small regional airport), 25m to hotel, total time 3h. I reckon 2h less travelling time each way is worth it. Flying is generally pretty relaxed in Australia, might feel different if it was the USA, have been there in 15 years.

  4. Turn up late and demand to fly? Well, that’s how it works, even with passengers. Have a flexible ticket in an expensive booking class? Just turn up. Every airline let you board and will bump someone with an inflexible K (bargain basement fare) without thinking even once.

    But usually the K passenger will get money (relative to their ticket a lot of money) and it will always be done before boarding. Dragging people off planes, even if you are legally entitled to do so, is dreadful PR.

    Oh – and dead-heading crew always beat everyone in the “I’m getting on board” stakes.

    @Dongguan, not everyone wants to (or can) drive 4 hours. If you want to drive Guangzhou to HK you need a car with four numberplates instead of two, which not everyone has (or wants to pay for).

  5. @Tim Newman: “The fact they were prepared to do this in full view of the public shows how blase they have become about this sort of thing.”

    I suspect the resulting PR nightmare might have concentrated minds somewhat for the future.

    They are just lucky he was Asian – if he’d been black, the BLM protesters would be shutting down airport terminals all over the US…

  6. If it was a choice between driving for four hours and avoiding BA, I’d be in the car quicker than you could say ‘express check in’

    I’ve flown Norwegian and Swiss and Aegean in the last two months. All fine.

    I’m never flying BA again

  7. I never have bad experiences, even with RyanAir. I mean, they’re Shute but they cost peanuts. BA stewardesses could do with being fitter.

  8. DocBud – “Next week I’m flying from my Brisbane office to Bundaberg. D…. I’ll leave my office about 1h 30m before flight”

    They don’t insist you turn up 2 hours beforehand? Australia seems to be on to something.

    My rule of thumb is that any distance less than London to Edinburgh is worth driving. But then I like driving.

  9. Hmmm, maybe I was too hasty thinking United would back down over the bad PR.

    From the ‘Evening Standard’:

    “…in a letter to his employees, Oscar Munoz, chief executive of United’s parent company, defended the action taken.

    Mr Munoz claimed the passenger had “raised his voice and refused to comply” when crew members explained he was being denied a seat on the plane.

    He wrote: “He was approached a few more times after that in order to gain his compliance to come off the aircraft, and each time he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent.

    “Our agents were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight. He repeatedly declined to leave.

    “Chicago Aviation Security Officers were unable to gain his co-operation and physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist – running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials.”

    Mr Munoz told staff: “While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.””

    Errr, OK!

    “United spokesman Charlie Hobart said: “We followed the right procedures. That plane had to depart. We wanted to get our customers to their destinations.””

    Actually, didn’t you prioritise your staff over your paying customers?

  10. I never have bad experiences, even with RyanAir. I mean, they’re [shit] but they cost peanuts. BA stewardesses could do with being fitter.

    At least RyanAir and Greasyjet know they’re shit. BA is just as shit, but seems to think it’s a premium service.

  11. SMFS,

    You have to check in at least 30 minutes before domestic flights in Australia, I could probably leave about an hour before the flight but then would stress if traffic was bad and I’d miss my glass of red.

  12. BA is basically a fly pension scheme and the passengers are an inconvenience who should be grateful just to be in the presence of the frumpy old bats and homosexuals crewing the flight.

  13. Mr Munoz claimed the passenger had “raised his voice and refused to comply” when crew members explained he was being denied a seat on the plane.

    He raised his voice? Meaning he was pissed off? How unreasonable! Send in the armed thugs!

  14. Dongguan John – “BA is basically a fly pension scheme and the passengers are an inconvenience who should be grateful just to be in the presence of the frumpy old bats and homosexuals crewing the flight.”

    Testify! Actually I don’t mind the flamboyant. They do the job quite well although the status of my hepatitis vaccinations does cross my mind every other time they give me a drink.

    But there is really a benefit in having young, pretty Asian airline hostesses. Not merely because they are usually cheerful and pretty – even under stress. But because they are not embittered and contemptuous.

    When the rules were changed to make airlines prioritise their frumps over their customers, the airlines were basically done. Unless the EU can force everyone else to adopt the same a-frump-ative action policies, these airlines must fold.

  15. Thing with BA is there is almost always a better alternative, particually internationally, that is also vastly less likely to be cancelled due to strikes.

    Who actually flies BA? I did once or twice and now avoid it like the plague.

  16. Thing with BA is there is almost always a better alternative, particually internationally, that is also vastly less likely to be cancelled due to strikes.

    That alternative is most certainly not Air France. I’d rather take a rowing boat to Dubai and then fly Emirates than take them long-haul.

  17. I recently took Turkish long haul. And it was just fine. Except the staff were, being generally Muslim, not particularly drinkers. They’d not therefore quite absorbed the idea that when someone says they want gin they mean now please, and be back in 10 minutes with a refill. The aim is to get that buzz and then slow down, not have 3 gins over 90 minutes.

    A very minor complaint to be sure but…..

  18. That alternative is most certainly not Air France. I’d rather take a rowing boat to Dubai and then fly Emirates than take them long-haul.

    LOL, took them to Guangzhou a couple of times. Learned my lesson in the end. Have one good story from them mind, at GZ departure lounge this French air steward was trying to buy cigs but he didn’t have the boarding pass or whatever was required because he was staff so I helped him out using mine. He ensured my drink was topped up all the way to CDG.

    It’s probably a good idea to avoid any airline with a western nation’s name in it. I flew from Guangzhou to LHR with Malaysia not long after they lost the 2nd plane in 2015. £1600 return business upstairs on the A380 (KL-London leg). BA would have been about 3 times the price.

  19. My worst BA flight was Seoul to London about 20 years ago. The cabin crew (partly Korean) were rubbish, and the only thing that kept me sane was views of a snowy Siberia – seeing a frozen Ob and then the Urals rising suddenly out of the plains like sharp teeth was quite interesting. I’ve only flown BA a couple of times in the last few years – we got an upgrade to business LHR – SFO a few years ago and the flights Gatwick to Heraklion & back last year were OK – perhaps a step up from Ryanair.
    I’ve flown Norwegian within Norway, and to Tenerife recently and I’m impressed – enough to book them Gatwick to Oakland later this year.

  20. Who flies what is a 4 hour drive? That’s what I don’t get.

    It’s possible there were people doing the return leg of a Louisville -> Chicago -> somewhere else flight.

    I live an hour or so from Albany “International”, and a good two hours from the NYC area airports. NYC traffic is always dreadful, and only mildly less bad if I were flying out of Newark, so if I flew on a regular basis I’d seriously think of only using Kennedy for the direct flights to Europe.

  21. Mr Munoz claimed the passenger had “raised his voice and refused to comply” when crew members explained he was being denied a seat on the plane.

    What is galling is he wasn’t being denied his seat. He had been granted his seat and was sitting in it before being evicted from it by the company thugs.

  22. Sky-candy wise, Qantas, Virgin, Emirates, Malaysian and Singapore are all good IME. Continental were all terrible old trouts in the days when they still flew. BA used to be good, but I’m going back years – I used to fly out of LHR back home when at boarding school in the UK and the stewardesses used to beer me up once I looked remotely old enough. I was lucky enough to fly LHR to Bahrain on Concorde – they were classy girls.

  23. Is it just me or has America turned into a sort of semi-fascist State nowadays? When exactly did this happen?

  24. Interested,

    Never flown Malaysia, otherwise agree with your list. Would throw in Air New Zealand, Cathay and Qatar.

    Back in South Africa days flew Air France, SABENA (such a bad experience never again) and TAP (take another plane), never flown with any of them again. Won’t fly BA internationally, but the internal South African BA flights (former Comair) are pretty good, used them maybe half a dozen times in recent years. Mind you, I’m talking domestic business, wouldn’t fly economy in South Africa.

  25. Who flies what is a 4 hour drive? That’s what I don’t get.

    You can fly from Luton to Manchester. What’s that, 170 miles? Bonkers.

  26. Back when I was flying the Atlantic a lot, BA was vastly preferable to any of the US airlines. Particularly on the overnight flights JFK to London: they understood that business customers wanted to eat – preferably before take-off – then sleep.

    The worst airline I’ve even flown with was Air Lanka.

  27. ‘The flight was operated for United by Republic Airline’

    One of the reasons for outsourcing is plausible deniability when there is trouble. The market ain’t buying it. UAL down -5.62% in premarket.

  28. “Is it just me or has America turned into a sort of semi-fascist State nowadays? When exactly did this happen?”

    Semi? No. The government is unrestrained.

    Frog in the pot of water. It started in the 1960s. The press pushed the government into taking action on issues. The debates in Congress were over whether or not something was a good idea, losing sight of whether the government had the right to involve itself.

    This clumsy action by United will result in MORE government regulation. People LIKE fascism. They see a problem, they want government to take action. Even though, in most cases, it’s none of the government’s business. No member of Congress wants the press to report that they just don’t care about _______.

    Polar bears, for example. Polar bears are doing the best they ever have now, yet government is taking action “to protect” them, action which will be harmful. Speak out against stupid government action? “You just don’t care about polar bears!”

  29. The most colourful airline we’ve used was Ethiopian Air Lines. We liked the goats.

    The most recent was Air New Zealand (recommended).

    I have a Kiwi friend who always flies to London via Singapore: he simply won’t visit the US if he can possibly avoid it.

    I used to enjoy Suckling Airways with its handy route Amsterdam – Cambridge – Manchester.

    It was a few years ago, but I must say that LAX coped well with a disabled member of our party. So did LHR.

  30. Indulge me: I’ve invented a word for the sort of people who perpetrated this airline outrage – farceholes.

    I hope it enters into general use.

  31. refused to comply

    Yeah, it’s that kind of language which puts me off rushing back to the US.

    I hope this does a Ratner for United.

  32. BTW I have never had a bad flight with BA. I don’t bother with them long-haul any more but I’ve flown around Europe for very low prices with them and found it more civilised than Easyjet etc.

    Would still use them if they were the cheapest.

    @Dongguan John – was Malaysian any good? They have some good offers from HKG

  33. > You can fly from Luton to Manchester. What’s that, 170 miles? Bonkers.

    I’ve done similar: Stansted to Manchester. I was coming back to the UK from somewhere on the continent (can’t for the life of me remember where, but it obviously didn’t have direct flights to Manchester); and it was a choice between train+tube+train with luggage through London, or just mill around the airport for a couple of hours for a flight to Manchester. Needless to say, the flight was significantly cheaper than the train. Driving wasn’t an option as my car was parked at home (or I didn’t have a car back then, can’t remember).

  34. BTW I have never had a bad flight with BA. I don’t bother with them long-haul any more but I’ve flown around Europe for very low prices with them and found it more civilised than Easyjet etc.

    In the same way that minute steak is better than spam.

  35. Being a contractor in the oil business as well as living in both Europe and Asia for personal reasons I’ve been with lots of carriers.

    Etihad I definitely recommend for price / performance. I currently use them on Edinburgh -> Abi Dhabi -> Kuala Lumpur -> Penang and they are great value. My return with them cost £536 which is great and much cheaper than the more direct routes with Singapore and Malaysian.

    Singapore Airlines were exceptional, but their price is now above their relative value, they were asking about £800 for an economy return from London to Singapore that others were delivering for £600 or so.

    As regards British Airways, pretty much the same as everyone else, contemptuous and patronising staff who think they are special because they BA. At least with Ryanair and EasyJet they know they are “cheap and cheerful” and act like it.

    Malaysian are okay, but have seen better days. The loss of two airliners in quick succession has broken them though and senior managers don’t seem to know where to take the airline nowadays. The fact that they have abandoned their A380’s is telling.

    Still, Malaysian occasionally has great bargains into and out of Kuala Lumpur, so happy to fly with them if the opportunity arose.

  36. Needless to say, the flight was significantly cheaper than the train.

    This is another problem with the UK, I frequently do the North / South run from Edinburgh to one of the London area airports and despite how long I plan it in advance I rarely find a situation where it is cheaper to travel by rail than to fly there (for example my trip in May the flight was £100 return with Flybe versus £137 with Virgin Rail).

  37. I hate Etihad, they’re alright in the air, but Abu Dhabi is a nightmare. Getting back through security (why the hell can’t these airports keep you airside?) feels like the black hole of Calcutta, you shuffle along a narrow corridor with people who have no concept of queuing. The priority lane is visible in the distance, but there is no priority means of getting to it. When you finally get back through security, you get to the business lounge to find it is heaving and finding a seat is difficult. Another potential problem is that security insists that you can power on all portable devices otherwise they can be confiscated, so don’t let the phone or tablet battery drain on the flight inbound.

    Emirates are more efficient getting through security and the lounges are huge. Doha is empty and the lounge has plenty of room. We’d no more fly Etihad again than BA.

  38. was Malaysian any good? They have some good offers from HKG

    It was almost two years ago and was good: Flat bed, attentive staff and I slept most of the way quite soundly. Couldn’t complain.

    However, Mr Galt above says they’ve abandoned their A380s so I dunno what their other aircraft are like.

  39. Abu Dhabi is a nightmare. Getting back through security (why the hell can’t these airports keep you airside?) feels like the black hole of Calcutta, you shuffle along a narrow corridor with people who have no concept of queuing.

    Admittedly there is truth in what you say about Abu Dhabi being essentially one massive corridor. They seem to have plenty of space out there in the desert, so I’m not too sure why they have such long, tedious and cramped access corridors.

    I usually go straight from arrival gate to departure gate without any meandering, but it is quite a trek and there is a lot of security theatre, though they are polite and deal with elderly passengers very well unlike the American TSA who behave like the guards at Auschwitz.

    I used to do the London to Asia leg as a 12 to 13 hour single flight, but it simply became too much for my body to handle.

    Having the break at Abu Dhabi means that I end up only flying for about 7 hours maximum on each leg and quite frankly having a decent walk at Abu Dhabi is something of a relief. Obviously your mileage may vary.

    However, Mr Galt above says they’ve abandoned their A380s so I dunno what their other aircraft are like.

    Malaysian Airlines have traditionally viewed themselves in direct competition with Singapore Airlines and the purchase of the A380’s was in line with that viewpoint.

    However, since the attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the disappearance of flight MH370 their numbers and reputation have tumbled and they are well aware that the airline is on life support.

    They have abandoned the A380 (at least 2 of which are sat on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur) and the remaining ones still flying are only doing so until they are replaced by A350-900’s later this year and early next. The A380’s will be leased to other carriers as soon as possible to ease the airlines problems.

    Being the Malaysian flag carrier (in the traditional sense), Malaysian Airlines will always be bailed out by their government, but even the Malay’s are getting sick and tired of continual problems at Malaysian Airlines.

    There is a move to essentially turn the entire company over to Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes who is the owner / operator of Air Asia, which I suspect would be best for both passengers and employees. I doubt it would happen without further crisis though, as it would be an admission of failure by Malaysian Airlines and the Malaysian government.

  40. I wouldn’t touch any of the European legacy airlines. They are all run for their staff. Wife and I have decided tthat we will never fly BA again (despite being Silver Card holders) following an appalling service LHR-Lisbon-LHR last weekend which finally persuaded her to accept what I have been pointing out for years.

    Worst experience of the lot was Lufthansa Frankfurt-Buenos Aires, First Class. As an example, felt peckish eight hours into the flight and poddled back to ask for some nuts or crackers. Was ordered back to my seat and told in a Teutonic shout, “tea vill be served in two hours!” Seems I had disturbed their siesta. And that was First Class.

  41. British Airways were never great, but they have gone from decent but over-priced to shit and over-priced.

    They are literally a budget airline that charges a premium for shit attitudes and poor service.

    I don’t know of anyone that still flies with them. The last international flight that I took with them was Business Class from London to Singapore in 2004 and even then it was only because I was booked and paid for by the company I was contracting with.

    British Airways may appear to be an airline, but in reality it is just a slightly animated corpse.

    Won’t somebody do the decent thing and just bury it once and for all so that it can be consigned to the history books?

  42. Worst experience of the lot was Lufthansa Frankfurt-Buenos Aires

    I’ve had an appalling experience with Lufthansa too, and avoid them if I can help it. Unionised staff who know they are unsackable.

  43. I’m a little surprised to hear the down votes for BA.

    Getting into Austin TX from Europe is a pain. You can fly through any of the traditional hell holes – Dallas, Houston, NY, Chicago (or for a better experience, surprisingly, Detroit). At each one yo go through the traditional warm welcome America reserves for those daring to traverse its borders, then you have to rush to try to recover your baggage, and take it through customs, and then give the damn things back to the airline, then rush to your gate.

    But then BA opened up a direct LHR-Austin flight. The service is (at worst) no worse than any major US airline; the food occasionally has a decent chicken curry; and has the advantage of not flying into France and not being Air France. You still have to go through the welcoming arms of the American state, but it’s just one planeful of people and you get to keep your luggage and take it straight home.

  44. But then BA opened up a direct LHR-Austin flight. The service is (at worst) no worse than any major US airline; the food occasionally has a decent chicken curry;

    So even at their best they are mediocre? Excellent example of damning with faint praise.

  45. JG/DJ – thanks for Malaysian advice!

    Not sure if it’s advice or a warning. Malaysian is a complex and evolving picture.

    There are bargains to be had with Malaysian, but I would always book with a credit card so that in the event of financial failure the credit card company has dual liability*

    * – Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, credit cards must provide protection for any purchases above £100 and below £30,000.

    http://www.moneysupermarket.com/credit-cards/guide-to-credit-card-protection/

  46. Admittedly I haven’t been to the states since 2001, but prior to that, an affected English accent seemed to get the female customs staff wetting their knickers.

  47. Admittedly I haven’t been to the states since 2001, but prior to that, an affected English accent seemed to get the female customs staff wetting their knickers.

    America is a wonderful country with lots of places that I would love to see and very friendly people.

    But their government is completely FUBAR’ed and to say that CBP / TSA are unwelcoming is an understatement of gigantic proportions.

    Quite simply I won’t spend my hard earned money where I am not welcome and having rude, threatening and invasive attitudes all in the name of security theatre is pretty high on the list.

    Security is one thing and scanning of hold baggage, hand luggage and passengers is understandable given the genuine threat of terrorism.

    Being groped or irradiated is not.

    Don’t touch my junk bro!

  48. Flying west from UK means using a legacy airline and it is never great. Flying east means using newer middle eastern or far eastern airlines and it is usually great even in economy.

    All in all legacy carriers with older staff and huge pension liabilities are flying corpses. If it were not for the fact that open skies doesn’t really exist from EU into US the European carriers would have been wiped out by real competition ages ago.

    The fact that United choose to deplane a paying customer forcefully rather than by increasing the payout is actually a good thing as it shows they are aware of the need for cost control. It is also, simultaneously, a terrible thing as it shows the contempt they hold their passengers in. That is never good. At least this isn’t false outrage like the lady who claimed she wasn’t offered a full can of coke as she was a Muslim. I have already seen the first Guardian article on “flying whilst Asian” as if the random draw picked the Asian chap because of his ethnicity. Someone somewhere will always be offended and most likely they will write for the Guardian.

    On a side note. Flew Qatar business class into Singapore a while back. Lovely as a treat when they had an offer. Am using an Amex 241 and a bunch of avios to go to Brazil in BA first next year with my wife. BA First = Qatar business from the looks of it. Have to return in BA business class though. Won’t complain though as beats BA economy!

  49. Last time I flew to the UK (2012) I flew with BA. They were OK. The reason why I chose BA was that my mother was dieing and BA issued me with an open return. I actually had to extend it for a second month (trivial cost). That was a very helpful feature. Thanks BA.

  50. United lost $1 billion at one point today.

    Why can’t Joe Schmo schmuck like me take bets on this? 4% per day annualised….

  51. “Why can’t Joe Schmo schmuck like me take bets on this? 4% per day annualised….”

    Surely you can via a CFD or traded option account?

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