As I said, everything United does will be suspect now

An engaged couple were removed from a United Airlines flight to Costa Rica on Saturday, as the airline remained under scrutiny following outrage caused by a video last week of a passenger being forcibly removed from a flight.

Seriously, everything trivial:

The statement from a United spokeswoman said the airline offered the couple a discounted hotel rate for the night, and rebooked them on a Sunday morning flight.

But Michael Hohl and his fianc, Amber Maxwell, told KHOU they tried to pay for upgraded seating and were denied, after finding another passenger sleeping across their seats when they were the last to board.

After moving within the economy cabin a few rows up, flight crew denied their request to pay a supplement for the seats, which United sells as “economy plus”, and told them to move back to their original seats, Hohl said.

“We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat,” Hohl told KHOU. “We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”

10 comments on “As I said, everything United does will be suspect now

  1. Why didn’t they or the crew simply wake the sleeping passenger up? It’s not as if said passenger was going to be allowed to lay across multiple seats come take off.

  2. Dunno, Clarissa. Was he airline staff? Was he diverse? Was he too big and nasty-looking to disturb? Was he an air marshall? (Do they still have those?)

  3. Yeah this makes zero sense. Why would they be removed from the flight rather than just waking up the sleeper and telling him to shift his arse. Or even if for some reason or another they couldn’t do that there were these empty economy plus seats that it would be sensible to put them in rather than bumping them from a obviously not fully booked flight.

    Something is missing.

  4. According to United, “these passengers repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating which they did not purchase and they would not follow crew instructions to return to their assigned seats”. According to the bloke, that’s not so.

  5. Presumably their error was in moving seats prior to take-off. If they had simply waited until the plane was in the air, they could have hopped up to Premium Economy and no ground cops would have been involved.

    Otoh, if I were a paying Premium Economy passenger, I’d be peeved to find that I had to pay extra whereas others were getting upgraded for free.

  6. I don’t know what size of plane it was but I know that on the smaller ones, they get very peeved if you move before take-off, even into another seat in exactly the same class, because of the balance calculations (although they don’t weigh you, so it can’t be that important – and if you check in online, they have no idea at all whether you are Svelte Simone or Billy the Bloater!)

    Also, I’ve never tried to pay for an upgrade after check-in, but I don’t suppose that the cabin crew have the means to price or take payment for upgrades. It’s usually hard enough paying them for stuff they are trying to sell to you.

  7. Plenty of airlines will sell you an upgrade (if available) after boarding. Since cabin crew are probably on commission, they’ll be delighted to assist – you’d need to sell a lot of sandwiches to earn as much as a seat upgrade.

  8. “. . . because of the balance calculations (although they don’t weigh you, so it can’t be that important – and if you check in online, they have no idea at all whether you are Svelte Simone or Billy the Bloater!)”

    This is a pretty good indication that the ‘balance calculations’ don’t actually happen at all.

    Worst the pilot does is fiddle with the trim tabs.

  9. No idea about balancing calcs for small modern aircraft, but when seating passengers in a DC3, you load them from the back row then forwards. If you do this the other way round, you can put too much weight ahead of the main landing gear under the wings (a DC3 being an old design has a tail wheel rather than a nose wheel), and tip the aircraft on it’s nose.
    Once airborne, it probably doesn’t matter a great deal where passengers sit.

    Iirc for the same reason, cargo breaking loose and sliding forward (thus shoving the nose into the ground) during rough landings has resulted in some accounted for a number of crashes of Dc3s and similar era aircraft.

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