So, is this how air rage starts??

Gotta love reading online discussion forums some days. And today is one of them. This rant about a seat assignment screw-up is rather entertaining, to say the least. The author did go back eventually and delete the content but not before others had quoted it for posterity.


On the plus side, there was one bit of solid advice offered in the 30 minutes the thread was open: Seek downgrade compensation from United. They’re supposed to pay out regardless of how/why you were upgraded if there is a subsequent downgrade. So the ranting party may actually get something out of the deal.

As for the suggestion that the UA agent called the other passenger, well, I’m betting against that for a whole bunch of reasons.

If nothing else, hopefully they also get a deep breath and relax a bit. And manage to avoid the potential air rage incident on Thursday. Fortunately there is plenty of time left for that to still happen.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I’m a firm believer that FT is directly responsible for more than its fair share of air rage (not necessarily accurate in this example but have seen a few posters get kicked off flights because of FT induced delusions).

  2. I personally would be more than happy to “meet” the OP, ok first things first, if the computer “error” gave them first class seats, they had to have been in the upgrade queue at some point, and perhaps the person who took their current seats was a novice or “kettle” as some like to say.

    Secondly, the fact that you are flying what used to be a bereavement fare has nothing whatsoever to do with any other passenger, you don’t have dibs on the seats at all. If United’s seat assignment screwed up, then it’s totally on United , not on anyone who happened to look on the computer and take an open seat when it was available. Screw that lady. There is no “justifiable” rage over a seat against another passenger. If you are disturbed, your issue is with the airline.

      1. The other part I don’t get is why UA called the occupant and “asked” them to take their original seat. If it was a UA computer error, why not just correct it? Move the guy back to his seat and restore the original setup. Why ask permission when the airline is completely within their right and ability to correct the problem and issue new BPs. Very confusing.

        1. I think it is highly unlikely that UA actually called anyone to request a switch back.

          As for fixing it that way, the airlines rarely will do that and I can see both sides of the argument there. The assignments aren’t guaranteed and something happened to trigger the change. Doing it again still leaves you with pissed off passengers, plus likely more headaches in deciding when it is or is not appropriate to make those changes. No fun for anyone.

          1. Having worked as an agent I can tell you we made changes like that quote often when the automated functions “messed up.” And, if all the facts in this case are presented accurately, meaning original seat still available for the “offending” pax, I would have made the change.

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