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kicked off continental flight for asking to change seat

 
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  #1  
Old Apr 12, 2009, 4:56 PM
siegel1210 siegel1210 is offline
 
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here is a letter sent to continental after our experience. I believe this says it all. I would be interested in knowing of any similar experiences. thanks.
To whom it may concern at Continental Airlines:
PREFLIGHT
I was recently a passenger on a flight (1568) returning home from phoenix to Cleveland, ohio on April 7th. I was traveling with my 8 year old daughter and I feel the need to reiterate an experience that we had that was beyond any experience I have EVER had. I would like to preface this story by telling you that I have been a VERY loyal continental customer for many, many years and have flown many miles with your airline
I recently booked a round trip flight on continental going from Cleveland to phoenix and back. Knowing that I have a child that suffers from chronic motion sickness and for whatever reason, ALWAYS does better sitting closer to the front of the plane, I asked at the time I made the reservation to try to put us towards the front part of the plane. My flight reservations were made well ahead of time and, given that I had sufficient miles, even attempted to upgrade using those miles. In an attempt to make this happen, I made many, many, many calls to continental prior to both flights as I was instructed to do so to check on this availability. During these many, many exhaustive calls, often with very long hold times, one thing became very painfully apparent: The telephone agents handling these calls either all have different training or they are so poorly trained, they fail to provide accurate information. IN THE 45 + calls I made to these agents, I was given different or more accurately, conflicting information no less than 75% of the time and when I commented on this, the response I got was, “well I don’t know why that other person told you that”. I retell this story to you only to paint a full picture as to why I am even writing to you. So, on the outbound to Phoenix, at the airport, we were able to move up to row 5 (behind 1st class) which was more than adequate and we had a very pleasant flight.
Prior to my return flight (I started calling about 48 hours before the flight), and again, I had made several phone calls to contintental regarding changing our seat assignment as I had again initially requested closer up seats. When I printed my first set of boarding passes for the return flight home we were assigned seats in row 22 D/E and then when having to reprint the boarding passes our seats on row 22 were no longer listed, but we had been moved back to row 26 D/E. I again called continental and was told that “the flight was very oversold and that whatever boarding pass I had that was where I had to sit” but was also told to keep calling which I did, ad nauseum. After speaking with more than 25 phone agents (this is no exaggeration) and again being told inconsistent information each time I called, I decided to wait and check the seat situation upon arrival at the airport (This was suggested by the last agent I talked with over the phone).
Upon arrival at the gate, one of the agents indicated that there were now in fact, 2 seats available in first class, but the coach section was “completely overbooked” so they would offer 1st class seats to elite, passengers first, which made sense and that gate agent was actually very nice and tried to help. I then asked if any closer up seats became available if there was any seat shifting to please try to move us. We then boarded the plain and went to our seats in row 26.
Up to this point, there was not one piece of the conversation that was either unpleasant or inappropriate (no profanity, no raised voices…nothing) however, I did indicate to the gate agent prior to boarding the plane and did so in a rational, calm, and most appropriate tone of voice, some frustration over what seemed like being given many, many different stories depending on who I talked with and no one agent seemed to know what was going on and I was consistently dismissed as though any thoughts I had were trivial and since we had already paid for our ticket, there was ZERO compassion or attempt to work with us, even given the extenuating situation with my 8 year old.
RETURN FLIGHT #1568 FROM PHOENIX TO CLEVELAND
After boarding the plane, we went to our seats, loaded our things into the overhead bin and put our seatbelts on. As the flight attendant walked by, I did ask her one last time, if, after all passengers were on board and there were any open seats closer up, if we might move up and her response was, “are you unhappy about something?” My response to her (again in a low, calm, non disruptive tone) as my dtr was sitting next to me and in plain sight, holding a barf bag in her hand was, “yes, actually I am not thrilled with having to sit way in the back of the plain due to my dtr’s issue with motion sickness, which is why I inquired about a possible closer up seat“. The flight attendant just looked at me and walked away. We remained in our seats and the next thing we knew, another flight attendant came up to us and said,
“WE NEED YOU TO COME WITH US AND LEAVE THE AIRCRAFT!!” I looked at her stunned and asked why and her response was, “IF YOU DON’T COME WITH ME, I WILL HAVE SECURITY ESCORT YOU OFF THE PLANE!!”
I was completely flabbergasted, my daughter was screaming and crying because she was terrified, I had no idea what was going on in addition to being terrified myself as I have NEVER had a situation like this on any flight or any other time in my life. We were humiliated and embarrassed in front of the entire plane as we were shooed off the plane like criminals.
I still am unable to find adequate words to express how completely humiliated, embarrassed and horribly we were treated by your airline staff. There were two other passengers (one on the plane and one right by the door where we were escorted off the plane) who witnessed the whole interaction and not only said something to me, but the gentleman outside the plane who witnessed the way the woman gate agent spoke to me and my 8 year old (I am going to get her name and report her) and he also said to her, “you heed to stop being so sarcastic to them”. I am not going to disclose these witnesses names, but I have been given their names and will not hesitate to pursue their offer to assist me).
My dtr and I were able to get on another two flights to finally get home 13 hours after the start of our travels and not without SIGNIFICANT trauma for my innocent 8 year old daughter. For the next two flights, my daughter, a very well adjusted, confident child, was totally panic stricken and cried for at least a few hours and was terrified to get on another plane saying incessantly, “please don’t make me get on another continental plane” and “you promise me we don’t have to fly continental again”. She sat in her seat holding herself because she wouldn’t even ask to use the bathroom for fear of being kicked off the plane. She has been psychologically damaged by the way she was treated by your airline personnel. I say this not only as a mother, but also as a licensed psychologist and a registered nurse. HOW DARE Y0U TRAUMATIZE NOT ONLY MY INNOCENT CHILD, BUT ME AS WELL AND HOW DARE YOU FEEL JUSTIFIED IN TREATING PEOPLE IN SUCH A DISRESPECTFUL, INHUMANE AND UNJUST MANNER JUST BECAUSE YOU OVERBOOK YOUR FLIGHTS AND CANT ORGANIZE YOUR PASSENGER SEATING.
I have not yet decided what direction I am going to turn with this situation, as I will wait to see what restitution your airline will make to rectify this situation. I plan to take care of my child and follow up with any post traumatic stress counseling she may need as a result of this horrible situation. I will not have her completely terrified to fly again because of how she was treated by your airline personnel.
I would appreciate a response to this email either via email or via telephone at 216-526-5367.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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  #2  
Old Apr 12, 2009, 9:00 PM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
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I would definitely be interested in Continental's response. Frankly, something just doesn't sound right in your complaint. Sounds a bit overly dramatic on one side and part of the drama left out on the other.
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  #3  
Old Apr 12, 2009, 11:33 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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I think you have a legitimate complaint about the way in which Continental handled a relatively simple request, and you should pursue this element. However, if your daughter is suffering Post Traumatic Stress disorder to such an extent that she requires counselling over this event, there are serious underlying issues which already exist. No child should require such clinical intervention over such a minor incident, and frankly, she seems unprepared for the normal day-to-day trials and tribulations of normal life. We have an obligation in life to prepare our children for life.. are you sure you are doing this? There are elements of somewhat obsessive traits in your actions as her mother. To make 45+ phones calls over this relatively minor issue on the outbound flight and 25+ phone calls on the return flight betrays an obsessive pre-occupation with your child's discomfort when flying beyond all reasonable measure to the seriousness of the situation.

This is no way suggests that Continental are in the right. It would have been relatively simple, early on, for Continental to address this need by ensuring that she was either pre-booked early during one of your many calls, or set aside the seating which is reserved for those with special needs. However, I strongly suspect that whilst you may think your actions were entirely reasonable and did not justify Continentals behaviour, you presented to them in a very different way to the way in which you perceive you presented yourself. I base this on your post. You may think this post outlines how reasonable you were and how unreasonable Continental were. In fact, your post presents you as neurotic and unreasonable... you should reconsider if you think it is in your child's best interests to present this "drama" and a crisis of such proportion that she is in need of Post Traumatic Stress counselling. Vietnam, 911, Iraq.. are events of this magnitude. Being asked to leave a flight because a Flight Attendent was upset with you is not, I am afraid, of the same magnitude and your suggestion that it is, is franky ridiculous.
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  #4  
Old Apr 12, 2009, 11:45 PM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
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When you book a flight on Continental's website and check seating, you will note that seats toward the front are blocked. These seats are reserved for elite access passengers; however, I see no reason why Continental would not give you two of those seats as a "special needs" passenger. That would be a legitimate complaint.

However, as Jim stated, and I stated before (although not nearly as eloquent as Jim), you definitely sound like you may need help with some personal issues.
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  #5  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 4:14 AM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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First of all, it is not a right to be moved up in seats for comfortabilty and pleasure

Your extremely obsesive and overwelming, after 45+ calls it becomes too extreme and much and if you keep getting to the same point than it may be a hint that there is nothing or very little that they can do. And what it there are other passangers with the same problem as you? should they be moved just for you?

I think it is outragous how your daughter got ptsd from this experience, your looking for the worst in a minor situation. It was probably put into her head from you and your behavior, set by example.

“yes, actually I am not thrilled with having to sit way in the back of the plain due to my dtr’s issue with motion sickness, which is why I inquired about a possible closer up seat“. People dont want to have any problems on a flight and the attendants probably percieved that and maybe your tone was a little out of line, and your not looking it in a two sided perception.

For someone to get PTSD from this small minor issue is completly whack and unbelievable. And if your daughter is so confident and so forth than this wouldnt have effected her in any way shape or form. This happens frequently and on many airlines.

My girlfriend who has PTSD and motion sickness also has a legit reason (assault) had no effects from a flight in which we had more issues than on yours. We were on a flight from NY to Singapore connecting in London, a 21hour flight, and we missed our connection due to a delay from a malfunction....the flight attendent wasnt too helpful talkin bout how she is missing her bday party and so forth. We ended up stayin in a hotel for the next flight in which it was in a dodgy area. And on the return flight from london to NY the attendents were worse on the second leg and seemed like they just wanted to get off the plane.
Those are just the quick basics since im not gonna go into detail...if you wanna read more than check out my complaint on the other airlines section.

For my gf to go through all of that and not have any issues from it shows that your story is blown way out of proportion and that your looking for excuses. By the way on Singapore Airlines we were sitting 3rd row from the back on the A380 the new double decker and she was absolutly fine.

So your daughter either had pre-existing conditions or your scared her and put those feelings in her head, a minor problem such as that in no way can result in PTSD unless the psychologist gives out disorders left and right without researching

Just to let you know my girlfriend and I are going back to Singapore in August to stay with my family

....sorry very long
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  #6  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 4:37 AM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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forgot to mention......if it was such a big problem than why didnt you just ask 2 passangers further up if they wouldnt mind switching and explain your situation and im sure they wouldnt have a problem

also after taking child psych, personal psych, and other psych classes in college/university it seems like your child is unstable and it could be due to home expericences
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  #7  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 5:10 AM
siegel1210 siegel1210 is offline
 
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OK, here is the deal.
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  #8  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 12:49 PM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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whats the deal?
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  #9  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 1:43 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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We are all waiting to find out the deal... can't wait!
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  #10  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 2:08 PM
pattis pattis is offline
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Quote:
Upon arrival at the gate, one of the agents indicated that there were now in fact, 2 seats available in first class, but the coach section was “completely overbooked” so they would offer 1st class seats to elite, passengers first, which made sense and that gate agent was actually very nice and tried to help
Ok you say the gate agent was kind and helpful, then a few paragraphs down you say:


Quote:
I still am unable to find adequate words to express how completely humiliated, embarrassed and horribly we were treated by your airline staff. There were two other passengers (one on the plane and one right by the door where we were escorted off the plane) who witnessed the whole interaction and not only said something to me, but the gentleman outside the plane who witnessed the way the woman gate agent spoke to me and my 8 year old (I am going to get her name and report her) and he also said to her, “you heed to stop being so sarcastic to them”.
There was nothing written in between that caused this jeckell / hyde reaction on said gate agent. Just curious....I tend to think like others on this board......PTSD? C'mon be realistic.
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  #11  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 2:08 PM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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"I have not yet decided what direction I am going to turn with this situation, as I will wait to see what restitution your airline will make to rectify this situation"

In case you do go to any legal process if your not satisfied with continental than i would prepare yourself

It is much harder for the individual and your daughter to go through than you expect, their lawyers will get deep, ask hard and possibly mean questions, scare you, probably make your daughter see at least one of their psychologists, and sometimes it is worse than the situation that got you into the case in the first hand, making you relize everything and so on...

if your daughter couldnt make it through a few hours of flying and than come out with PTSD than i have high doubts that she would be able to make it through any kind of legal hearings, as they are more strenuous and etc.
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  #12  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 2:10 PM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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and if your daughter doesnt have PTSD than that is just very low on your part and have no form of sympathy from me and im sure others, dont use it as an excuse to try to get money out of the situation, and if she does have PTSD it was from a prior event which has nothing to do with the airline
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  #13  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 4:32 PM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
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I Can't Wait To Read About "the Deal!"
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  #14  
Old Apr 13, 2009, 5:39 PM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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i really hope she gets back to us soon, i am very interested

unless we have found out her plan to scam so she wont reply, but lets wait and see
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Old Apr 13, 2009, 11:03 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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She is lost for words...
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  #16  
Old Apr 14, 2009, 5:08 AM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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i think something fishy is goin on wither her, very sketchy
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  #17  
Old Apr 23, 2009, 3:47 AM
airforcewife airforcewife is offline
 
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I can't say that I understand where you're coming from but if someone has been in your situation, they can certainly understand it. I didn't see anything you were wrong with. I feel that Continental is very rude and whoever they have online answering their complaints is rude also. I've only read one post where someone was very rude and I was ****** just reading it. However, I'm sure you'll never fly with them again, I know I certainly won't. My husband is deployed and if I'm able to talk to him tonight, I'm going to tell him about this crap. Stick with airlines that work with you - that's the whole point.
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Old Apr 23, 2009, 3:56 AM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
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Originally Posted by airforcewife View Post
I've only read one post where someone was very rude and I was ****** just reading it. However, I'm sure you'll never fly with them again, I know I certainly won't. My husband is deployed and if I'm able to talk to him tonight, I'm going to tell him about this crap. Stick with airlines that work with you - that's the whole point.
If you're judging Continental based only on this person's complaint, then I'm afraid you had better consider Amtrak.
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  #19  
Old Apr 23, 2009, 4:00 AM
airforcewife airforcewife is offline
 
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I'm considering this person's complaint because it can happen to anyone. When I called tonight I was put on hold for so long I ended up hanging up. Guess you don't have a life when calling Continental. You must work for them - I surely don't expect you to understand.
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Old Apr 23, 2009, 4:28 AM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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airforcewife i just read your complaint about continental airlines......you cant base one event and say that the whole airline is terrible and that everyone who works for them is out there to get people and **** them off.....besides im pretty sure the people you talked too were different from the people the complainer talked to

you came into this complaint biased against this airline already so you came in with a one sided point of view and couldnt decifer what was right and wrong.....like you came to bash on them

oftenly people overreact and exagerate the situation......also many people see rudeness at different views, one person may think that a person is very rude but others may think that they are just being themselves and not being rude, just because the dont say thank you ma'dam have a nice day doesnt mean they are being rude

if they truely are being rude than its different

and unless it is way overthe top and effected you for a period of time than there is no reason not to fly the airline again.......book online or through a agent, not through the airline directly, get on the plane and everything will be fine, its not like the person will be sitting next to you for the flight going on and on and on........you wont have any problems if you book and check in online and have minimal contact
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  #21  
Old Apr 23, 2009, 1:20 PM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
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Originally Posted by airforcewife View Post
I'm considering this person's complaint because it can happen to anyone. When I called tonight I was put on hold for so long I ended up hanging up. Guess you don't have a life when calling Continental. You must work for them - I surely don't expect you to understand.
Dang...I've been found out. Yep...I started working for them after Delta fired me for causing passengers to suffer PTSD.
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  #22  
Old May 3, 2009, 12:14 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Still waiting...

If the OP has nothing more to add then I have some additional information. As we all suspected the original post was far from the whole story. If you'd like additional details feel free to PM me.
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