Business Class Passenger Stuck Sitting On Hard Plastic, Gets Nothing Back From American [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Even with a huge pandemic staff turnover, the culture remains. You see this on Southwest flights, not on other airlines.

  • I’ll never understand the airline belief that they’re entitled to keep a customer’s money even when they do not provide the service that was purchased. A customer is only entitled to transportation even when you sell them a business class bed? Ok, keep the coach fare.

  • Pro-tip: look inside the seat back pocket in front of you before shoving in laptop.

  • There are so many things that are great about Japan. How about wheelchair travel on Japan Airlines? “Why is it made of wood ❓🤔 This is so that you can pass through the security checkpoint smoothly! 🦽 Made of birch wood, Because it is completely non-metallic, it does not react to metal detectors.”

    Click through the link in the tweet, translate the page, and you’ll see the various kinds of wheelchairs they have for all sorts of situations.

  • How a Small Airline Hacked Together Its Own Fleet of Dodge Neon Airport Baggage Tractors (HT: Hans)

  • New Delta Sky Club in Minneapolis opens April 19

  • More than you wanted to know about insured sweep accounts. It always struck me as odd that so many startups kept their money in individual accounts at Silicon Valley Bank, over the FDIC limit and at zero interest, and weren’t at least asking for an insured sweep account (which should pay ~ 4.5% now..) offering FDIC coverage up to $10 million or even $150 million depending on the bank.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I feel like I’m missing something on the aa business class bed to Seoul tweet. The customer mentions they’re sitting on hard plastic and “wedged uncomfortably when sitting up” but the photos seem to show the seat stuck in a semi recline. A broken seat is not what the customer paid for, granted, and perhaps the customer is one of the few business class passengers that enjoys having their seat upright during a 12 hour flight, but I don’t see any hard plastic, just a seat with working cushions that is stuck in semi recline.

  2. Minor point about the SVB link at the bottom – in fact, SVB was paying startups around 4.5% APY on those checking account deposits. They definitely weren’t zero-interest accounts.

  3. @MaxPower. I think what happened was the passenger wanted to sit up, not lay down, and thus with the seat in semirecline he ended up leaning on the plastic shell in the back for “support.”
    I would tend to think that a refund of the difference between the (allegedly) 12k fare paid and the least expensive coach fare at the time of purchase is due to the consumer. Although I wonder if 12k was the r/t fare. But yeah, that’s not acceptable. (This is why when I purchase premium fares, I always screenshot the cost of the carrier’s cheapest coach fare for the same flights.)

  4. Every Air Canada flight has a deflated business class seat. This is luxury in comparison

  5. Always screen shot the description of the seat when purchasing the ticket. Usually a business class seat on a flight like this will specifically list a “lie flat” seat in the description of the product. If you can prove that “lie flat” was what you paid for and can also prove (via video/photo, witness affidavits, etc…) that the seat did not lie flat, that would be a pretty solid case for a credit card dispute/charge back. Not much the airline can do, if they offer a specific product and do not deliver it, regardless of their policies. Credit card companies have policies, too. And, one of them is that you get your money back, if the product you paid for was not delivered.

  6. America West executives probably filmed the dude in a plastic seat and giggle to it at the beginning of every board meeting.

  7. Singing to passengers before/after/during a flight!?

    Yuck, that kinda c*$p is a huge part of the reason I do everything in my power to not fly Southwest.

    That and the asinine seating & boarding policy.

  8. Unfortunately, many seniors that work those flights still do not understand how to manually override the seat automation to bring it into a lay flat or upright position. More often than not, there’s usually something in the runner preventing the seat from moving due to the small motor that cant crush a pretzel debris (or whatever it is). But with the manual override switch and assistanve from a colleague who can give it some elbow grease, 9/10 I can get those back to working order.

    Even as a passenger on the JS when a seat in J is “broken” and placarded, I will take a looksie, and more often than not, fix it by forcing the seat to run over and crush whatevet debris is in the runner that is preventing it from working.

  9. In January I flew in the front cabin for 9 hours from Chicago to Honolulu on a $4500 United ticket and my seat would not recline at all. The flight attendants tried for 15 minutes in-flight to get it to work but failed. I was offered 10,000 mileage plus miles as “compensation.”

  10. Ticket contracts give airlines lots of leeway on compensation for this kind of stuff. We booked United business class award tickets home from Nice with a connection in Warsaw, both legs on LOT in November. First leg was fine. Flight out of Warsaw delayed so daytime flight was now an evening flight. We were finally transferred to very remote part of airport. I assume a plane swap. Somewhere a few days before the flight my DH’s seat (2-2-2 config) was changed and he was moved to a row behind his original seat. Had trouble getting boarding passes in hotel for return flight so only had them on my phone – did not notice the seat change until just before boarding. Figured it was only a row behind, so same seat. WRONG. The plane had 3 rows, and his row 2 seat was now occupied by a very big man. My DH’s row 3 seat was totally non-adjustable. as was the seat next to him with a paying LOT frequent flyer. Who knew such a seat could even exist in business class. I knew better than to argue with man now seated next to me. Purser said we should have been informed about the seat, which we were not, and she put this in her report. Immediate tweet to UA and lots of follow up with UA and LOT once home. UA gave me and DH each 5K miles and said it was not their problem since LOT was the carrier. LOT said he flew in business class so it wasn’t a downgrade despite the seat having fewer adjustments than a coach seat. . After several rounds, they offered a discount on a future LOT ticket good for a year. No thanks. Tried again, was told that was all they would do and sorry if you aren’t satisfied.

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