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Old May 29th, 2007, 04:36 AM
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Default Another chapter in the "Don't Fly with Kuki" serie

Now, honest, you can't make this stuff up!!

We had cleared all security at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport (known world wide as probably the most secure airport in the world), and we had boarded our Air Canada flight bound for Calgary, via Toronto.

Shortly before departure time, the Captain announced everyone must be in their seats before we could leave, and I heard yelling in the cabin behind us, and turned to watch a truly "typical little old man" screaming at a flight attendant. He was being quite unruly, and everyone was staring trying to figure out what was going on. Several different flight attendants tried to get involved in the "discussion", but the situation seemed to be escalating. Next think, I look back and see a "little old lady" (presumably the man's wife) sitting in the aisle refusing to move, and yelling as well.

This went on for about a half hour past our scheduled departure time, until security was called. The first couple of security officers didn't seem to be making any headway, and suddenly we had about a dozen security officials filling the aisles.

Ultimately these two "old folks" were removed from the airplane. And then we had to wait longer until their luggage was removed. What caused this ruckus and delay of a full flight????
The elderly couple boarded early with those needing assistance, and sat in seats which weren't their assigned seats. When those with the seats assigned arrived the couple wouldn't move, and the old man was threatening people around him with his cane if anyone touched him or his wife who was sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle. Several people had offered to move their seats, but at this point nothing would appease, or quet this couple. Quite bizarre!!!


I commented to Mrs. Kuki that likely the son to soon be getting the phone call that the parents he thought he was "shipping off" to a relative in Canada was going to be getting very depressed.

Fortunately this time we had enough time in Toronto to make our connection home. I'm not sure about others.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 05:12 AM
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jeez! what a commotion! why didnt the people whose seats the couple had taken just sit in the couples unoccupied seats? those people could have saved alot of commotion over something that i feel is no big deal. i dont know how long the flight was though or if there were unknown factors at work (ie window seats vs aisle). i cant help but wonder if this couple does this on a regular basis so that they can get the seats they want?! scary thought! what airline was that again? i will have to make sure to avoid that one!
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Old May 29th, 2007, 07:42 AM
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You certainly do somehow attract those "memorable" characters to you.
Glad you made your connections - I'm sure some on your flight were not so lucky. You had such amemorable trip - glad you had something equally exciting awaiting you at the end of it.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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don't knwo abouyt you, but my seat assigment is VERY imprtant to me on a long flight. I don't want to be stuck in a middle seat on a 777 with kids all around me. That is a LONG flight.

Kuki said the couple boarded first and took the seats they wanted and then refused to move - sounds like they do it in every flight they are on to me.

Amazing what people will do - they deserve to be barred from flights all-together - unless there things we don't know.

I was recently on a flight where they overbooked by about 100 people. I had a ticket with a seat assignment, but when I heard that, I admit I boarded early (not first, but with section '2"). I got on & sat down, but other people walked on and were looking around - finally the captain said " fOLKS, WE ARE OVER BOOKED BY 100 PEOPLE, IF YOU SEE A SEAT, SIT IN IT AND LET'S GO." The lady next to me had paid for business class, and was in a middle seat in coach, she was furious.

Did you read our article on how bad air travel is these days? That is the problem. Overbooked flights everywhere.

http://cruisemates.com/articles/consumer/air52107.cfm
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
jeez! what a commotion! why didnt the people whose seats the couple had taken just sit in the couples unoccupied seats?
I believe they just wanted the couple to simply move across the aisle to seats in the same row, so a family with kids could sit together. Lots of people nearby tried to accomodate them, but in the confines of packed airplane I guess it wasn't as easy as it sounded.
With the time they took trying to reason with this couple, I'm sure they were trying to make something work.
PLUS I'm sure with a 12 hr flight ahead the crew didn't want an "unstable situation" to arise mid flight. God only knows what may have happened if they didn't like their meal

The flight was on Air Canada, if it had been an El AL flight (Israeli airlines) they may have shot them
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Wow, What a story!! I agree with Paul though, when buying airline tickets, you always consider the seats, obviously this elderly couple didn't care for those, but to just take anyone's is not right and should of been removed from the flight. I don't blame the flight crew at all. I was in a simular situation once and we had to make an unscheduled landing to remove an unruley couple. Some people don't care about others, and thats sad.

Glad you made your connecting flight and are now home, that was a long trip.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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Geez Kuki, remind me to never fly with you!
What a story. Your life sure is never dull. I'll bet tempers were flared all around after that ruckus! Glad you made your connecting flight home.
Is it still cold in Calgary? We heard Calgary had snow on the weekend!

donna
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:49 AM
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These days, every flight I take has some kind of a problem with it, especially overseas. The worst is late & cancelled flights. I haven't had a trip without one in years now.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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Paul,

No question air travel these days is like a short prison sentence. I've been spouting off after every flight I've taken for the past several years....if cruise lines treated their customers like airlines do they'd go broke (as I suppose many of the airlines would without government support).
Air travel is the evil necessity of getting somewhere, and service is no longer a word that even enters into the airlines vocabulary. And none of that has anything to do with security programs getting to your gates.

If someone was on a cruise, and experienced "airline level service" for even two or three hours, they'd be writing letters to the cruise line, for some reason consumers give airlines a pass.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Well, Kuki must be on that special computer list that's complied by the airlines. . .you know, the one called "Let's really stick it to this guy."

Are the Canadian airlines still subsidized by the government? Those days are long gone in the US, of course. Here, airlines are perfectly free to go broke, and do so with some regularity.

Once, after Terry had a particularly bad trip home after a trade mission to Beijing, she aptly described flying as an excercise in the survival of the fittest. And this was something like 20 years ago. But she was right then, and the description still applies. On that particular trip, weather caused her plane from Beijing to be diverted to Portland when San Francisco was fogged in. The problem was that everything else coming across the Pacific was going to Portland as well, and customs couldn't handle the overload. As a result they were forced to sit on the plane on the ramp in Portland for eight hours after a flight from Beijing. No amount of pleading by the pilots could convice the bureaucrats to let them off the plane (a full 747), even when there was no more water and the toilets were backed up and overflowing.

Once off the plane, she still had to fly across country, and it took all of her savvy as a frequent flyer to snag a standby seat on the redeye to Chicago. Brutal stuff.

I'm no apologist for poor service from airlines--Lord knows there's plenty of that. But Kuki, for all the difficulty that you had on your flight, none of it seems to have been the fault of Air Canada. Unreasonable people get on flights every day on every airline and have to be dealt with appropriately. Seems like the crew went out of their way to be reasonable with them, then finally did what they had to do. Same thing with Terry's flight from Beijing, it was horrible, but it wasn't the airline's fault.

And, of course, you'd probably be the first to admit that comparing airlines to cruise ships is invalid, even on an airline's best day, past or present. Airlines are fundamentally transportation; cruise ships are fundamentally vacation destinations that happen to move. Again, that doesn't excuse poor service, but there is a big difference.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 02:09 PM
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Welcome home Kuki! Somehow even with all of your adventures you always make it back. We love the stories, but I'm sure it isn't fun for you.

Phyll
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Old May 29th, 2007, 08:39 PM
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Well, Kuki, you certainly don´t want to fly with me. I always manage to screw things up...

On my last flight back from England, I really embarassed myself. The flight was delayed. I wandered through the airport and finally heard that my gate was cleared. About 2 minutes later they announced final boarding call. I sprinted off, saw the sign for gate 7 with an arrow pointing down a flight of stairs, and rushed down. Two security officers greeted, frisked and escorted me back up the stairs. In my rush, I oversaw the ticket clearing thingamabob . At the top of the stairs I had to show my passport, explain myself, and listen to the announcement that there had been a yet again a temporary delay.

To make matters worse, the people waiting at the front of the line to board were all colleagues of my husband !
Fortunately my reaction saved me. I looked at everyone and said I had a Bridget Jones moment. Everyone involved laughed and I now have the nickname "Bridget." When we arrived in Hamburg, the flight attendant even joked and said "Bridget, that means you can get off the plane, too."

When I got home, I called my husband to let him know I got home and he answered with "Hi, Bridget!" Glad I was able to turn a completely embarassing situation around!

karen, who never seems to have an uneventful flight...
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Old May 29th, 2007, 08:49 PM
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Paul: OMG, if I were that lady who booked business and got coach for a long flight, I would have been very angry!!!!!!!! I've been hearing so many horror stories. In a couple of weeks, we fly to Seattle with two connections.....I'm keeping my fingers crossed that our bags arrive with us and we make all the flights.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Are the Canadian airlines still subsidized by the government? Those days are long gone in the US, of course. Here, airlines are perfectly free to go broke, and do so with some regularity
Not necessarily subsidized, but there's almost always been guaranteed loans, restructuring programs for what seems like eternity. I believed, though I certainly could be wrong, that similar loan guarantee programs existed in the US.

Quote:
I'm no apologist for poor service from airlines--Lord knows there's plenty of that. But Kuki, for all the difficulty that you had on your flight, none of it seems to have been the fault of Air Canada.
No question, the situation I described was NO fault of the airline. In fact they seemed to be bending over backwards to resolve the situation.

Just when the discussion turned to airlines, it reminded me of just about every other flight I've taken the last couple of years

Certainly most airline business (or the part they rely is on) is business travel, but for many of the us, the flights are a necessary start and end to our vacations.... so it can make a significant impact. What irritates me the most I think is that they don't even apologize when they screw up. It seems it's become part of their business, and then when they get you to your destination they say "Thank You for choosing....." and the hair on my neck stands on edge
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Old May 30th, 2007, 02:39 AM
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the family could have had their kids sit on the couples laps since that was their seats. i bet they would have moved then!

i have only done a long flight once (twice if you count return flight). of course we had to transfer planes in new york and had to run to make our flight. unfortunately our luggage didnt quite make the flight and instead it took the scenic tour to portugal via germany! thank goodness we had extra clothes in our carry ons. our luggage finally caught up with us about 2-3 days later. the airlines stuck it in lost and found and noone seemed to have the key. as for our return flight home... both us and the luggage missed that connecting flight. we wound up hanging out in the jfk airport for a couple of hours and lucky for us they were able to squeeze us into the last flight out for that night otherwise we would have had to either get a hotel room or just pull up an airport chair and set the alarm clock for the morning.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 10:26 AM
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Kuki--

The bankruptcy laws down here generally allow for the restructuring of debt to pospone payment, and in some cases eliminate some of the liability. So, while it isn't a government bailout in the direct sense, I guess you can argue that it's a rough equivalent. But these "benefits" aren't just available to airlines; they apply to any business--or individual, for that matter--that goes into bankruptcy.

In fact, the few US airlines that have not gone bankrupt over the last 15 years or so have complained loudly that those who have are, in some cases, doing it simply to gain a market advantage. That's because the bankruptcy laws allow corporations to do all sorts of things that wouldn't otherwise be legal--like abrogating contracts with vendors and employees.

You're not supposed to use bankruptcy as a business strategy, but it's pretty clear that's what some airlines have done. Of course, there are also downsides to doing it, the most obvious of which is that the courts step in and closely monitor your business practices.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 01:00 AM
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I hereby vow never to fly with Kuki or Paul ... NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!

Sorry guys for all your problems.

Seems like Air Canada should have kicked that couple off a lot earlier - obvious trouble makers who would probably continue to be all the way home. I like the thought that El Al would have shot them.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 04:52 AM
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ya know kuki i hope that your luck doesnt extend to cruise ships! i am cruising with you for my first cruise.... since your luck seems to be like mine..... together on the same ship.... hope it doesnt sink!
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Old May 31st, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki
PLUS I'm sure with a 12 hr flight ahead the crew didn't want an "unstable situation" to arise mid flight. God only knows what may have happened if they didn't like their meal

The flight was on Air Canada, if it had been an El AL flight (Israeli airlines) they may have shot them
That's where the airline mishandled things, as far as I'm concerned. If a flight attendant asks you to do something (within reason, of course), you do it ... period. If this couple had refused to move, the airline should have just had security guards remove them from the flight. No muss, no fuss ... manhandle them if necessary.

I don't think the airline should have handled these people with kid gloves for so long. Sure they are elderly and you try to reason with them ... but only for so long. After that, you remove them and the flight takes off.

Just my opinion.

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Old May 31st, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazysis
the family could have had their kids sit on the couples laps since that was their seats. i bet they would have moved then!
I was on a flight once where the airline switched out to a smaller plane at the last minute. Guess there were too many empty seats on the larger one? Lots of passengers were very upset because they were no longer sitting together ... because of the seating configuration of the smaller plane and the fact that kids must be seated with their parents.

But, hey ... that's the way the cookie crumbles. As long as you get a similar seat to the one you booked ... i.e., business class or coach ... aisle or window ... what's the problem? Sure, it's nice to sit next to your spouse or your friend, but the bottom line that has me on that screaming metal tube is to get to where I'm going ... and to get there in one piece. I can spend all the time with my spouse or friends that I want to once I am there.

Blue skies ...

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Old May 31st, 2007, 06:25 PM
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I was at DFW yesterday in the International Terminal for "the" airline there. Luckily I was not trying to go anywhere just trying to get my sister on an airplane. Due to weather problems there were massive cancellations. People were desperate to change tickets and get on other planes to their destinations. The lines were long and tempers were short. The First Class line had 4 or 5 agents working and no people in line at all. Plenty of agents to help anyone who happened to walk up needing to change their ticket. The line for the Main Cabin was 50 - 60 people deep. There were 3 agents working and no Passenger service people at all. We finally just walked outside, called the airline on the telephone and booked her on a flight this morning. I pity those people who did not have that option. Service has gone down the drain, once they have your money forget it, you might get where you want to go if they get around to finding you a aircraft, a seat and you might just get some warm water to drink if you are lucky!
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