United Airlines just told me “We Don’t Force People out of their Seats…”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware of United Airline’s mishandling of recent situations with Dr. Dao. In case you actually HAVE been living under a rock, feel free to reach about that incident here.
I just booked a flight on United Airlines for a client who has an ADA covered disability. Because of that, we needed to sit in the bulkhead for more leg room. Most airlines block certain seats for customers with disabilities, and even then, they’ll try and accommodate passengers as needed.
From United’s own website:
Seating accommodations for customers with disabilities
We’re happy to assist our customers with disabilities in securing a comfortable seat that best fits their needs in the same class of service. We highly encourage customers to submit their request more than 24 hours in advance of the scheduled flight. We’ll do our best to accommodate requests for travelers who have a disability and one or more of the following:
- Need assistance accessing the aircraft with the use of an aisle chair
- Have difficulty moving over a fixed armrest and need to be seated in a row with a moveable aisle armrest
- Travel with someone who assists you during your flight and you would like adjoining seats
- Require extra legroom to accommodate a disability
The problem? The bulkhead seats were already requested by another passenger. We don’t know if that passenger has a disability that requires them to sit there or not, so I asked United if they could check the reservation, or perhaps call the client on our behalf. This has happened to me before, as I’ve received a call from an airline asking if I wouldn’t mind moving seats because of a client with a disability. At this point, the agent said to me:
No, we’re not going to call that client, that’s not United’s Policy. You’ll have to try your luck at the airport, ask nicely, and see if that person would be willing to move their seat for you. We don’t force people out of their seats here at United…”
I’m sorry, do you realize what you just said? Need I remind you?
Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), certain airlines are required to provide certain seating accommodations to qualified passengers with disabilities who self-identify as needing to sit
in a certain seat in order to better accommodate their disability-related needs.
So, it doesn’t look like United is following these rules, or even trying to accommodate. I guess we’re going to have to try our luck at the gate, and if they won’t move, I’m not opposed to the court of public opinion as I shame that passenger into moving their seat.