Date: Jan 23, 2012 Comments:
From: Christine Marshall DDS, Belfair
Complaint categories: employee incompetence
Resolution attempted by: complained by email, contacted the DOT
Legal/threats: legal threat, consulted a lawyer, filed a motion
Can be resolved by: refund, other
I am a dentist in Washington state. On December 8th, 2011, My husband and I flew United Airlines from Seattle to LAX to attend a dental conference in Santa Maria, CA. We have a husband/Wife Family owned small dental office and travel to education classes frequently. On our connecting flight #6451 from LAX to Santa Maria, at 11pm, my husband Dave, who has long curly beautiful hair, was asked to leave the plane 5 minutes after we sat down, by a flight attendant, AND that he should bring his bags with him, while the engine was warming up. After about 5 minutes, a flight attendant told me that I was free to continue on my trip, but that my husband had been banned from the flight to Santa Maria because the flight attendant suspected that he had been drinking alcohol. I told her that I absolutely refused to leave him in Los Angeles and got off the flight. I asked to speak with someone in management and the flight attendants told me NO. My husband and I asked many times for the actual reason that he was removed from the flight and was told by the same flight attendant that asked Dave to get off the plane, IT IS NOT UP FOR DISCUSSION. When we asked for the name or employeee number of the person who had made the complaint against Dave, the flight attendant said I WILL NOT TELL YOU DUE TO MY PERSONAL SAFETY. Airport Security was called by United due to us asking too many questions about why he was pulled off the flight. At this point, Dave asked the airport security to give him a field sobriety test to settle the matter. They did, giving him a thorough examination. Airport Security then told us that Dave was not intoxicated, and as far as they were concerned he was able to fly, but since United would not let him back on the flight, the officers took us to a rental car business and told Dave that he was in perfect shape to drive us for 4 hours to Santa Maria. Luckily we had the 400 dollars that it took to rent the car at LAX for the weekend or we would have missed the dental conference completly. To add insult to injury, the rental car business did not have a drop off in Santa Maria so we were forced to drive the 4 hours back to LAX, on 12/11/11 to drop off the car. When we checked in at the United Counter in LAX for our return flight #5588, we were told that all outbound flights under my name had been cancelled. When we asked why, the United Counter did not know. They reinstated our flights home to Seattle from LAX, but I was feeling pretty nervous whether they were going to honor the ticket that I had paid them for. Nothing was said by me or the check in counter person for United about the previous flight, but I just kept quiet in case I would make a reason for them to pull us off that flight too. We were only an hour late for the 2000 dollar conference dental conference and although we did attend the conference, we were extremly tired. I contacted Expedia, the booking agent, and they were nice enough to respond with a very polite generic response about how it is not their problem. United has not responded as of yet and it has been almost 2 months. I am taking United Airlines to court for the cost of the plane tickets and the cost of the rental car. I am also submitting the bill for the conference since United disrupted our plans to get to the conference within a reasonable time.