United Airlines customer service

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by JOhnH, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route

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    The Man and Woman would produce two boarding passes, each carrying a kid. (in this story there was a 1-yr old and a 2-yr old as I understand it)

    The third ticket was for the teenager that went on a previous flight.

    So, if you produce two boarding cards the plucker would assume two lap seats and your in. The third seat, having never been checked in, would be eligible for reissue.

    But more to your point - I'm not saying he intended to defraud the airline. I'm saying his is an *******. My evidence of that is the video of his ass in the chair talking about his rights.
     
  2. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In that case - 2 tix and 3 seats for mom, dad, one lap kid and a former lap kid that never had a ticket in the first place..
     
  3. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    The 2-yr old had a ticket as he was required to have. Lap kids have to be UNDER 2 years old.

    They purchased four round-trip tickets for their family of five. Dad, Mom, 18yr old, and 2yr old. The 1yr old was flying as a lap child and was appropriately registered, as required, on one of the parent's reservations.

    On the trip to Hawaii there was an empty seat and the 1yr old rode in that empty seat in his car seat as is allowed by the airline.

    On the return trip, the family sent the 18yr old home on an earlier flight. Father says he bought a ticket. New same-day tickets OGG-LAX start at about $325. Delta also allows same-day-change (SDC) for a $75 fee (flyers with FF status get it for less or free). Based on those options, it would make sense that the 18yr old did a SDC for $75 instead of a new ticket for $325 or more. It doesn't really matter, though, as in either case they can't keep the son's unused seat on the later flight.

    Case 1: SDC -- As soon as the 18yr old clears onto the earlier flight his reservation on the incident flight is cancelled (well, moved). Any pre-printed boarding pass for him on the late flight would be invalid. The airline would show the seat open and available for sale or assignment.

    Case 2: New ticket -- At the completion of boarding, no earlier than the published cutoff time, anyone who hasn't boarded the flight will be unseated. Their seat is then available to be assigned to standby passengers, last minute purchasers, or other passengers who don't yet have a seat assignment. The value of the ticket would be available for reuse after deducting any applicable change fee (which varies based on fare and FF status).

    Airline tickets are not transferable. That is how ticketing restrictions are enforced such as pre-purchase, round-trip, minimum stay, etc.

    Fully refundable tickets are available for sale. With a fully refundable tickets you can effectively transfer a ticket by cancelling it then using those funds to buy a new ticket with whatever changes you wanted.

    Non-refundable tickets are sold at a discount. In exchange for getting that discount, the buyer is agreeing to certain restrictions including non-transferability.

    You can't take the discount then expect to get the benefits of the unrestricted ticket.
     
  4. eetrojan

    eetrojan Pattern Altitude

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    And then you would call Delta and say, "I have my teenage son's unused boarding pass, so please refund my money?"
     
  5. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    The boarding pass is irrelevant. Whether or not he boarded a flight using that reservation is.

    The value of the unused segment(s) would be available to be reused less the applicable change fee. The change fee would vary based on the fare rules of the specific ticket and the traveler's frequent flyer status.

    The other possibility is that the ticket was, in fact, used to get the 18yr old son home. Delta allows a same-day-change onto an earlier flight for a fee of $75 (less or free with FF status). That would have made more sense then buying a new, separate ticket which looks to run at least $325 one-way OGG-LAX. In that case, the 18yr old's reservation on the incident flight would have been cancelled as soon as he cleared onto the earlier flight.
     
  6. eetrojan

    eetrojan Pattern Altitude

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    A third possibility is he bought a separate ticket to get the 18 yr old home and then handed all three boarding passes associated with the prior three tickets to the plucker and sat three family members in three seats, all in reliance on the OK of a prior Delta representative.
     
  7. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route

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    And with the possibilities now defined, the only fact remaining is that the ******* didn't help himself with his defiant, entitled attitude.

    Social media hates the airline, or the restaurant, or the hotel. or the _____. It hates business in general and is quick to blame business for the reaction these *******s receive. Very rare to see the Social media come out and say "yah, this ******* deserved it."
     
  8. eetrojan

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    OK, but we'll have to agree to disagree on the ******* label. I really think such a label is more applicable to the "professional" flight attendant who asserted that unless he gave up the seat he and his wife would put in jail and their children would be put in foster care.

    As probably noted in this thread already, Delta is offering compensation and an apology to him and his family.
     
  9. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route

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    Well thread creep being what it is, the United case and the Delta case are different, but the same. The passenger got what they had coming to them. REMOVAL.

    We'll have to venture another thread about what happens when someone gets pulled over by a LEO. Some get warnings, some get citations, some get arrested, some get shot. and some get a good beating in the process. My contention is the outcome is more dependent on the person than the LEO.

    My contention also covers *******s like Mr. Delta and Dr. United.
     
  10. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    Four tickets, not three. The father, mother, and 2yr old all had tickets. The fourth ticket would have been the 18yr old's.

    *IF* they scanned four boarding passes, their three plus the 18yr old's, then the seat would have showed occupied in the computer and another passenger wouldn't have been assigned to it. Very low chance of being caught with the wrong child/wrong boarding pass.

    But, even if they did scan the 18yr olds boarding pass, and it was still valid, and the airline figured it out... They still didn't have the right to that seat because the 18yr old wasn't present. When he didn't physically show up at the gate he loses the seat and it becomes available for assignment to another passenger.

    I don't think that was a flight attendant. The police were already on board and, by that point, it will be the police, agents, and supervisors who are interacting with the passenger, not a flight attendant. The person was off screen so we don't know who it was.

    In any case, you have to look both at what the agent said and to what he said that the agent was responding.

    A male voice off camera (another passenger) tells the father, "If you're not going to abide you're going to have to get off the plane."
    Father, "They can, they can remove me off the plane."
    Agent, "[unintelligible] is a Federal offense, you and your wife would be in jail and your kids will be in [unintelligible]care"

    He's threatening to pull a Dr. Dao and be dragged off the airplane. The agent was telling him what could happen if he followed through.
     
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  11. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Somebody wanted another pay day... cha-ching!

    Oops. They cops might take the kids away.

    This might not have been a good idea, honey...
     
  12. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I didn't see which kid was in the wrong seat: the 1 yo or the 2 yo. But the news reports I saw referenced the dad saying they put the 18 yo on a different flight so they could use his seat for one of the other kids.

    The dad said he was told it would be OK, but I wonder if he didn't hear the part about extra fees for doing it?
     
  13. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    The father, mother, and 2yr old all had tickets and had seats--as is required.

    The 1yr old did not have a ticket nor seat but was listed as a lap child under one of the parent's ticket. Without a ticket, the 1yr old rides either in a parent's lap or in a seat that is otherwise empty. The seat that the 18yr old didn't use was reassigned to another passenger so it was not available for the 1yr old.
     
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  14. Goofy

    Goofy Line Up and Wait

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  15. eetrojan

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    Do you know this for sure?

    If not, another possibility is the seat in 18yr old son #1's name was checked in by the two parents in order to use it for 1 yr. old son #3 (possibly with the full knowledge and express OK of a Delta employee), and even shown to the plucker when boarding, but the flight crew somehow realized that son #3 wasn't son #1, so they decided that based on that technicality, and regardless of any prior co-worker communication with this family, they were unequivocally entitled to take that seat and reassign it to another passenger.
     
  16. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Larry's scenario is many times more likely to have happened than yours. His is the way it is supposed to work. The flight crew ( I assume you mean the Flight Attendants) ar not authorizes to do what you suggest. The pax would have to deal with the gate agent for that.
     
  17. eetrojan

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    Sorry, posting while working. I meant that somebody upstream of the gate/plane area (e.g. an agent on the phone before he bought his older kid a separate ticket home), and by "flight crew" I meant the gate agents and/or flight attendants to the extent they work together on the passenger list.

    I guess that I'm just empathetic with this dad because, even though the airline has rules about one name one ticket, it seems super reasonable to put my non-ticketed kid in a seat I bought for my other older kid. I'm still not sure how they noticed.

    Notwithstanding that some believe this dad did "wrong," i note again that the airline apologized and compensated this family.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
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  18. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Instead of that being an indication that the airline believes that they did something wrong, it could just be an indication that they believe they are better off dealing with the public relations problem regardless of who was really at fault.
     
  19. denverpilot

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    This.

    This. The rabid Internet is out for blood no matter WHAT any airline does right now...

    "Please accept our (not so heartfelt) apologies, have a nice big sack of money, sign this form that says you won't sue us and won't talk to the media anymore about any of this, and go away..." whether they really screwed up or not, is now the SOP.
     
  20. eetrojan

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    I suspect it's a bit of both.
     
  21. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    I wasn't there when this happened. I have been in this industry for 27 years so have a lot of experience with how things are done and how rules are applied. I have used that experience to piece together the bits of information from the video, tweets, and news reports.

    It's not a technicality.

    Delta allows a same-day-change (SDC) for a $75.00 fee. Last minute one-way tickets OGG-LAX seem to run $325.00 and up. If you were trying to go back early, would you opt for the $75.00 SDC or a new $325.00 ticket? Which is more likely to be what happened here?

    In either case, it doesn't matter. The family doesn't retain rights to the seat.

    Case 1: SDC -- As soon as the 18yr old clears onto the earlier flight his reservation on the incident flight is cancelled (well, moved). Any pre-printed boarding pass for him on the late flight would be invalid. The airline would show the seat open and available for sale or assignment.

    Case 2: New ticket -- At the completion of boarding, no earlier than the published cutoff time, anyone who hasn't boarded the flight will be unseated. Their seat is then available to be assigned to standby passengers, last minute purchasers, or other passengers who don't yet have a seat assignment. The value of the ticket would be available for reuse after deducting any applicable change fee (which varies based on fare and FF status).

    Airline tickets are not transferable. That is how ticketing restrictions are enforced such as pre-purchase, round-trip, minimum stay, etc.

    Fully refundable tickets are available for sale. With a fully refundable tickets you can effectively transfer a ticket by cancelling it then using those funds to buy a new ticket with whatever changes you wanted. Non-refundable tickets are sold at a discount. In exchange for getting that discount, the buyer is agreeing to certain restrictions including non-transferability. You can't take the discount then expect to get the benefits of the unrestricted ticket.

    All we have is the family's version of events and their edited video. That's unlikely to give a full, unbiased view of the events. If they did ask an agent to use the 18yr old's seat for the 1yr old there was likely some miscommunication. The agent may have thought they were asking if the 1yr old could sit in that seat if it remained open--he can, while the family thought they were asking if the airline would hold the seat open for the 1yr old--they won't.

    If the family had purchased the older son a new ticket, and had scanned the older son's boarding pass as though it was for the 1yr old, the chances of them being caught would have been very low. The older son would have shown as boarded in the computer so the seat never would have been assigned to another passenger. If they had been caught, no matter how unlikely, we'd be back at Case 2 with the seat being forfeited when the older son did not board and it's remaining value being available for reuse on a later flight.

    The question that hasn't been answered is if it was so important for the 1yr old to be in his car seat to sleep on the red-eye, why didn't they buy him a ticket from the start?
     
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  22. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Considering that the baby is only a year old, it may have been a lesson learned during the first flight.

    Rich
     
  23. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    I thought of that but the 1yr old reportedly rode in his car seat in an empty seat on the flight down. He didn't fly as a lap child.
     
  24. Mike Smith

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    Lets not lose sight of the fact that the man called ahead and was told it was ok for the baby to ride in that seat. Perhaps had he been given the correct information he would have done things differently. It seems that he bought the older son a ticket on an earlier flight because he was assured he could use the older sons ticket on the flight in question. We should consider this, I believe it is what happened based on what is known now. Perhaps we can agree that no one really handled the situation well, but I really don't think we can brand the man a scofflaw.
     
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  25. hindsight2020

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    Hell, news to me. Someone forward that opinion to the g-damned CBP, because those make work sack o mother----rs sure like to infringe on my ability to travel on my Piper Arrow....
     
  26. bflynn

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    Earlier flight is only relevant from the standpoint of expectations. The father's expectation that there would be another empty seat just because it had previously been occupied by his elder son is where the problem came from. The father made an assumption that there would be a 4th seat. He was absolutely in the wrong, whether he realized it or not. We all know what happens when you assume.
     
  27. dmspilot

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    The question or the answer could have easily been miscommunicated or misunderstood by the customer. A little common sense goes a long way. If you change a ticket for a seat on one flight to a seat on another flight, the previous seat is no longer yours.
     
  28. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    If a passenger said that an airline agent told him that it would be okay if he smoked on his flight would you take that at face value or would you suspect that he is wrong or misunderstood the answer?

    All we have is the family's version of events and their edited video. That's unlikely to give a full, unbiased view of the events. If they did ask an agent to use the 18yr old's seat for the 1yr old there was likely some miscommunication. The agent may have thought they were asking if the 1yr old could sit in that seat if it remained open--he can, while the family thought they were asking if the airline would hold the seat open for the 1yr old--they won't.

    The non-transferability of tickets is as basic to an airline agent as is the prohibition on smoking onboard.

    I have a lot of sympathy for passengers who are confused by any part of the process. Airline travel is complicated. The rules are extensive and the options are frequently not intuitive to those who travel infrequently. For those reasons, I don't fault the passenger for ended up on board with his 1yr old strapped into a seat that then belonged to another passenger. The problem is in what happened once the misunderstanding came to light.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  29. Mike Smith

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    Sure, it could have. I don't think common sense really applies here. This board is populated by mostly pilots and the vast majority here, myself included, don't know squat about an airlines CoC, I would speculate that <2% of the flying public even know the term. In life, if you call customer service of a given company and ask a question you tend to act on the information given. However, I really don't see how this could be miscommunicated. Its like I tell my kids all the time, we live in parallel worlds, the one you want and the one that is. You will do well to act on the one that is and work on the one you want.
     
  30. dmspilot

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    I didn't say anything about the CoC. Swap out a ticket for a different one, how can anyone reasonably assume both of them now belong to you?
     
  31. Mike Smith

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    Larry, I respect your position, but you really are defending this from the position that you know what happened, you don't. All we have is the family's side, the video and the airlines statement. Speculation is just that, you don't know what the man was told, but I'll bet it was recorded if he called and I'll bet someone at Delta has already listened to it if so. If you know something we don't, then tell us.
     
  32. Mike Smith

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    If he did that, I wouldn't argue. However, the story as it is being told is he didn't swap one ticket for another, He bought the older son another ticket on another flight. He still "owned" the ticket he was using for his infant. Everyone is correct that tickets aren't transferable, I am not arguing that. I am arguing that he was TOLD by a Delta CSR that he could use it and he acted on that info.
     
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  33. dmspilot

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    Got it. Unfortunately we'll never know what actually happened.
     
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  34. bflynn

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    Yes, but he did not own the seat. Do understand why you are not correct in your reasoning? I think...like the father...that you don't understand the airline. As soon as his son was rebooked, the seat became free. Until an hour or two before the flight, any passenger can switch their seat into that one...so if they had a middle seat and wanted to sit in an window or aisle.

    It was not his son's seat anymore.
     
  35. Mike Smith

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    You know, if you would read the two or three other posts, or even all of the one you quoted, you would see that I understand quite well. I think that perhaps you don't understand.
     
  36. denverpilot

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    The rules for buying a ticket on an airline haven't changed since I was a kid. They're not exactly rocket science, either.

    And we could even figure them out before Google existed. Imagine how easy anyone today has it, compared to then.

    So, regardless of this whole silly story of some dude trying to play games with tickets... even for the average Joe, I'm going with... zero sympathy.

    I mean seriously, please don't encourage that level of stupidity just because you want to feel bad for someone who didn't bother to pay attention to anything in 40 years...

    This family obviously weren't first time flyers, with dad manipulating the ticketing process and putting different family members on different flights.

    But even if dad really was that dumb? Man up, dad. You screwed up being prepared to take your family traveling.

    You know what my dad would have done if he screwed up taking us on a trip...

    "This is why we should have read the rules, kids." Not whining loud enough to become an internet distraction, cough... overnight sensation, and it getting to a level where people thought he needed an apology from the CEO of an airline.

    Would have been filed in the "**** happens" file and he'd have held the baby and gate checked the car seat. Because dad. Because man. Because responsible. Because not entitled to anything in life. Because he'd seen a lot worse things in life than a stupid ticketing screwup before.

    These fools don't need your sympathy -- they're living pretty sheltered lives if their big complaint in the world is they can't figure out airline ticketing rules or bother to look them up when they're doing oddball stuff like splitting flights.

    Yeah, they called. I'd call AND double check with the gate agent before boarding. But I do have the experience to know how call centers usually work, and if it's "off script" you're as likely to get the wrong answer from a call center as the right one.
     
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  37. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    Neither does anyone else in this thread. Either we decide not to discuss the incident or we discuss it using the information that is available.

    I have 27 years experience in this industry during which I have gained quite a bit of experience in how it works. Some of the information presented by the family doesn't make sense. These inconsistencies might not be apparent to those with only a casual knowledge of the industry as evidenced by some of the posts in this thread.

    That may have happened. But with a $75 fee for a same-day-change vs. a $325+ cost for a new ticket, does it really make sense that he'd choose the significantly more expensive option? I could understand why a passenger might think that $75 was buying another ticket, though. He's not an insider or frequent flyer who we'd expect to understand the often subtle different meanings of airline terms so basing a conclusion on a single word he used in an emotionally-charged situation may not be completely reliable.

    But, all that is moot. It doesn't matter if he bought a separate ticket or did a SDC. In neither case does he retain rights to the seat in which his 18yr old is not sitting.

    As an (other) airline pilot, it is my job to be sympathetic to my customer's problems regardless of by whom their problem was caused.

    A good book on customer service is Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service by Performance Research Associates. In the book it is pointed out that a large percentage of customer problems are, in fact, caused by the customer. I don't remember the exact figure but I think it was roughly one-third of the problems being the fault of the customer. The book suggested that a service company's internal mantra should not be that "the customer is always right", because they are not. The internal mantra should be that "the customer is always the customer" and, if you want to keep them as a customer, you should deal with their problems--regardless of cause--in a manner which makes them believe that you ascribe to the customer always being right. We have seen a lot of this mindset being applied by the airline executives and P.R. departments over the past month, or so.
     
  38. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Every year, around spring break time, it seems to be popular for TV crews to set up in the local airport and film the carnage. Lots of kids, college and high school, and families trying to go on their trips. Airlines change schedules for wx, mx, whatever, and there is always someone who ends up with a canceled flight that complains about how they are going to miss their trip. The Spirit riot is an extreme example. But in all of those cases, the affected pax were not on the aircraft.

    The latest Delta and United cases happened on board when the pax had the leverage of already being strapped in, figuring possession being 9/10 of the law. Once the airline has to make a ruling either because of too many butts for the seats or because someone gamed the system to use a seat they expected to be empty, there are only a few ways it's going to end. Someone off camera gets tossed and an embarrassing scene is avoided, the passenger leaves under his own power, or the passenger leaves another way. I think the lessons here are to make sure any bumping takes place before the seatbelts are latched. At least the yelling will be taking place outside the aircraft.

    I'm still wondering how the Delta family got caught. Was the seat reassigned and another passenger noticed his seat was already occupied?
     
  39. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

    Joined:
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    Display name:
    Brian Flynn
    You're right. I don't understand. You say "well the CSA says it was OK so it should have been ok". No, it wasn't ok and it would never be OK. I flat out do not believe that a CSA told answered the question this way unless he asked an entirely different question.

    If I ask you "I like to drive on the interstate. Am I breaking the law if I drive over 55", you might say no way, the speed limit is higher. But my real situation is that I'm driving through a neighborhood. You told me driving over 55 was OK, should I have an expectation that it was?

    I'm with Delta. 100%.
     
  40. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
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    Display name:
    Fresh Prince of PrattVegas
     
    Tflhndn likes this.