What can we expect from United?

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Apr 14, 2019
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#1
My 15 year-old daughter was on United flight 383 flying from Oahu to Denver on 4/1/19. She was flying home with her school choir. That day, UAL, SWA and a few others experienced a computer malfunction which miscalculated the weight of the planes. This caused her flight to be extremely scary on take-off. They even plunged a little. Not a great flight experience for a group of teenagers. Or any other if the passengers! The stay buckled light was lit for most of the flight, so by the time she arrived home, she was in mild bladder distress. What kind of compensation could we reasonably request for a very scary and uncomfortable flight? She does have a United flier number. I
 

Neil Maley

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#2
The airlines are required to get passengers from point a to point b, which they did. They don’t owe her anything. Weight has nothing to do with a bumpy take off either, if there were weight issues, it’s corrected before the plane takes off. What does matter are how windy it was at take off or how close they were to the plane that took off before them.

You say the take off was scary and it is not all that unusual for a flight to be bumpy where it plunges a little.

She could have gone to the bathroom with the seat belt buckle light on - it is not unusual to have the seat belt sign on for most of a flight.

It sounds more like perhaps she was a first time flyer and not used to a flight that might not have been perfectly smooth. I think most of us have experienced flights like this if you fly regularly. I’ve experienced flights in NY twice that I will never forget because the plane touched down and immediately flew straight back up and circled back - which usually indicates a near miss.

I’m sure not having Mom or Dad with her made it worse as no one was there to reassure her she would be ok, or even that she could go to the bathroom with the seat belt sign on. But she’s not due any compensation.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#3
... What kind of compensation could we reasonably request for a very scary and uncomfortable flight? She does have a United flier number. I
None. No compensation. The bumpy flight had nothing to do with the "miscalculation of weight" of the plane. If there was a miscalculation of weight, and safety were at stake, weight would be removed from the plane before clearance to take off (ie passengers or cargo would be bumped)

Take offs from Hawaii may be bumpy due to the trade winds.
 
Feb 3, 2017
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#4
It's a pretty good idea to keep seat belt fastened even when the light isn't on any way. Never know when turbulence will happen and there have been incidents where it was rough and having seatbelts on keeps one in their seat IF it gets too bad (which has happened occasionally)
 
Likes: FrankL183
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
I think there was some confusion as to what happened. The computer system that went down is called Aerodata. Only United regional flights (ie United Express) use that 3rd party vendor — same with Delta. Southwest was the airline that was mostly affected. United Express (regional jets) does not fly to Hawaii.

The system was down for about an hour. No airplanes that used the system were allowed to take off, which meant delays throughout the country.

As others have pointed out the bumpy take off likely had to do with strong winds; same with the seat belt signs being on for most of the flight. The winds over the Pacific Ocean can be very strong.

There is no compensation due for strong winds. The Aerodata outage had nothing to do with the winds and bumpiness.

No airline that was affected by the Aerodata outage was allowed to take off — as that system also is needed to file the route plan — no route plan no take off.

Additionally flight 383 takes off at 8:20 pm local time. The Aerodata outage happened in the morning East Coast time — which would have been around 3 to 4 am in Hawaii. So the outage had nothing to do with flight 383.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Someone did not explain the events and system properly for the choir if they believe they were in danger which is unfortunate.

And as written the seat belt sign was on for “most of the flight” which implies there were times that passengers could get up.

Weights and balances is a very serious issue — and none of the airlines affected — mostly Southwest— JetBlue and regional carriers — allowed flights to depart but instead grounded flights and did not put any passengers in danger.
 
Apr 14, 2019
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#7
The airlines are required to get passengers from point a to point b, which they did. They don’t owe her anything. Weight has nothing to do with a bumpy take off either, if there were weight issues, it’s corrected before the plane takes off. What does matter are how windy it was at take off or how close they were to the plane that took off before them.

You say the take off was scary and it is not all that unusual for a flight to be bumpy where it plunges a little.

She could have gone to the bathroom with the seat belt buckle light on - it is not unusual to have the seat belt sign on for most of a flight.

It sounds more like perhaps she was a first time flyer and not used to a flight that might not have been perfectly smooth. I think most of us have experienced flights like this if you fly regularly. I’ve experienced flights in NY twice that I will never forget because the plane touched down and immediately flew straight back up and circled back - which usually indicates a near miss.

I’m sure not having Mom or Dad with her made it worse as no one was there to reassure her she would be ok, or even that she could go to the bathroom with the seat belt sign on. But she’s not due any compensation.
Actually weight was an issue that particular day. United and several other airlines exper
I think there was some confusion as to what happened. The computer system that went down is called Aerodata. Only United regional flights (ie United Express) use that 3rd party vendor — same with Delta. Southwest was the airline that was mostly affected. United Express (regional jets) does not fly to Hawaii.

The system was down for about an hour. No airplanes that used the system were allowed to take off, which meant delays throughout the country.

As others have pointed out the bumpy take off likely had to do with strong winds; same with the seat belt signs being on for most of the flight. The winds over the Pacific Ocean can be very strong.

There is no compensation due for strong winds. The Aerodata outage had nothing to do with the winds and bumpiness.

No airline that was affected by the Aerodata outage was allowed to take off — as that system also is needed to file the route plan — no route plan no take off.

Additionally flight 383 takes off at 8:20 pm local time. The Aerodata outage happened in the morning East Coast time — which would have been around 3 to 4 am in Hawaii. So the outage had nothing to do with flight 383.
Thank you for the clarification about the glitch. We were not able to find out much about it, and thought that was the issue. The kid’s okay, and she has a great story to tell her friends.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
Turbulence can be frightening even for the more experienced traveler— I have felt uncomfortable at times and grabbed the arm rests.

And turbulence can cause injuries in flight.

I do not want your daughter to think she was ever in danger from weights and balance issues which can be catastrophic— much worse than turbulence.

Travel can be a wonderful experience — the getting there by airplane is often the most trying part.

Hopefully your daughter at 15 is not frightened off air travel and instead focuses on the beauty of Oahu.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,794
15,414
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Turbulence can be frightening even for the more experienced traveler— I have felt uncomfortable at times and grabbed the arm rests.

And turbulence can cause injuries in flight.

I do not want your daughter to think she was ever in danger from weights and balance issues which can be catastrophic— much worse than turbulence.

Travel can be a wonderful experience — the getting there by airplane is often the most trying part.

Hopefully your daughter at 15 is not frightened off air travel and instead focuses on the beauty of Oahu.
It’s not a pleasant feeling at all regardless of how experienced a flyer you are- I agree with you.