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DIRECTFLT
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UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 4:35 am

A United Airlines passenger boarded a plane in Newark believing that she was headed to Paris. Hours later, the plane touched down at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Lucie Bahetoukilae, a French woman who does not speak English, carried a boarding pass that read, "Newark to Charles de Gaulle," reports ABC 7. She approached the gate listed on the pass, where a flight attendant scanned her ticket before she boarded the plane.

With her niece acting as translator, Bahetoukilae recalled approaching her seat – 22C – only to find it already occupied. Bahetoukilae said the flight attendant came over to look at her boarding pass before assigning her a new seat.

Three thousand miles later, Bahetoukilae disembarked at SFO, where she reportedly waited an additional 11 hours before boarding a flight back to Paris. In total, she claims to have been traveling for 28 hours.

Bahetoukilae said she did not realize that the airline had changed her flight's boarding gate. She told ABC that United did not make a gate announcement in French or notify her by email.

United gave Bahetoukilae a flight voucher and said they were "working with their team in Newark to prevent this from happening again."

http://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/Un ... 122917.php
Last edited by atcsundevil on Fri May 05, 2017 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Removed all caps from title
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hayzel777
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 5:12 am

How did the computer even ok her to board that flight?
 
MaverickM11
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 5:13 am

How did she get past the gate reader?
I don't take responsibility at all
 
CriticalPoint
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 5:29 am

Yep airlines fault 100%.....it has to be right? I mean as soon as you step foot on airport property you release all personal responsibility to the airlines. Food, health, reading comprehension, critical thinking, when to use the restroom........If you are not told how to breath in a very nice coustomer service way then you have a lawsuit and your 15 mins of fame. Grow up people and accept personal resonsibility.

I only speak only English and I have found and boarded my flight in countries all over this world, I'm batting a thousand.
 
FlyingSicilian
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 5:39 am

While I agree the pax should have noticed the change, the fact UA let her board the wrong flight and a flight attendant, one presumes, did not look at the BP or did and missed CDG is a red flag for them to tighten up procedures or retrain some staff.
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 6:16 am

It's actually a security concern as that passenger had effectively boarded the flight without a proper ticket.
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 6:23 am

caverunner17 wrote:
It's a nothing story to the world. I don't speak any language besides English and I've been all over Europe and Asia and never gotten on the wrong flight, train or bus. It's not hard to look at the sign at the gate and see it says San Francisco and not Paris.

I gotta agree.

I mean, is she deaf and illiterate too?
...the airport display? ...the gate signs? ...the pilots/FAs announcing the destination during embarkation?

Sure UA and their systems seem pretty negligent here, but how inattentive must someone be to get (and remain) on a flight going to a city that isn't anywhere remotely resembling intent?

And if this were Portland, Oregon versus Portland, Maine; I'd totally understand. Or to anywhere named Springfield.
But "San Francisco" vs "Paris"...???
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
PDX88
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 6:54 am

LAX772LR wrote:
I mean, is she deaf and illiterate too?
...the airport display? ...the gate signs? ...the pilots/FAs announcing the destination during embarkation?

Sure UA and their systems seem pretty negligent here, but how inattentive must someone be to get (and remain) on a flight going to a city that isn't anywhere remotely resembling intent?


You have no idea, I used to work for AA at gate C9 boarding flights to DFW. After all my gate announcements for AMERICAN to DALLAS I'd still get Southwest passengers all the time with boarding group C position 9 to Las Vegas whose flight left 2 hours earlier. And those were English speaking US citizens who don't pay attention.

But now imagine an infrequent traveler who doesn't speak the language and doesn't understand the gate and FA announcements, AND the gate agent allows them to board the wrong flight. That sounds like a United problem 100%, even if the passenger is being inattentive. The other comments I'm reading on here say they only speak English and are able to board the correct flights in Europe and Asia. It's convenient you are super frequent travelers who speak the most universal language on the planet where most departure boards refresh to an English screen for your convenience. The comparison doesn't really line up guys.
Last edited by PDX88 on Fri May 05, 2017 6:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
manny
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 6:54 am

United is at this point just trying to be innovative in screwing up their positions. In this day and age how did she board this aircraft. Its a security issue.
 
flyguy89
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 7:22 am

Hey...do you know how you spell San Francisco in French? S-A-N F-R-A-N-C-I-S-C-O. If that's not crazy enough, you'll never guess what the numbers 1-10 look like in French. You also might not believe how Paris is spelled in English. :eek:
 
ei146
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 7:48 am

LAX772LR wrote:
caverunner17 wrote:
It's a nothing story to the world. I don't speak any language besides English and I've been all over Europe and Asia and never gotten on the wrong flight, train or bus. It's not hard to look at the sign at the gate and see it says San Francisco and not Paris.

I gotta agree.

I mean, is she deaf and illiterate too?
...the airport display? ...the gate signs? ...the pilots/FAs announcing the destination during embarkation?

Sure UA and their systems seem pretty negligent here, but how inattentive must someone be to get (and remain) on a flight going to a city that isn't anywhere remotely resembling intent?

And if this were Portland, Oregon versus Portland, Maine; I'd totally understand. Or to anywhere named Springfield.
But "San Francisco" vs "Paris"...???


I wish both of you would have to spend some time in a foreign country in the countryside with nobody speaking English and all letters in Cyrillic, Thai, Cineses or Japanese. Maybe that would heal some of your stubborn arrogance and teach you some humility. You are aware that the number of people in this world with some varient of English as the first language is not too big. Still you are in the lucky position, that your mother tongue is used at least as the second language for signs in most airports and many people have some knowledge of it as their second, third or fourth language.
One time I saw a smart American business guy on an US airport being very busy in an obviously very, very, very important discussion on his phone running through the wrong gate. The alarm on the boarding pass reader went off and the GA politely asked him to donate a small amount of his attention to the fact that he was trying to board the wrong plane. The guy made a huge scene for being interrupted not even realising his fault. So you see this kind of stuff does not only happen to foreigners not knowing the local language.
Airports and airlines deal every day with persons which do not understand the local language, are not familiar with the procedures of flying or just don't pay attention. They adopted their methods accordingly.
As others noted the real question here is why neither the automated systems nor the customer service people noticed when that lady ended up on the wrong plane.

Edit: Just noticed PDX88 was faster. And he was able to bring accross the same sentiment in a more polite way.
Last edited by ei146 on Fri May 05, 2017 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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PlaneCookies
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 7:53 am

I think most posters are missing the point here. Yes, the passenger and should pay more attention. But this was allowed to go so far out of hand at which point it's fully UA's responsibility. The woman should have been stopped at the gate, or at the very last inside the airplane after she showed the wrong boarding pass to the FA!
 
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 7:56 am

ei146 wrote:
I wish both of you would have to spend some time in a foreign country in the countryside with nobody speaking English and all letters in Cyrillic, Thai, Cineses or Japanese. Maybe that would heal some of your stubborn arrogance and teach you some humility.

Done just that, thank you.
Lived in Nanjing for several years.... still didn't miss any flights.


ei146 wrote:
Still you are in the lucky position, that your mother tongue is used at least as the second language for signs in most airports

English isn't my "mother tongue"

But hey, that's only strike-2.
Next assumption on your part, meant as a appeal to emotion? I'll wait for the trifecta. :razz:


flyguy89 wrote:
Hey...do you know how you spell San Francisco in French? S-A-N F-R-A-N-C-I-S-C-O. If that's not crazy enough, you'll never guess what the numbers 1-10 look like in French. You also might not believe how Paris is spelled in English. :eek:

This.

But yeah, the others are right... UA is leaving themselves wide open if their systems and protocol allow this.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
commpilot
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 8:29 am

CriticalPoint wrote:
Yep airlines fault 100%.....it has to be right? I mean as soon as you step foot on airport property you release all personal responsibility to the airlines. Food, health, reading comprehension, critical thinking, when to use the restroom........If you are not told how to breath in a very nice coustomer service way then you have a lawsuit and your 15 mins of fame. Grow up people and accept personal resonsibility.

I only speak only English and I have found and boarded my flight in countries all over this world, I'm batting a thousand.



It is actually a huge deal and yes it is only United's fault. Major security issue that a passenger was allowed on a flight they weren't ticketed for. Also most countries have issues when bags are sent without passengers that he airline knows didn't board the flight.
 
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CARST
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 9:22 am

I totally blame the lady for not reading the gate signs. And I have a problem with people travelling the world and expecting that everyone speaks their language. They should either learn it a little bit (like I learned some English) or be ultra cautious if they are not willing to do this and travel outside the area where their language is spoken. But putting blame on the woman stops at this point...

UA and every other airline, too, are tasked to also cater for the infrequent travellers (most pax and not found on airliners.net usually). These travellers are not used to "gate changes". These travellers might mix up gate numbers and are overhelmed by large airports and all the fuss going on there. So they might also not check the gate signs and displays. This happens on a daily basis at every larger airport. So, (1) why did UAs system let the lady board and (2) why did the FA not notice this? And (3) what about the pax count?

1) I guess the BP did not scan, but the gate agent did not notice it and let the lady board. Medium human error.

2) Why did the FA not notice? She might not have read the destination (minor human error), but shouldn't have all alarm bells gone off, because she had two pax with the same seat assignment (critical human error)?

3) Did both FAs doing the pax count calculate the wrong numbers? Or did they just not count the pax onboard? (Medium human error.)


I'd say we have a good row of errors here, which the airline can be blamed for. Not good.
 
OSUk1d
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 9:22 am

c933103 wrote:
It's actually a security concern as that passenger had effectively boarded the flight without a proper ticket.



It's not really a security concern. She had a ticket for another flight and went through screening. Nobody's safety was in jeopardy because of this.
 
ei146
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 9:48 am

LAX772LR wrote:
You seem shocked by an expectation of (even basic level) personal responsibility... very odd. :?


Not really. I am just surprised that you expect humans to act like robots. We make mistakes, that is a part of our nature. Any system involving people is designed (or at least should be designed) to reduce the likelyhood of Human error. Anyway it needs to deal with a certain likelyhood of human error, especially if this system has to expect more then the occasional oddball.
Blaming the individual for falling through the cracks in the system doesn't help anyone.
It would rather help to look at the system while keeping some special requirements of some individuals in mind.
-Was the gate change really needed?
-Was the signage and announcement as clear as it could be?
-Is the airport environment maybe to overwhelming to make it difficult for some individuals to filter out the relevant information?
And even more important: Why was the Human error not detected, even though the boarding pass was checked multiple times?
 
TomFoolery
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 10:03 am

I see a lady and her niece who are likely not regular travelers, who are not used to how air travel is set up, and what the 'norms' of what navigating airports are. They are likely under a lot of stress being out of their comfort zone, and not being sure of what comes next.

I don't believe that air travel should be off limits to those who are unfamiliar to the process. There are people who let stress and nervousness take command over logical operations. Not all people are wired the same, especially in uncharted territory.

When I check in, the check-in agent normally (when available) clarifies gate information, and even circles or writes it down on the boarding pass. If this was done for this lady, and in French, she and her niece are acting on their last given information. Unless you are aware of the frequency of gate changes, how should you be faulted for not knowing?

I have often found conflicts between the main flight monitors, and the actual gates that the flight departs from. Again, if one is not aware of all of the sources of information, and which sources are the most reliable (boarding pass vs. terminal monitors vs. gate screens), is it not reasonable that confusion could occur? Additionally, if the monitor did state that the flight to CDG was changed, it would likely be in English. In this case, the passengers may have seen key word: PARIS CDG, but not understood what else was being communicated.

I can not blame the airline, and the passengers are in no way hapless victims. It was a mistake, and UA seems to have done a very good job of looking after the lady and her niece.

This does raise the question of how the two made it past the gate scan, and the FA review (when they changed seats). I have attempted to board the wrong flight, and the central brain caught the error, and I went to the next gate. No harm done, just an awkward walk of shame for yours truly.

I have come across many travelers who have gotten mixed up at the airport, and whenever possible, I make an effort to help them out, or find someone who can help them out. Some folks are so consumed by stress when they travel, a helping hand can make a huge difference. After reading some of the posts here today, I am glad that I was able to help them before they ran into some of the well traveled folks in this forum.

At any rate, I am pleased to see that the folks at UA were able to make the situation right, and get these ladies back home (albeit with a severe lack of sleep).

Tom
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commpilot
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 10:06 am

OSUk1d wrote:
c933103 wrote:
It's actually a security concern as that passenger had effectively boarded the flight without a proper ticket.



It's not really a security concern. She had a ticket for another flight and went through screening. Nobody's safety was in jeopardy because of this.



Ask your local TSA Inspectors and I bet they would offer a different opinion. You must have a valid ticket for the flight in which you attempt to board.

To everyone who says you MUST speak English to travel..it is a LOAD OF GARBAGE. People do realize that there are people in this world that don't speak or read a different language for which they are born into, especially the older the person is. The airline failed to prevent a non-ticketed (for that flight) to get on a plane they had no business being on. You can't book a $100 ticket and fly on a plane to half way around the world just because you went through security.
 
dtw2hyd
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 10:42 am

It appears over last couple of decades airlines invested heavily in revenue management systems, but ignored front line IT systems.
All posts are just opinions.
 
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Polot
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 10:50 am

commpilot wrote:
You can't book a $100 ticket and fly on a plane to half way around the world just because you went through security.

Of course you can.


Note sometimes TSA policies tend towards being more security theater than actual proper security.
 
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c933103
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 10:55 am

OSUk1d wrote:
c933103 wrote:
It's actually a security concern as that passenger had effectively boarded the flight without a proper ticket.



It's not really a security concern. She had a ticket for another flight and went through screening. Nobody's safety was in jeopardy because of this.

1. The passenger was supposed to travel to France and ended up remain in USA. Different countries have different rules for security of inbounding flights. While most of them are usually held to same high standard and differences among them do not usually matter, but there are also cases that for instance flight from Dubai to US are not allowed to have electronics on board due to security reason. What if the scenario described in the news happened in Dubai and the passenger originally holding a ticket to CDG get on a flight to SFO instead? That would render that US ban meaningless. Also, if the passenger have somehow boarded a domestic flight while it was travelling internationally, did the passenger cleared custom? if the passenger did then that's just a way for someone to pretend to leave the US on record while actually does not.
2. In this case, the passenger have a proper ticket on its hand although that is a wrong destination. but if an incorrect ticket can be used for boarding, then what is to prevent terrorist from copying and making up their own tickets?
3. The plane have an additional passenger, so it would consume more fuel than as known by fuel planning person/computer. While there are most llikely enough margin and a person's weight is not that large, the airplane is still carrying more load than information available when they're doing fuel planning and thus it might increase the risk of the airplane running out of fuel, although this is more about safety than security.
It's pointless to attempt winning internet debate. 求同存異. よく見て・よく聞いて・よく考える
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ojjunior
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 11:29 am

Yeah.. let's blame the airline 100% for the people stupidity.
Does she need to know english to see the difference between the words San Francisco and Paris? C'mon...
 
jumbojet
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 11:35 am

hayzel777 wrote:
How did the computer even ok her to board that flight?


Not the computer that allowed this unacceptable event to happen but once again, human error on UA's part.
 
jumbojet
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 11:36 am

ojjunior wrote:
Yeah.. let's blame the airline 100% for the people stupidity.
Does she need to know english to see the difference between the words San Francisco and Paris? C'mon...


Your actually right, its 95% airline (UA in this case) fault and 5% passenger fault. And that's being generous.
 
Junction
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 11:54 am

I would sure like to know the details on how this happened. There are so many safeguards in place to prevent bording the wrong flight that the ignorance of gate agent and passenger should never even matter.
 
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Polot
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 12:34 pm

c933103 wrote:
1. The passenger was supposed to travel to France and ended up remain in USA. Different countries have different rules for security of inbounding flights. While most of them are usually held to same high standard and differences among them do not usually matter, but there are also cases that for instance flight from Dubai to US are not allowed to have electronics on board due to security reason. What if the scenario described in the news happened in Dubai and the passenger originally holding a ticket to CDG get on a flight to SFO instead? That would render that US ban meaningless. Also, if the passenger have somehow boarded a domestic flight while it was travelling internationally, did the passenger cleared custom? if the passenger did then that's just a way for someone to pretend to leave the US on record while actually does not.

1) I don't know how the laptop ban is being handled, but usually if additional security (checks) for specific destinations is required it is done at the gate before boarding (or to get in gate area). If no checks are done before boarding then it is far easier to circumvent the laptop ban for a would be terrorist than using a fake ticket/boarding different flight. You just get an accomplice to buy a ticket to another destination (where laptop ban is N/A), you both go through security with the accomplice having the laptop, then the accomplice hands the US bound passenger the laptop after security...

2) You, except for a few exception, clear customs at the destination. The major exception is preclearance, but the passenger would have to go through the entire customs/immigration process just to get to the gate in that scenario. I believe the US authorities get information about who is on the plane after the flight is closed, in which case they would know the passenger did not actually leave the country because there would be no record of them being on the flight (as they never boarded the plane).
 
jeffrey1970
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 12:36 pm

ei146 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
You seem shocked by an expectation of (even basic level) personal responsibility... very odd. :?


Not really. I am just surprised that you expect humans to act like robots. We make mistakes, that is a part of our nature. Any system involving people is designed (or at least should be designed) to reduce the likelyhood of Human error. Anyway it needs to deal with a certain likelyhood of human error, especially if this system has to expect more then the occasional oddball.
Blaming the individual for falling through the cracks in the system doesn't help anyone.
It would rather help to look at the system while keeping some special requirements of some individuals in mind.
-Was the gate change really needed?
-Was the signage and announcement as clear as it could be?
-Is the airport environment maybe to overwhelming to make it difficult for some individuals to filter out the relevant information?
And even more important: Why was the Human error not detected, even though the boarding pass was checked multiple times?




I wonder since there are often many announcements by different GA's at different gates within a small area if maybe she and her companion were confused by the different announcements.
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
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tlecam
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 12:50 pm

Once again the passenger and the employees are not using their brains for the intended purpose. The passenger should be able to read and alert someone at the gate. I have empathy for her in that she likely was overwhelmed by the whole experience. However, for the employees, one of the primary objectives, perhaps even the defining characteristic of a gate agent's job is to ensure people get on the right flight.
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aemoreira1981
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:04 pm

CDG vs SFO? The flight attendant should have realized that she was on the wrong plane.
 
United1
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:06 pm

MaverickM11 wrote:
How did she get past the gate reader?


Thats the part I want to know. The gate reader is relatively fool proof and does catch people boarding the wrong flight....got me once actually :)

There are parts of this story that are clearly not public ,and never will be probably, but this woman does bear some level of responsibility for what happened. Clearly not speaking english is a handicap in the US but Im a bit supprised she managed to navigate NYC but had such a fail at the airport.

Also keep in mind this is an SF gate article...SF is home and Im very much a liberal but some of what they write would make Chairman Mao blush. They tend to be a bit sensationalist.
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ericalexandre76
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:07 pm

You can't book a $100 ticket and fly on a plane to half way around the world just because you went through security.


But that does not make it a security risk, as long as one clears security boarding the wrong flight does not make it less secure, or does it?
 
SFOtoORD
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:14 pm

This is a nothing story. Passenger made a mistake. United made a mistake. Things happen and this is why most of my flights reannounce the destination multiple times.
 
usflyguy
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Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:28 pm

Lesson #1. Flight attendants, especially at a domestic US airport with more than 2 flights a day, don't scan boarding passes.
My post is my ideas and my opinions only, I do not represent the ideas or opinions of anyone else or company.
 
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Kickert
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Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:41 pm

c933103 wrote:
1. The passenger was supposed to travel to France and ended up remain in USA. Different countries have different rules for security of inbounding flights. While most of them are usually held to same high standard and differences among them do not usually matter, but there are also cases that for instance flight from Dubai to US are not allowed to have electronics on board due to security reason. What if the scenario described in the news happened in Dubai and the passenger originally holding a ticket to CDG get on a flight to SFO instead? That would render that US ban meaningless. Also, if the passenger have somehow boarded a domestic flight while it was travelling internationally, did the passenger cleared custom? if the passenger did then that's just a way for someone to pretend to leave the US on record while actually does not.
2. In this case, the passenger have a proper ticket on its hand although that is a wrong destination. but if an incorrect ticket can be used for boarding, then what is to prevent terrorist from copying and making up their own tickets?
3. The plane have an additional passenger, so it would consume more fuel than as known by fuel planning person/computer. While there are most llikely enough margin and a person's weight is not that large, the airplane is still carrying more load than information available when they're doing fuel planning and thus it might increase the risk of the airplane running out of fuel, although this is more about safety than security.


1.) The laptop ban is enforced at the gate (At least it was in Doha last week when I flew through). Even if a passenger managed to get through to the wrong gate, they would have had just as hard a time getting a laptop through as a regular passenger.

2.) The copied ticket would have match (barcode) a real ticket to get through to air-side, and then again, it is no more risky than a regular passenger copying a ticket for the gate they actually want to go to.

3.) Maybe if you are flying on a Cessna it would be a problem, but on even a narrow body flight, the difference between having a rugby team board and having a dance troupe board is going to affect the weight on board more than an extra passenger since they don't actually account for the body types of people who board individual flights.

In my opinion, the passenger is responsible for navigating her transportation and thus is to BLAME. However, the errors from UA seem particularly worrisome and shows they have a real PROBLEM. This is a single issue situation.
 
QueenoftheSkies
Posts: 215
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:48 am

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:42 pm

SFOtoORD wrote:
This is a nothing story. Passenger made a mistake. United made a mistake. Things happen and this is why most of my flights reannounce the destination multiple times.


Which is a mute point given she didn't know English. This is all on UA specifically the front line employees which didn't catch the mistake. Should she have been traveling alone? Probably not. However, efficient employees could have ensured this never happened given this woman's circumstances.
 
jayunited
Posts: 2955
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:03 am

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:46 pm

jumbojet wrote:
Your actually right, its 95% airline (UA in this case) fault and 5% passenger fault. And that's being generous.


The only reason this story is blowing up on social media is because it involves United Airlines, because just 5 or 6 weeks ago didn't an elderly couple from Florida end up in New York state and not Michigan while traveling with Allegiant? If we did a internet search we probably could find plenty of stories just like this one the only reason people are outraged is because its United Airlines and I don't believe the airline was 95% at fault.
The gate change took place however;every other passenger who was traveling to CDG transitioned over to the right gate, she did not. Since she only spoke French people are saying UA failed to make an announcement in French. Was she the only passenger who spoke french on that flight I'm willing to bet there were more passenger who spoke only French and yet everyone else somehow got the message that a gate change had taken place. I watched the story online and there were a few key questions that the reporter failed to ask and it they are what time did she check in at the airport? When she finally arrived at the gate did she remain at the gate or did she leave to go to the restroom or to buy some food? Did she remain at the gate the entire time once the arrived at the gate? To jump to a conclusion that United failed to make an announcement in French without asking those questions is ridiculous. I've seen many passenger miss gate changes because the change took place before they arrive at the gate but after they checked in or when they stepped away from the gate. United does have language qualified gate agents and when a gate change takes place the language qualified agent will make the announcement in both English and in this case French. After making the announcement the agent then moves over to the newly assigned departure gate, while the agents working the domestic flight would come over to work the domestic departure and gate agents announce the destination of the flight multiple times during the boarding process.
Then you have the signage, it doesn't matter if she only spoke and read French because the word Paris is spell the same in both languages so the departure monitor would have read San Francisco. If here family was so worried about her being able to navigate the airport and understand the signage then they could have requested a gate pass or spoken to the someone at checkin to alert the airline that she only speaks French and would need additional help.

I would say UA is 25% at fault just because some how she was able to get pass the gate reader. And its not so much a security issue as it is an attention to detail issue, So either the gate reader malfunctioned or the gate agent disregarded the alert from the gate reader. As far as the FA's I dont blame them at all because if a flight is not full and there are dupe seats FA's will just tell the person who is standing to take any open seat they see. The only time FA's really get involved in dupe seats is when a flight is booked full and the person standing is demanding the other passenger get out of their seat.

I do a lot of traveling to foreign countries and I have to take personal responsibility for myself the fact that she didn't speak English does not mean that once she checked in she is now the responsibility of the airline you have to pay attention to your surroundings.
Last edited by jayunited on Fri May 05, 2017 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
PDX88
Posts: 423
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:17 am

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:48 pm

ojjunior wrote:
Yeah.. let's blame the airline 100% for the people stupidity.
Does she need to know english to see the difference between the words San Francisco and Paris? C'mon...


If an airline can't prevent an inattentive or oblivious passenger from boarding the wrong flight, then yeah, we should blame the airline.

It's not just a language thing, I've turned away many English speaking US citizens from boarding the wrong flight. They just aren't paying attention, not everybody is hanging on every word of the gate agent's announcements or double checking the gate board for the correct city. You can't change how humans work, many of them aren't that bright and the airlines need to know how to handle them.
 
MKIAZ
Posts: 279
Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 5:24 am

Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 1:50 pm

commpilot wrote:
OSUk1d wrote:
c933103 wrote:
It's actually a security concern as that passenger had effectively boarded the flight without a proper ticket.



It's not really a security concern. She had a ticket for another flight and went through screening. Nobody's safety was in jeopardy because of this.



Ask your local TSA Inspectors and I bet they would offer a different opinion. You must have a valid ticket for the flight in which you attempt to board.

To everyone who says you MUST speak English to travel..it is a LOAD OF GARBAGE. People do realize that there are people in this world that don't speak or read a different language for which they are born into, especially the older the person is. The airline failed to prevent a non-ticketed (for that flight) to get on a plane they had no business being on. You can't book a $100 ticket and fly on a plane to half way around the world just because you went through security.



When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Seriously, I'm sick of everything being a security concern. Getting on the wrong flight is not a security concern.
 
jeffh747
Posts: 862
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:32 pm

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:03 pm

It's bad that she was able to get past the gate agent who scanned her ticket, and even worse that the FA didn't notice the big CDG letters on her boarding pass, but how did the FAs not notice they had an extra pax when they were doing the head count? I thought that was normal operating procedures before they close the door. There is no excuse for this to have happened in the first place, and while the lady deserves some heat for lack of personal responsibility, UA dropped the ball in so many places here.
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727200
Posts: 633
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:31 pm

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:07 pm

Something smells on this. FA's DONT take tickets and haven't for several years. Yes, she should have been caught before she was allowed to enter the plane, and YES she does share some of the responsibility as well.
 
dtw2hyd
Posts: 8412
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:11 pm

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:07 pm

What happened to her checked bag(s)? Did UA sent those to CDG without passenger?
All posts are just opinions.
 
MartijnNL
Posts: 999
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:44 am

Re: UA EWR PAS SENT TO SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:26 pm

c933103 wrote:
It's actually a security concern as that passenger had effectively boarded the flight without a proper ticket.

How is that a security concern?
 
caleb1
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:51 am

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:33 pm

When did UA begin allowing flight attendants to scan boarding passes at the gate?
 
frmrCapCadet
Posts: 4313
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 8:24 pm

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:35 pm

I have always assumed that the scanning of my boarding pass was immediately integrated with the plane's expected and final load. And that any discrepancy would be flagged and reported to the flight crew.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
User avatar
bdc767
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:22 am

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:41 pm

This is a "human error" not a "social injustice." Obviously mistakes were made, but there needs to be a certain level of personal responsibility. This type of event rarely happens. This whole thread makes me chuckle. Are there not more important issues to talk about? Recall back in the 1980s the person who flew to "Auckland" instead of "Oakland" ?
 
AirplaneWizard
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:41 am

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:41 pm

727200 wrote:
Something smells on this. FA's DONT take tickets and haven't for several years. Yes, she should have been caught before she was allowed to enter the plane, and YES she does share some of the responsibility as well.


Some airlines still have FAs that ask everyone to show their boarding pass to them right when entering the aircraft.I think Etihad does that from time to time on certain routes. I don't think United does that at all though. If someone is seating on my seat and they have the same seat number as me, something is definitely messed up and wrong.

I don't have any sympathy for this woman as long as she made it home eventually.

Although EWR is a mess and as bad as Chicago out of all the United hubs, EWR isn't as confusing and messed up as Charles De Gualle.... That airport is outrageous.. When the General French public expect you to talk to them in French and become all rude when you don't while in some parts of France, this lady should know better that she should at least double check while flying in a foreign country with a different language. For example, I remember freaking out one time while before boarding a flight to Istanbul, when my flight said Sabiha- Gockcen instead of Istanbul before I knew Istanbul had 2 airports. I double checked and verified that the plane is going to Istanbul. It also doesn't help her case because San Francisco in French is San Francisco and Paris is Paris.

Who failed here?

1. The lady for going to the wrong gate thinking that it's her gate. - 25%
2. The lady for not reading every single sign that says the flight is going to San Francisco. (Bonus: also for not looking out of the window as most of the flights between EWR and SFO are single aisle aircraft like the 737.) - 25%
3 United Airlines because their boarding pass scanner allowed the passenger to board. - 25%
4. The lady after realizing that her seat is taken, not being observant enough to realize she's on the wrong flight. United has some really great pilots who love flying and I bet they do invest quality in their welcome announcement. The pilot must have said San Francisco several times in his boarding announcement. - 25%
5. The FA already assumed she was on the right flight and was just giving her a quick solution to someone being in her seat. If she can't understand the
giant San Francisco written on the screen, how is she able to communicate with the non-French speaking FA on a domestic flight?

At the end of the day, United made up for it by flying her home. (Total blame: French Lady 75%, United 25%)
 
Theseus
Posts: 276
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:42 pm

It is so easy to blame (passengers, airlines, staff...), without knowing all the story step by step. How did the confusion start ? When was it caught ? How could it have been caught earlier ? These are interesting questions. Putting blame when we have so little information does not seem interesting.
 
floridaflyboy
Posts: 1604
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:26 pm

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 2:49 pm

jayunited wrote:
jumbojet wrote:
Your actually right, its 95% airline (UA in this case) fault and 5% passenger fault. And that's being generous.


The only reason this story is blowing up on social media is because it involves United Airlines, because just 5 or 6 weeks ago didn't an elderly couple from Florida end up in New York state and not Michigan while traveling with Allegiant? If we did a internet search we probably could find plenty of stories just like this one the only reason people are outraged is because its United Airlines and I don't believe the airline was 95% at fault.
The gate change took place however;every other passenger who was traveling to CDG transitioned over to the right gate, she did not. Since she only spoke French people are saying UA failed to make an announcement in French. Was she the only passenger who spoke french on that flight I'm willing to bet there were more passenger who spoke only French and yet everyone else somehow got the message that a gate change had taken place. I watched the story online and there were a few key questions that the reporter failed to ask and it they are what time did she check in at the airport? When she finally arrived at the gate did she remain at the gate or did she leave to go to the restroom or to buy some food? Did she remain at the gate the entire time once the arrived at the gate? To jump to a conclusion that United failed to make an announcement in French without asking those questions is ridiculous. I've seen many passenger miss gate changes because the change took place before they arrive at the gate but after they checked in or when they stepped away from the gate. United does have language qualified gate agents and when a gate change takes place the language qualified agent will make the announcement in both English and in this case French. After making the announcement the agent then moves over to the newly assigned departure gate, while the agents working the domestic flight would come over to work the domestic departure and gate agents announce the destination of the flight multiple times during the boarding process.
Then you have the signage, it doesn't matter if she only spoke and read French because the word Paris is spell the same in both languages so the departure monitor would have read San Francisco. If here family was so worried about her being able to navigate the airport and understand the signage then they could have requested a gate pass or spoken to the someone at checkin to alert the airline that she only speaks French and would need additional help.

I would say UA is 25% at fault just because some how she was able to get pass the gate reader. And its not so much a security issue as it is an attention to detail issue, So either the gate reader malfunctioned or the gate agent disregarded the alert from the gate reader. As far as the FA's I dont blame them at all because if a flight is not full and there are dupe seats FA's will just tell the person who is standing to take any open seat they see. The only time FA's really get involved in dupe seats is when a flight is booked full and the person standing is demanding the other passenger get out of their seat.

I do a lot of traveling to foreign countries and I have to take personal responsibility for myself the fact that she didn't speak English does not mean that once she checked in she is now the responsibility of the airline you have to pay attention to your surroundings.


This is not nearly as rare as people on here are making it out to be. I work in the industry and this is not the first, second, third or even fourth time I've seen it. And it's not isolated to a particular airline. Heck, a friend of mine had it happen on DL not long ago. Not sure what he was thinking, but he doesn't travel often, didn't pay attention and wound up in AUS instead of ATL. Similar chain of events. Gate agent went ahead and sent him down when the boarding pass didn't send. FA instructed him to just "sit in an empty seat, we're in a hurry." Boom, welcome to AUS. I do think the passengers hold responsibility in these situations.
Good goes around!
 
PanzerPowner
Posts: 488
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:19 pm

Re: UA EWR passenger sent to SFO instead of CDG

Fri May 05, 2017 3:21 pm

Can't we realize that she was with a niece, she most likely is a new flyer and new flyers are not the best at flying. Cmon guys, if a kid can get lost at an airport in Home Alone 2 and get on the wrong flight, I am sure that someone with a niece can get lost at EWR.
Well uh, I obviously decided to refine this but i dont know how.

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