“I would really appreciate it if I could get my tickets reimbursed”

Jennifer Shin is mad at US Airways — so mad that she’s created a Facebook page urging others to boycott the airline and launched a social media campaign to bring attention to her cause. Actually, it’s her father’s cause.

Late last year she contacted me asking for help. I gave her documentation a quick look and sent her a list of executive contacts. But when US Airways turned down her father’s request, she asked me to mediate the case.

And that’s where I could use a little help.

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Last fall, her father, Han Gon Shin, was flying from Barcelona to Philadelphia with his wife.

We were about to board the plane and were already halfway down the escalator when I heard a loud uproar. I look behind to see what was going on when another employee who scanned my ticket, gave me the finger to come back up to see her.

Confused, I ask how she expected me to come up when the escalator was going down, yet, she ignored my comment and demanded me to come up.

“Come up NOW! UP, UP, UP! NOW!”

I felt as if I was some suspect getting interrogated by an authority figure. I came up the down going escalator, tripped forward, and hurt my knee.

That’s something of an understatement. It was a deep gash that needed to be treated by a doctor, and the Shins missed their flight home.

Here’s a photo of the injury. If you are squeamish, you might want to skip it.

Shin continues,

The manager not once did she apologize. What do you expect me to do? Had I not followed the directions of an airport authority, I would’ve been arrested.

In addition, had I not gone UP on a DOWN going escalator following the direction, this would’ve not happened.

It’s unclear why the US Airways staff insisted the Shins make a U-turn on an escalator. Maybe they’d failed to scan one of their boarding passes and needed to check them again. At any rate, says Shin, the airline staff was less than sympathetic. They didn’t apologize. And then they refused to offer the couple any consideration on their return flights. (Given the discomfort of his injury, Shin thought an upgrade to business class would have been appropriate.)

To add insult to injury, US Airways lost his luggage for five days.

“This was definitely a painful experience for me, and I would really appreciate it if I could get my tickets reimbursed,” he says.

Shin took up her father’s cause after US Airways turned down his request for a refund. It offered two $200 vouchers for the trouble, which wasn’t enough. She tried posting her experience to the US Airways Facebook page, but the company quickly deleted her posts. That’s when she started her campaign encouraging others to boycott US Airways and contacted me.

“Help me get the word out,” she asked me. “Because this is absolutely ridiculous.”

I have a few issues with this one. First, I think the refund and the incident are two separate issues. US Airways was responsible for getting the Shins from Barcelona to Philadelphia, in the class of service they paid for. And it did.

Yes, it would have been a nice gesture to upgrade them to business class. But it didn’t have to.

The second incident is the ticket scan problem. If it happened the way Shin described it — and I don’t have access to US Airways’ incident report — then the airlines staff in Barcelona really screwed up. I mean, asking a passenger to walk up the wrong way on an escalator? That’s just stupid.

When Shin tripped, fell and hurt himself, the correct procedure would have been to call paramedics, get his injuries treated, and rebook him on the next flight at no additional expense.

Employees are often trained to not apologize because it can be considered an admission of liability, which could be problematic if there’s a lawsuit. I want to believe the US Airways staff in Barcelona didn’t apologize because of their training, and not because they didn’t feel bad about what happened.

I don’t know if there’s anything I can do with this case. I’m not convinced that a full refund is in order. It appears Shin’s medical expenses and the rebooking were covered by US Airways. The vouchers were a nice gesture. If he wanted additional compensation, he would have to file a claim with the airline’s insurance company.

I’m also a little troubled by some of the differences between Shin’s account on his Facebook page, and the one presented to me by his daughter. Although the details match up, the tone of the first account is far more confrontational, which leads me to believe Shin’s initial approach may have been counter-productive, in terms of his attitude.

I certainly don’t mind helping to get the word out about this incident, but I’m just not sure to what end.

154 thoughts on ““I would really appreciate it if I could get my tickets reimbursed”

  1. “It appears Shin’s medical expenses and the rebooking were covered by US Airways. The vouchers were a nice gesture.”

    What is there to mediate? 

    And why didn’t they ride down and then come back up? Would have saved a lot of trouble.

    1. Why didn’t they ride down and then back up?

      Considering the gestapo-like behavior of some airport security and airline employees, and considering they were ordered come back up the down escalator, they probably thought they’d be denied boarding or perhaps even arrested if they didn’t follow instructions to the letter. We’ve seen pax be denied boarding for less.

      While I don’t think there’s much to mediate here (I voted no), the airline employee handled the situation very poorly.

        1. I don’t think the employee should have yelled or given your father the finger.  I think they should have asked him to return, or phoned an agent below or went down to get him later.  I also don’t think your father should have turned around on an escalator and attempted to go back up against the flow.  If I were in that situation, I would have finished riding down, and then come back up the stairs or elevator or waited.
          I do think it’s hard to blame US Airways for your father’s injury.  He could have done things differently to avoid injury. A US Airways employee did not physically push or hit or directly injure your father.  To put it into perspective, if you were driving to the airport early because US Airways changed a flight time, and you got into an accident and were injured, would it be US Airways fault because they changed the time of the flight?  You may say yes, but I think in both cases, it would be hard to find an attorney that would pursue such a case.  An employee asked/ordered your father to return.  He got injured while returning.  It’s hard to prove causation.
          If I were you and I truly felt the injury was US Airways fault, I would have pursued them for medical bills.  If I felt the way you did, and all I got was a $200 certificate, I would have written a brief factual letter asking for my medical bills to be paid. I also would have consulted with an attorney.  If that was where it ended, I would have accepted the situation and moved on.  I would not have attempted to get a refund by posting on US Airways Facebook page and starting a poorly written boycott page.  I would not have expected a full refund or a free upgrade.  The contract was for them to get your father from point A to Point B in a specific class of service, which they fulfilled.  There is no legal obligation for them to refund you for a service they provided because they “Ruined your trip.”  Given the situation, I think it is very unlikely that US Airways could be at fault, as it was your father’s actions that got him injured, even though it was in response to a US Airways employee’s request.  I also think your attack campaign ruined your credibility with US Airways.
          The reason for my statement above is because the article states that US Airways paid the medical bills.  If they didn’t, I am sorry.  However I feel it is unlikely that they will be paid.  If you get a refund, would you really be any happier?  It was an unfortunate situation.  But life is full of unfortunate situations, and there are many people in far worse situations, who have no one to speak for them. Be fortunate for what you do have and you will be much happier.

          1. ” An employee asked/ordered your father to return. He got injured while returning. It’s hard to prove causation.” 

            It really depends.  Did Shin’s father have discretion in the manner in which he complied with the airline employee’s order?  If he had discretion, i.e. there was a safe way to comply then he’s SOL.  If however, the only way to comply was to take on an unreasonable risk, e.g. walking up a down escalator; sitting on a toilet during takeoff and landing, etc., and compliance is mandatory, then the airline is liable.

            The best way to consider this is that if the airline forced the OPs father to engage in dangerous behavior, i.e. take on unreasonable risk, then the airline must be liable.

    2. There may not have been a way to go back up.  I’ve flown out of numerous airports in Europe where you wait in one area then walk or take an escalator down to another area where you board the plane.  This is more common in places where you are walking out on the tarmac to the plane or taking a bus to the plane.  There was likely only ONE escalator and it was going down, not up.

      1. Ive flown out of many similar airports too and there was always a staircase as well.  I am not saying there was here, but i really think they should have used their head a little more, even if the agent was yelling.  Going up a down escalator full of people boarding a plane is just a bad idea.

    3. why couldn’t the agent come down, that is, if they initally claimed to have an error with the ticket? which apparently, turned out to be BS, because after my father’s fall, they said that there was nothing wrong with it.. 

  2. “I certainly don’t mind helping to get the word out about this incident, but I’m just not sure to what end.”

    Not to be master of the obvious, but you’ve already done your part in getting the word out by publishing this article.

    I fail to see what there is to mediate. I don’t see anywhere in the article where Shin has additional demands on US Airways. There is nothing to indicate that Shin wants additional compensation at this time, other than his daughter vowing to never fly US Airways again. What would you mediate? An full or partial refund? At this point, US Airways isn’t going to change its tune. Perhaps an attorney may be interested, but an ombudsman? I’d say pass.

    1. Yes, Chris helped get the word out.  But my biggest problem here that nobody pointed out is that US Airways deleted their Facebook posts.  In a way, Chris is acting as a social media venue because US Air is manipulating the other forms and that’s not right. 

      Come on US Airways, do you not have a clue about social media?  You don’t delete things that you don’t like.  You take the good with the bad.  Unless it is untrue or obscene, it gets posted along with everyone else’s comments.  That’s the way social media works.  Respond if you want — don’t delete unfavorable posts.  Address them.

      1. I didn’t know anything could be deleted on FB until recently when I posted a negative review on a local business.  It got their attention, they called me, then they removed it. Yelp is almost as bad.  They manipulate reviews in placement.

      2. I don’t think US Airways has an obligation to keep any posts on their FB page that they deem irrelevant or counter-productive.  But this was handled very poorly by them on many levels.  I would vote not to intercede, Chris, I think your assessment of the situation is accurate and they received everything they are likely to get from US Airways, short of taking them to court.

      3. United deleted a facebook comment I posted on their wall rather than address it.  Though that was not until after a bunch of UA sympathizers responded to me with vulgarity, so that could be why it was all removed.

      4. While they can delete, I agree that deleting it is just plain foolish. If the reason for the pages are for customers to post, then they should leave posts up and learn from the problems and address them. By deleting them, it makes it look like they are hiding legitimate complaints and in the eye of the consumer, that is even worse.

  3. While I’m sympathetic to the injury, I’m not sure why everyone feels a sense of entitlement.  They had medical injuries paid, they got where they need to go.  I think the Vouchers are a nice touch.  I doubt USAir will do much more than that, nor do I think they should.

    1. they said something was wrong with his ticket. after my father fell, my father yelled and asked what was wrong with the ticket. they said, “nothing” and freaked out after they saw the bloody knee. “NOTHING!?” REALLY?!?!?!?!

  4. USAir already covered all medical expenses and the rebooking and 2 $200 vouchers. It sounds like they feel that they’ve wiped their hands of the matter, so I don’t see what there is for you to “mediate”. I guess Shin should consult with an attorney to see if he has any further cause against USAir. My suspicion is that he does not. 

  5. Bad situation, but, they’re asking too much for the trip to be refunded. And, by creating a facebook page, they’re attempting to extort the airline to give it to them. Notice what they wanted? To get the word out. Most likely, to embarrass or push the airline to settle. They’ll pay up to get us to go away seems to be the M.O. here. I’d be curious to see their answer if the airline agreed to refund the trip only if they took the page down and signed a confidentiality agreement. Would they accept that? Because if their purpose is to “get the word out”, then that should be abhorrent to them.

  6. Just because someone tells you to do something that may in fact be a danger to you does not mean you do it. Obviously this person should have used the brain he was born with, or perhaps in his case without which resulted in injury to himself, which he created himself.

    1. In the current climate of insane, gestapo-like airport security, anybody who doesn’t IMMEDIATELY do what an “official” at an airport says is at risk of arrest, or worse.  To blame this gentleman for doing what he was ordered to do is completely absurd.  Typical “blame the victim” crap.

  7. Research has shown that when doctors apologize to patients they are less likely to get sued–airlines might want to take note.  Sometimes all people want is an apology, the acknowledgement that the airline made a mistake and made our lives miserable.  I think that if that had happened, combined with the reimbursed medical expenses and vouchers, that the passenger would have been satisfied.  In seems in general that we [people] have lost the ability/civility to apologize and thus we all need to “get” something for all our troubles.

    1. I was thinking that too.  What if the airline employee had apologized profusely, but all the other elements of the situation remained unchanged?  Obviously the event would still have happened–still injured and still missed the flight–yet wouldn’t an apology have nevertheless changed the picture substantially? 
      IMO, the OP has a weak case already, but it would be even more non-existent if an apology had been made.

      1. That’s not just an issue with airlines though. Apologizing is seen by many as an admission of guilt. I worked for a retailer at one point whose training was very specific about that. At no time if a customer fell etc could you say “I’m sorry.” It could be taken as an admission of guilt and so the only thing you could ask were things like “Are you injured” or “do you need an ambulance?”

    2. To illustrate EHamill2’s point with a personal example of how an upstanding businesses could handle a customer injury situation: 

      My family had a scare at a Home Depot a while back.  Our 2-year old son got his finger stuck in a floor sample display and cried out in terror.  A staff member quickly came to our aid and was concerned and apologetic.  They eventually brought us ice and also handed us (unsolicited) an insurance form.  

      The insurance company subsquently followed up with us, unprompted.  We were glad to be able to tell them that thankfully, our son’s injury was fairly minor and he hadn’t required any professional medical attention.

      We came away very impressed with the way Home Depot handled the situation and their civility and professionalism didn’t cost them anything.

  8. I think you should stay away from airline said/flyer said cases unless there is some evidence of wrongdoing on either side.

  9. I voted no. As others have said, the medical care and rebooked flight were gratis. There really isn’t much to mediate.

    If the OP is annoyed that parents didn’t get bumped up to business class, then…oh well. There’s nothing that says the airline has to do it. And, if BC was full, there was no way to do it.

    $200 in airline funny money on top of their medical and rebooking seems appropriate.

    And, if their luggage was lost for 5 days, USAir should refund whatever baggage fees were incurred.

    1. I pretty much agree, though I wonder if there was any missed work or additional expenses paid out because of the injury? I would contact their insurance company and just toss out a monetary figure to compensate for the injury and see what happens. At this point I think the airline is done with them.

  10. Going up a down escalator is just dumb unless the building’s on fire.
    The airline surely owed them an explanation, and free rebooking.  Also covering the medical expenses. Only thing not covered was their outrage, and nobody can ever satisfy that. 

  11. The worst plane experience I had was with USAir in Barcelona. They first took us to the wrong plane on the tarmac to board. When we located the one bound for the US, I was in the first bus, and we lined up at the front of the plane.They moved us all to the back, saying that was where they would board from today. Second shuttle bus lines up behind us, third and fourth went to the front of the plane, and they proceeded to board both ends simultaneously with no regard for who sat where.  The scene inside that plane with people streaming from both sides to reached their seats looked like Braveheart.  And believe me, some of that carry-on luggage hurt like a sword to the gut. I think they are just challenged when it comes to common sense in the Barcelona airport. Can’t regulate stupid.

  12. Who would be stupid enough to go UP a down-moving escalator – no matter how much some idiot is screaming for you to do so ?

      1. I fully understand the fear passengers have of airline’s these days if they don’t cooperate.  But don’t we each have a responsibility to make sure what we do is safe regardless of the request?  I would have yelled back that I would return by the stairs or another way as I couldn’t have walked up a down escalator due to a leg problem I have.  So regardless of the request, accomplishing that order would not have been possible on my part. I would have said something so they didn’t think they were being ignored. 

  13. Safety comes first and all that was necessary was to go to the bottom of escaltor, turn around and return to the check -in desk. Fear of arrest? seemed to over ride common sense. Most airlines are more stupid than not, and it appears that some customers are not too far behind. This is a really dumb situation. I do like the bashing of “UScare” on facebook, they really could have upgraded their poor wounded passenger.

  14. Since I’m an equal opportunity snarker…
    I pointed out on an earlier letter that a parent should not be writing letters for her adult child. In this case, the PARENTS should be fighting their own battles. 

    Though, there really isn’t a battle to fight…after reading the FB post, I think this is more and more looking like a money grab.

      1. Or they may not be as well-versed on the Internet, or have the energy to continue tilting at windmills…. There are many reasons why the daughter might be helping them. Bottom line is I don’t see how the messenger really changes anything. 

      1. Here is their post:

        i seriously did not want to start this page but i had to because i initially wrote about my experience on their US AIR page and they not only blocked me, but they banned me from writing my experience!! who does that? can they not accept their fault?here was what i wrote on my initial post… “US AIRWAYS, you are absolutely THEE worst! I was involved in an injury that was caused due to your em…ployee giving me directions which I had followed. My knee was severely dashed, and I was rushed immediately to seek treatment at the airport clinic. I was given “1-3 puntos sutura con vicryl and 8-10 puntos seda en 2 planos.” I not only missed my flight returning home, had the inconvenience of taking another flight from Paris, economy class (I asked for an upgrade for business class for the inconvenience and the discomfort of having to feel claustrophobic with my knee, but they refused), and had my luggage missing for several days. Pictures of my bloody pants, shoes, and my knee can be provided if requested.”

        1. This same complaint (with a little more background on the rudeness of the gate agent toward Ms. Shin’s mother) shows up on another site http://www.airlinecomplaints.org/showthread.php?t=9257.  (Found it while trying to translate Spanish medical terminology). 

          Thanks for passing this on to me.  I *know* I’d really be angry if my mother were treated that way by anyone, but the request(s) seem to be a little over-the-top, and were demanded, rather than requested.  As Chris originally said, the manner in which this began probably dictated its unsatisfactory (to the Shins) conclusion. 

          1. From the website you mentioned…

            It started out after my mother had checked in her luggage with the front agent. Your employee asked her a question when my father stepped in to interpret. The employee snapped at him “to keep [his] mouth shut.” He explained that he was her husband, but was still given orders to keep
            silent. The agent then said, “How does an American citizen who owns a US passport not know a word of English?” THEN, they gave them the “ugly treatment” to be searched further. It isn’t a big deal, to take that extra step/hassle?

            I would not be surprised if she was questioned by ICTS workers who are hired by airlines to handle security screening for flights bound for America. That kind of questioning is likely from the Israeli school of airport security. Their brusque type of questioning can rub an Asian the wrong way. If you use an airport in Europe and fly back to the USA you will likely see an ICTS sticker placed on the back of you passport.

      2. It needs to be said that their facebook page not only contains this story but every other “OMG LOOKIT WHAT USAIR DID…” story dating back years. In fact, they even have a post about the “Flying Iman Case” linked and all.

        That’s so…2003…

        Basically, it’s an extort/shame site. It has little to do with their own case.

  15. BCN is most likely an outsourced ground handler…perhaps the now-defunct Spanair as a Star Alliance partner, or Swissport, etc.?  Ground handlers tend to not give a damn, are part-timers supplementing their income, and are completely unprofessional.  Time to take US to Small Claims Court…they won’t show up, they internalize and self-insure hoping you won’t follow through…then they will pay when a court issues a judgment in your favor.

  16. That’s where you and I will always disagree.  As an attorney my job is to fight other people’s battles.  It seems silly that we accept paying a professional, to fight our battles, but not a family member.

    There is no particularly good reason why someone shouldn’t enlist the aid of a willing family member who 1) has more time, 2)a better grasp of the local language, 3)better at confrontations, 4)less easily intimidated, 5) more sophistication in the arena, 6)geographically desirable etc.

    For example, I visited my folks in the Caribbean.  On the last day I discovered that the dry cleaners had ruined an expensive sweater.  The folks took it and handled it.  As locals it was easy for them as they pass the dry cleaners daily. Equally importantly, they speak with the local accent and know the people.  I’ve been gone for 25 years, have long since lost the accent, and the right attitude.  As it was, the owner was a former student of my fathers.  The owner asked for the value of the sweater, opened the till, and gave them cash right then and there.  Five minutes.  It would have taken me a lot more time and energy to coordinate that long distance from 4000 miles away.

  17. This has already been escalated to a Facebook page group and the war’s been in place for some time now.  I would imagine, no matter who’s doing the calling, US Airways is done doing anything for the OP and her father.

    I agree the injury is/was severe.  Certainly the OP’s father should have gotten more than a slap on the back and a hale fare thee well, but they were beating a dead horse the instant they went to the court of public opinion.  The time to do that is AFTER they’be exhausted all avenues of assistance, not before.  (I wonder if I can use any more adages?)

    I agree with the OP perhaps a bump up to Business Class would have been a nice gesture on the part of the airline but to ask for a full refund is just asking too much.

    To be honest, Chris, I think this particular problem had run its course between their first contact with you and now.  I just don’t see there’s any more you can do that hasn’t already been done.

    1. The FB shame site features cases from YEARS ago. That is more of a “blackmail” site than a “hey, we got screwed, here’s our story…” situation if you ask me.

  18. I am not sure how I feel about this situation-  I just know that it should not have happened in the first place.  Hopefully with all of these new luxury airlines (here are some articles examples from Le Chic Travel) http://lechictravel.com/category/travel/  customer care and customer service on airlines will be more of a priority.

  19. There is little that you can do to assist the OP at this stage.  Doubtlessly, others will disagree with me, but IMO in seeking redress the OP and her father went about this in the wrong way.  They had a good cause of action, but in dealing with a major corporation, they served themselves badly by their approach. 
    They should not have done this on their own, but should have consulted a lawyer who would have given them proper advice.  After all, we are dealing with physical (bodily) injury here that required medical attention.  A lawyer would have recognized that the UA employee had other means of preventing the PAX from boarding.  For instance, calling ahead to the aircraft for him to be returned to be dealt with would have been one such alternative.  Instead, the employee’s insistence and intimidation that caused the PAX to go up the down escalator flew in the face of safety and caused his injury.  Possibly, there could have been recovery for negligence due to the actions of the UA employee, for pain and suffering, and loss of earnings, etc.  The OP is seeking a reimbursement of her father’s ticket, but this is not the best remedy for what he endured. 
    Consulting a lawyer does not automatically lead to litigation.  Lawyers are skilled at composing letters that set out the facts of a situation in unemotional and well-reasoned terms.   In fact, in many cases, a lawyer’s intervention can save the plaintiff from costly litigation.  UA would not be as inclined to ignore communication from a lawyer as quickly and as easily as it would the complaint of an individual. 

    1. USAir, Not United here.  And I agree – a firm, professional letter rather than these tactics would have better served them in the end.  Nothing left for Chris to do here!

        1. Don’t feel bad, Sadie. This OP is nuts…on her FB page she blasts the landing in the Hudson.

          Umm…that was a miracle. 

          But apparently “Ooooh…loook…I can try to make USAir look shitty…!!!” takes precendence over common sense.

          1.  Look how bad they are, geese flew into the engine destroying it and the amazing pilot was able to save the life of every passenger, they are such a bad airline. :rolls eyes: 
            Seriously, how does “J” believe that to be a bad story about US Air? It was called “Miracle on the Huston” for a reason.  I was #3 for takeoff at LGA when that happened, I still count my blessings.  But it’s good to know had that been my flight; Captain Sullivan would have kept me alive.

  20. A reasonable person would have rode down and then back up.  If there was no way up they should have shrugged and waited for the agent to come down.  Running up a down escalator is just stupid.

    1. he did not run up. he is not 4 yrs old. he is a 63 y/o elder man which again still makes me ask, why are you asking an elderly man to walk up?

        1. She lists the landing in the Hudson as a blunder by USAirways on her FB page.

          That says more about this little tart than anything, IMNSHO.

          1. Raven, she is obviously ANGRY.
            If your parents were treated this way you would be, too. I would. The difference is you or I would not be in FB writing crap. You and I will sue the airlines in court.
            I suspect they are an immigrant Korean family who feels their honor was slighted. Perhaps they took this a bit too personal. But people react in different ways.
            My small piece of advice to them is to go easy on social networking and try small claims court. They might get a sympathetic judge. I deal with a lot of Asian clientele here in NYC and have to be very sensitive to the different cultural traits. There is no way I can be as direct (talking) to them as I am here in this forum.

          2. yes, I was angry, and I still am, but I am not attacking anyone on this blog personally because there’s always going to be people like this along the way. 

            In regards to suing this in court, we are taking different measures with this case, but yes, Tony, all I ask is for people to actually, think outside the box. Imagine this happened to you. For all we know, Raven is a US AIR employee who was probably giving an honorary mention or will be “Employee of the Month” and receive some sort of plaque next month. *shrugs* If I could, I’d give Raven a big fat hug for being so dedicated in partaking his/her whole day on this issue, and it shows that s/he has some us airways ties:) You and I also very well know that it is an internet generation and actions speak louder than words… More airlines react far more quickly with numerous amounts of tweets & fb comments.. how else would you get the word out?

            I used different situations to prove that US AIR is definitely #1 in flying. 

            Let me give you a quick piece of advice. Asians like to be treated like everyone else.. Know the Golden Rule? No? Google it! Not that hard to follow… and it’s also how you address a certain situation.

            Bodega, I’m not even going to start on this one. You crack me up! One thing for sure, dramatic? No. Overly protective of one’s parents, YES. Ciao!

          3. You can overuse a good thing.  You should look at not being so dramatic.  It might help you. I have looked at your FB page and read what you have posted so far and IMHO this isn’t helping you. The refund request is a joke.  Now if you were addressing safety with a better tone, you might get some attention. Drop the yelling (capitalizing of all letters of a word). What is at your disadvantage is that you were not present and are allowing your emotions to interfere with the presentation of your concern.

          4. J, I’m sorry but you lost me. I’ll really appreciate it if you try not to be too angry and perhaps explain to me (or us) what you mean by thinking outside the box. I’m trying to understand how you want justice for your injured Dad.

          5. LOLOL.
            Okay, Cupcake, listen up. 

            You know nothing about me. I don’t work for an airline, but I do spend an uncanny amount of time in airports. Due to my work schedule and the mind numbing amount of hours spent waiting on planes, I have plenty of time to kill reading this site.

            I was sympathetic to your cause until I read the FB site where you utilize stories that have nothing to do with poor customer service.

            AND…when the airline did show some empathy for a pax on a non ref ticket, you didn’t bother to mention that.

            Your FB group reminds me of Fox News, actually…just telling the side of the story you want us to know…Peace.

          6. “… but I am not attacking anyone on this
            blog personally because there’s always going to be people like this
            along the way. ”

            Read:  I’m not going to call you an idiot, moron.

            I believe Meebo said a reasonable person would have RODE down the escalator and then RODE back up.  And then you jump on someone for something about not being a 4 year old?  Do you actually READ these things? 


          7. Now that it has come up again, it is my understanding that the standard of the reasonable person is not used unrestrictedly.  The standard as it applies to this case would be, “What would the reasonable person in this situation (one who was ordered imperiously by a USAir employee in the aircraft boarding area to ascend the down escalator) have done?
            Everyone who frequents this blog knows that if one disobeys a direct order from an airport employee, one runs the serious risk of having security being called immediately.  Once said security personnel descend on one, the situation quickly escalates and we know who will come off the worse for it.  The following article appeared in our local paper today.  I hold no brief for the person involved and am only using this to illustrate how very real the consequences for disobedience in instances like this can be.

          8. Your accusations about Raven being a shill for USAir just lost you what little credibility you had!

          9. She has every right to be angry, Tony. I was with her until I saw her smear campaign has been taken to the level of smacking USAirways for the Miracle on the Hudson.

            She should be grateful that the pilot was so skilled to save everyone’s life when a bird strike happened.

            And the idiot who scammed a church over her baggage fees? How the Hell was that USAir’s fault?!?

            Bad experiences do not warrant yellow journalism, IMHO.

          10. Like I said, her social networking (i.e. Facebook) strategy is not working. She is not getting much sympathy in this board either. So maybe that should be a clue to change strategy. I also think there are LOST IN TRANSLATION issues somewhere and that adds to the FRUSTRATION. They might have more luck suing in court because the injury was real. I really sympathize with her parents. But for some reason, our attention is being drawn elsewhere.

            Added: BTW I rarely go to FB but this time I did to read the Boycott US Air stuff. Frankly, my head started spinning. I would not advice anyone to do anything like that.

  21. Hi all, my name is Jennifer, the victim’s daughter… to answer many of your questions, and to explain from my perspective, i really don’t think we’re asking for much. most people would actually go beyond and be absolutely out of control. the reimbursement of their trip was simply because they ruined their trip. you’re lucky we didn’t take it to a different level. there was no way to come back up. it was the last step prior in boarding the plane. my father had no way to turn. please think about that before you call anyone “stupid.” THANKS! im sure we all hear stories where people say that they disobey the TSA’s orders and they get arrested. my father was simply being a good person, following the orders. had the agent screwed up in scanning the ticket, then, it’s THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO COME DOWN. 

    as chris_in_nc states, i do appreciate you chris, for getting the word out in publishing this article, and to many others, i just hope you all don’t have to go through this…to make matters worse, us airways blocked me in further commenting, and etc… they obviously know what they did was wrong, and yes, davidyoung2, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! they BANNED me from commenting.. PERIOD! who does that? get over it, accept your wrongdoings. in the end, we just want our flights reimbursed for ruining the trip. is that really so much to ask? $200 vouchers?!?!?! is this some joke?! patty, they did NOT pay for our medical expenses…stitching up 12-15x is not going to do, and on top of that, such a poor job!

    bob, if you were in this situation, you would have done exactly what my father would have done. the agent was screaming at him, giving him the finger. 

    im not asking for everyone to be on our side but try to put yourself in our situation, that’s all i ask. thank you everyone

    1. I would like to know why you are featuring years-old cases on your Facebook shame site.

      To me, that seems more of a way to look like an extortionist and less like a customer with a legit claim.

      Also, if you are writing to an airline, please take care to use proper capitalization and spelling. When I worked for hotels answering letters/emails, we often just threw the “barely literate” ones in the trash.

      Honestly, I don’t think you are entitled to the flights reimbursed because the airline did fulfill its contract in getting you from Point A to Point B in the class of service booked.

      1. thank you for taking me back to English 101 in the proper usage of spelling and capitalization, but are we writing to an airline as we speak? no, i’m just simply writing freely. no harsh feelings, thanks for the tip, but i know 🙂

        1. It’s difficult to read your “free” writing here on this board.

          Anyway, you have not answered my question. Why are you using years-old cases in your shame campaign?

          1. The “landing in the Hudson” was years ago. And frankly, that should be a counted as a blessing and not a blunder.

            Not to mention the IDIOT who went to the airport with $30 in her pocket and couldn’t pay her baggage fees. She then extorted the cash from a church and when USAirways caved to (unnecessary and unwarranted) pressure and refunded some money, she STIFFED the church.

            But I guess in your smear campaign, truth doesn’t matter.

            The woman with the $4200 in NON REF tickets had those refunded. So…your journalism is stinky at best and highly misleading at worst.

          2. Oh, I see what you’re trying to say. Didn’t click for a sec… FYI, I am posting up different times US AIR has been featured as one of the best airlines, that’s all:) I’m assuming US Air has given you a gold star today for being such an honorary commenter. Have a great day, pal:)

          3. Why would your site called “Boycott US Airways” be, “posting up different times US AIR has been featured as one of the best airlines.”? Isn’t that counterintuitive?

          4. This is what we call backpedaling.
            She was called out on her stupidity and now is trying to cover it.

    2. I am sorry your father was injured and thankfully not more seriously. 

      One thing that gets mentioned here a lot, is the dramatics in letters written. I have a hard time believing that a gate agent gave your father the finger.  Was your parents trip really ruined?  No.  It had a sad ending to hopefully a good trip.  Was there a need to have the tickets refunded?  No, they got to their trip and they got home.  Was an upgrade needed?  No, but it would have been nice if the carrier did that, but often those seats are full due to business travelers, so it may not have been possible. 

      As for the medical expenses, I would have asked for those to be covered instead of for the cost of the tickets.  Also, a $200 voucher is common from many of the carriers when they receive a complaint.  Which now we need to ask, what was the reason for the request to have your father return to the gate? If indeed there was no other way to get back to the gate, I hope you addressed that to USAIR.  The request to walk up a down escalator is ridiculouly dangerous as your father proved and what if a person was incapable?  Often pointing these things out helps improve things for others instead of just focusing on you when writing a letter of complaint.

      1.  One thing I’ve found working with a lot of Europeans in my job is that the use of the middle finger to point at something on a page, at a person etc., is used much more innocently and frequently then Americans are used to.  It can be disconcerting until you realize that it’s not intended as an insult at all.  This piece of the complaint (giving the father the finger) could be just a cultural misunderstanding….

    3. Jennifer, it is clear that your father was injured as a result of trying to obey the airline agent. Maybe you need to go to a real court and try to get justice there instead of spending more time in this “court of public opinion”. To be honest with you, I am not sure what I or my 3 sons would do if an agent gave me the finger.

    4. From the story:
      “another employee who scanned my ticket, gave me the finger to come back up to see her.”
      From your post:
      “the agent was screaming at him, giving him the finger.”

      Which is it? Did the agent motion with her finger to come back up…or give him “the finger”?

      Chris stated the medical bills appear to have been paid by the airline. You state the airline did NOT pay…which is it?

  22. Are any of the commenters who cited (allegedly) reimbursed medical expenses as a reason why there’s nothing to mediate willing to revisit their comments or their vote? 

    This doesn’t need to be a he-said/she-said issue.  If US Airways claims it covered anything, is it not reasonable to expect that they’d have documentation to that effect?

    1. It’s reasonable to assume that people thought the bills were paid based on Chris’ statements in the story. The poster has now come out with statement indicating they weren’t. Most of the comments to that were made prior to that post.

      1. I don’t know if the medical bills are the central complaint, but I had been left with the impression that they were taken care of. Based on the photo of the injury, and the treatment record I was shown, he was treated in Spain and then discharged. If there were additional medical expenses, then Shin would have to take the matter up with US Airways’ insurance company. An upgrade to business class, as I mentioned in the story, would have certainly been a nice gesture, but the airline didn’t have to do that.

          1. I don’t think even the airport could be found responsible for someone getting injured while going up a down escalator.  He would have to prove there was some sort of malfunction with the escalator, or some sort of safety issue with the escalator.  Maybe if there was a gaping hole at the bottom and to save his own life he had to go up the down escalator, then the airport could be responsible for his injury.

          2. If he gashed his knee on a part of the escalator that should have had a guard over it or something like that, then maybe, but there’s been no hint of anything like that and he was engaged in a dangerous and prohibited act by trying to go the wrong way on the escalator. I can see blame to divide between him and the employee, but hard to see how anybody else would be liable.

          3. No. This was in Europe, and in Europe, when you do something really stupid – like walking down on the up-escalator – it’s your own fault. The OP-dad would have to present some really convincing evidence he was “forced” to do this, and then it would be the airline-people who’d be blamed – not the airport, or the escalator company, or whoever it was who didn’t warn the OP-dad about the dangers of wrong-way’ing on an escalator.

          1. Never mind, she admits below they did pay the medical bills at the airport.  But then says there were additional expenses that they should pay too.

    2. If the airline didn’t reimburse the medical bills, I would change my vote.

      However, the story reads that those were taken care of…so???

  23. What was the problem that made the gate agent point to them to come back? If I’m already on a down escalater that is moving  (was it moving), I’m not going back up. These agents have communicators and can tell the people further down the line what the problem is. What is the finger? Was this an index finger or “the” finger and if the middle finger what was that about.
     I have had an agent take the wrong ticket from me and I found out at my next destination where they fixed it.
    So what was the problem the agent had to begin with?
    I think Shin made a mistake to go back up the escalator.
    I think if Shin had fell on the escalator they would have fixed his knee anyhow whether anyone was at fault or not. Insurance is good in this instance.

  24. this is my final comment for the evening. i’m tired of clarifying, and it was not my intention to stay online all day commenting. if you all read my blurb earlier, i did mention that i’m not asking everyone to be on my side, and i already knew i was going to get a good amount of haters or folks who disagreed with me, and i’m fine with that… 

    sry, TonyA, i’m not on this page to seek sympathy, rather i am here, and thankful, even though mr elliot is known to be a consumer advocate, and wrote his article in a neutral tone, i was fine with it because i just wanted to get the word out. emanon256, raven & chris, he did get stitched up 12x at the airport, but there are additional expenses that the airline should be liable for. oh and one last thing, it is not about backpedaling nor is it counterintuitive… something called, “sarcasm”… 

    to everyone who took the time in sharing your comments, (yes, all of them) and messaging me and liking my boycott page, i want to thank you guys for your time. for all the haters on this page, life’s too short! smile & here’s a big fat hug… next time, think about flying about US AIR, the #1 airlines in customer satisfaction!


    1. No, Cupcake. It is backpedaling and if seeing hundreds of lives saved by a very skilled captain is your idea of “sarcasm,” please…get your head examined.

    2. Could you please outline the facts for us so we could get a better understanding of the situation?
      1.       Did the agent give your father the finger, or simply motion for you father to return?  You say both things interchangeably throughout your posts, yet they are quite different.
      2.       Did US Airways pay for your father’s medical treatment?  Did they pay at the airport clinic but not later?  Did your father incur additional expenses? What are these expenses? (i.e. pain and suffering, lost work, additional medical bills). Basically what did they pay for, and what did they not pay for. You don’t need to share dollar amounts.  Just the basics so we understand.
      3.       How did you approach US Airways?  Did you send them a letter outlining the situation, or did you start attacking them on FaceBook right away until they banned you.
      People on this site, myself included, share what we would have done and our thoughts based on the information provided.  People on this site want to help you and want to hear your story.   However people on this site also want to understand what happened.  It is very good that you are on here responding to people, but answering them with sarcasm, incomplete sentence, and conflicting information, does not help your case. Perhaps if you had shown a higher level of maturity when working with US Airways in the first place, things would have turned out better.
      Also attacking posters on here will not help you.  I have been actively posting for about a year since Elliott helped me with a situation.  I read his column daily, and respond pretty frequently.  I have learned a lot from people on this site.  Raven has been on here far longer than me, and does not work for US Airways.  There are many other great people here who post daily, and provide great information, and great criticism; both of which are very helpful.  I look forward to their posts every day.

  25. Chris,
    Did you read the FB page? It might not be wise to keep it linked. She lists the Miracle on the Hudson (complete with video) as one of USAir’s blunders. She also features the case of the loon who scammed a church, and the Flying Imams. Neither of those have any bearing on “poor customer service” and let’s face it, the landing was a miracle, not a mistake.

    The one case she has linked that could be seen that way was already resolved, but she posted no update. (Cancer patient with non ref tickets wanted tickets refunded and they were)

    1. Yes, I’ve reviewed her FB page. I think it’s important to link to it for context. Otherwise, my observations about her tone can’t be verified.

      I should say that Jennifer seems perfectly nice, and has never been anything less than polite in all of our dealings. I’m just not sure if she has the strongest case here.

      1. I actually support some forms of “public shaming.” Let’s face it, “United Breaks Guitars” was brilliant and so was the video of the FedEx guy tossing a monitor over a fence. Had the homeowner just complained about that, we all know that FedEx would’ve blamed the shipper, the shipper would’ve blamed FedEx, and round and round they’d go while the customer was screwed.

        I just don’t think her approach is rational, given the content of the FB page, but I agree it is good to see the context.

  26. This has to be one of the most interesting stories by far for me.  I’ve been keeping up with this since it was first published the other day.  I do appreciate anytime the OP comes here to discuss their case with us in the comments as I do in this case.

    Firstly, I voted no because while the accident is sad and unfortunate, they were able to get home and with the lost baggage, while it truly sucks, it does not merit a full refund (their vacation was completed).  I would’ve just asked for my baggage fees to be refunded and called it a day.

    When you take your case to be publicly shamed like on Facebook and scream from the high heavens about being wronged, I know that I will refuse to help you let alone even respond to you like USAir did.  Any chance of a better resolution is now gone after this and I think OP would be better off letting this situation go and hopefully learn to be more rational and compromising instead of letting anger take control when something unfortunate happens.

  27. At the risk of repeating myself, I’d be very grateful if we could remember our manners when commenting on this case, and any case that I write about. Jennifer is a real person. Some of the comments that have been made here are hurtful to her. Let’s keep this civil, please.

      1. Her FB shame site is misleading. The Flying Imans, the Miracle on the Hudson, and the Idiot Woman who Scammed a Church are not USAir’s fault in terms of customer service. The one case she features was resolved in favor of the customer (Cancer patient with non ref tix). 
        So, perhaps you’re prefer that I call her “Liar Liar Pants on Fire” instead of “Cupcake?”

        1. My point is, just as you believe her site is misleading, your use of derogatory terms lessens your statements.  You have a lot of valid posts that contribute to this site.  I hate to see your arguments diluted by this. 

      2. So what about her use of the term ‘pal’ which contributed to the rest of her writings as being emotional.  If you are going to have a complaint, be factual and keep emotions out of the letters/posts.  The yelling, the lower case letters, lack of puncuation over here doesn’t help her any and it certainly gives her FB page a juvenile touch and appearance.  Much like those at the gate who stomp their feet and tell the agent how important they are to that company, they look foolish.  I wonder how much more the father would have accomplished had he written the letter, even if his use of the English language is limited.  His daughters rants have not worked.

        1. Agreed – the OP use of the word “pal” (which, IMO, doesn’t begin to carry the antagonistic intensity that “cupcake” does) is sarcastic and has no place in a thoughtful presentation or debate.

  28. I doubt the airline employee actually gave Shin “the finger” but rather crooked his/her finger in a “come here” gesture. Imperfect command of English is part of the problem here.

    1. That would seem reasonable, but when the narrative from the OP seems to be inconsistent, one can’t help but sense a lack of credibility. 

      Perhaps all the more reason for Chris or an attorney to become involved, to assist them in writing a professional well worded letter that identifies the problems and the requested resolution.

      Reimbursement for the ticket is probably too much to ask, but assistance with medical bills may not be out of the question. If nothing else, the insurance company would bring USAirway’s side of the story to the table. 

  29. It’s unfortunate that the man got hurt.  The injury has nothing to do with claiming a refund on his airfare.  If someone in uniform had yelled at him to walk through the window, would he have done so?  This is just another story of someone doing something stupid and refusing to take responsibility for his own actions.

  30. Ticket is for transportation from point A to point B which is fulfilled by US Airways. If you believe you were not compensated appropriately for the injury you need to consult with an attorney.

  31. not sure what all the fuss with the comments is about.  you are not supposed to go against the escalator direction for a reason.  thus, if you’re ordered to go against the flow it is obviously a risk – you are being ordered to break the rules.  us airways was dumb not to just give up first class tickets and squash the situation.  i think ticket reimbursement is appropriate.  i would be pissed if this happened to me or anyone in my fam.

  32. How is it possible that employees of a major airline company can get away with this type of behavior? The answer: The airline companies do not care because they realized the public is too apathetic to make a substantial impact on their image. Initially, large corporations feared public opinion and negative publicity. Corporations quickly realized their fears were of no consequence.

    The difficulty with gathering support behind a cause is 1) finding a common denominator that will resonate with the audience and 2) making it easy for the public to get involved.

    Here, it is easy to place yourself in the others shoes since most people (I dare say all) would be offended if they were treated in such a manner. Also, there is no time or cost associated with supporting this campaign (simply vote yes and like).

    If we cannot send a message to these companies that the public will not tolerate their lack of professionalism and courtesy, we might as well give them permission to slap as around.

    1. I was with the OP until the story started changing and her FB shame site was full of irrelevant incidents.

      For instance, the original post states that the father’s medical was covered. Then “Jen” shows up and says it wasn’t, then backpedals and says, yes it was.

      The father was “given the finger” in one account and in another account was “gestured to return” with a finger. There’s a big difference there.

      The FB shame site lists Capt. Sully’s landing in the Hudson as a blunder. When I called Jen on it in a thread above, she claimed she was “just listing stories about USAirways.” Right. On a BOYCOTT SITE!?!?!?

      When I didn’t buy that, she called it “sarcasm.”

      So, the OP’s sense of humor is that hundreds of lives were saved by a very skilled pilot? I fail to see the amusement there.

      Between the inconsistent stories, the shame site that makes no sense, and the OP coming here and changing her tune when called on nonsense, I lost all sympathy.

      1. We should focus on the relevant facts: 1) A major airline company employee or independent contractor (either way still wearing the airlines uniform), 2) abusing their authority and violating all the written and unwritten rules of decorum and civility, 3) by and through the airline agents actions, a passenger was injured, and 4) even after all of these egregious actions, the airline nor the employee had the common decency to apologize.

        Raven, I wholeheartedly understand your point of view. When there are inconsistencies in some of the facts, it is natural to become a bit apprehensive. However, facts get distorted naturally over time, due to emotion, different points of view (ie: physical location of the observer and/or different cultural background, upbringing, etc.). It is just my humble opinion whether the father was given the finger or gestured to return with the finger has no bearing on the determination of whether the US Air agent was rude and discourteous. Even if the finger in question was removed from the facts, the behavior of the US Air agent is still unacceptable.

        In my opinion, conveying a story accurately to someone else is one of the hardest things to do. However, we should not punish the victim or get distracted from the real issues due to some errors on the storytellers part.

        1. Not if it is the truth – there is NO reason for a story to change if it is.  She called him back or she yelled at him, she crooked her finger or gave him the finger, the bills were paid or they weren;t.  THOSE facts should NOT change in the telling of a story – provided they are the truth!

          1. @Lindabator:disqus Take for instance a game of telephone. The information changes by the time it reaches the end of the line. Unless the inconsistent facts are outcome determinative, they are minor details. Whether the agents gave the father the finger or not, whether the medical bills were paid or not have no bearing on the question: whether the agents behavior was unacceptable?

            Simply conveying a message accurately from one friend to another is difficult to do. Adding anger, outrage, and a sense of urgency to get some justice makes it all the more difficult.

            Focus on the relevant facts.

          2. One of the “relevant facts” is that she has frequently changed significant details in her story. That’s not an issue of “telephone.”

          3.  So what are the significant details in the story that have been changed? So far crooked finger or the finger and/or medical bills paid or not does not change the conclusion that US Airways was acting unprofessionally. Asking for reimbursement for their ticket is not an unreasonable request given the circumstances.

        2. The aggrieved party is the FATHER. He got hurt trying to follow the instructions (to come back up) of the airline. We should all focus on HOW TO MAKE HIM WHOLE. 

          The question today is does the airline owe him more than paying for his medical bills, re-booking him and giving him $200 worth of vouchers. The victim (through his daughter) does not think so. I understand they want a refund. Is that a reasonable compensation for pain and suffering? I don’t know. But that for me is the crux of the issue – what is a reasonable compensation for the pain and suffering of Mr.Shin? I am not a lawyer but I believe there is enough case law and history for something like this.

          Finally, we can see that not all social media is effective in shaming an airline. Perhaps there are too many complainers shouting at the same time that viewers have become desensitized to minor wounds. It’s not sensational enough. That said, maybe people need to think twice before they make a lot of angry statements in facebook. It might just make them look foolish and detract from getting true justice.

    2. Bravo! I would like to add one assumption (my guess). I think that the ’employee’ in question is not even an airline employee. I have taken enough flights to Europe to observe that USA carriers rarely put their own staff over there. This ’employee’ is likely a contract worker. That is enough reason not to care for the airline’s customers. The least common denominator is apathy.  When low cost labor is the goal, then to expect more service today is insanity.

  33. So do they want everyone to boycott US Airways or do they want their flight reimbursed?  It just seems that they don’t even know what is enough for them.  I would stay out of this one, it doesn’t seem the OP will ever be happy until US Airways goes out of business.

    1. If you look at the title of this post it is clear what remedy is desired. They want to be reimbursed for their ticket and that is all. The fact US Air has continuously denied their requests for reimbursement have lead to this outrage.

      It is strange how you can conclude the aggrieved has no idea of what is enough for him when that is very very clear.

  34. At the risk of sounding like many of the previous commentators before me, Ms. Shin’s case is paper-thin at best due to her irrational tone and behavior in attempting (and we use that word carefully) to publicly shame/extort USAirways vis a vis an FB shame page that is patently absurd.  I’ve seen the page–has everyone else?  Clearly, OP had it in mind to populate that page by googling and posting ever imaginable mishap USAirways has experienced in recent years.  The problem with this tactic is as Raven says–by trying to leverage these so-called blunderous incidents, she only goes to show how far she’s willing to stretch the bounds of credulity.  The miracle on the Hudson was aptly called a “miracle” for good reason.  I’m from NYC and we all remember that day as a truly remarkable moment.  And, yes, all those other incidents she has linked to on her FB page bear no relevance to her case.  What OP is asking for–the full price of the ticket–is outlandish as the party was treated, released and fulfilled at the time of the incident without any other damage, as per her own statements.

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