Two United Airlines Gate Agent Pet Peeves of Mine


I have a few pet peeves of United Airlines Gate Agents, and coincidentally, I'm bumping into two of these this morning. Granted, I think many of these irks are characteristics of ALL gate agents, regardless of airline, but I have the most experience with United. Here are the following that I'm hitting today:

  1. Telling Everyone that the Flight is Going to Completely Full When it's Not - I'm staring at the monitor, and it is showing over 20 seats available on the flight less than 30 minutes before departure. The standby list is only 5 names long. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be a COMPLETELY full flight! We will not have any extra room on this flight, and there will be no empty seats so please make sure to fill up that space in front of you first." I understand that the intention is to get infrequent travelers to be smart about their baggage, but the lack of truth still annoys me.
  2. Not Clearing Standbys Until the Last Possible Moment, Even When They Don't Need To - I'm flying standby this morning. Thankfully, I'm number one on the list. There are only six people on the list. There are over 20 available seats on the plane. And yet, I am sitting here writing a blog post while the flight begins boarding. When I went to go ask if I could be cleared, the gate agent spoke to me with that classic condescending airline tone: "Sir, we will call your name if we have space on this flight." Okay. Fine. Let's play that game.

In any case, none of these are terrible infractions against the flying population - just two things that annoy me! What are your airline pet peeves?

Update from the plane: Gah! The flight attendant is also telling us how "full" this flight is going to be!

Update 2 from the plane: Wow, since the birth of United's Unlimited Domestic Upgrades, this is the first plane I've seen with empty seats in First Class! Kinda neat :-)... quite surprising to see that on a route like LAX-SFO...


Laura_mh December 27, 2011 at 06:42 pm

Kevin, your first peeve happened to me on Dec. 22 on a United (CO) regional jet flight from IAH. The day prior, the flght looked full but no standbys listed. Day of, the kiosk at IAH indicates the flight may be oversold, do I want to take a later flight for X$? I had to answer no (due to family holiday obligations). Then, less than an our later we're ready to board and the GA gives the "Our flight today is completely full..." announcement. About 10 minutes later we're all loaded and ready to go - all 30 of us on a plane that holds 50.

HunterSFO December 27, 2011 at 09:34 pm

I did have a flight once where the FA came on the PA and said "this flight will NOT be full today. You can put all of your items in the overhead bin" It was a 757 with about 85 empty seats

NYWings March 5, 2013 at 02:58 pm

Your number two pet peeve happens because there are realy crazy people who spend all morning at the airport starbucks, walk up the gate at the last minute, and want to purchase the window bulkhead first class seat for an extra $3,000. It happens. A lot. I swear I'm not lying. I know it's frustrating to have to wait, but it's even more frustrating for the passengers already seated to have to be un-seated. Not to mention the gate agent having to reseat that person and probaly making the plane late.

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