Titanic Tickets - Compensation for Olympic's Passengers?


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Aaron_2016

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I noticed that quite a number of 1st class passengers who sailed on the troubled voyage of the Olympic to England in late Feb 1912 would later return to America just weeks later on the Titanic. The odd thing is, that crossing in late Feb was almost a disaster as the Olympic lost a blade and the vibration woke up the passengers and she had to sail at reduced speed. The captain immediately set course for Belfast fearing the worst and sent a wireless report to the head office informing them of his desire to set course for Belfast for immediate repairs. The passengers must have been deeply worried about their connections and hotel reservations as the damaged ship was sailing at reduced speed with vibration, and their destination was not yet certain. After an exchange of messages the ship set course for Plymouth. This must have been a very troubling voyage, but despite this quite a number of 1st class passengers would soon return to America on the Titanic just weeks later.

Have to wonder why they chose the sister of the Olympic after that disastrous voyage? Did the company offer them compensation and give them discounted fares or even free tickets for the Titanic crossing as a token of their apologise and for their silence to the press that the incident would remain out of the papers? The Titanic was just weeks away from her maiden voyage and the company could have done without any sensational stories about her sister's recent mishap.

Did the passengers specifically choose to sail on the Titanic despite what happened to them on the Olympic, or were they given discount fares for the Titanic's crossing? I understand the same thing happens with cruise lines and airlines nowadays.


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Dave Gittins

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If I know White Star, the Olympic passengers had to like it or lump it. They were bound by the conditions on their tickets, part of which read----

Neither the Ship Owner or the Passage Broker or Agent is responsible for loss for loss of or injury to the Passenger or his luggage or personal effects, or delay on the voyage arising from steam, latent defects in the Steamer, her machinery, gear or fittings, or from act of God, King's enemies, perils of the sea or rivers, restraints of princes, rulers and peoples, barratry or negligence in navigation of the Steamer or any other vessel.

Bet you don't know what barratry is!
 
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Rob Lawes

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Bet you don't know what barratry is!
Yeah, its those things that are made by Duracell and never come included in children's toys. ;)

Actually its:

barratry - noun
  1. 1.
    archaic
    fraud or gross negligence of a ship's master or crew at the expense of its owners or users.
 
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Harland Duzen

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...or from act of God, King's enemies, perils of the sea or rivers, restraints of princes, rulers and peoples...
If there was a better example of how time's change, this quote proves it!

I presume "act of God" would be for Poseidon-capsizing waves or Bermuda Triangle incidents.
 

Dave Gittins

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"Act of God" is still a recognised legal term. It means things that are beyond human control, such as earthquakes.
 
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Mark Baber

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Aaron, why do you describe that trip as "disastrous"? No one was hurt, there was no major damage to the ship and late arrivals were not unheard of. From the passengers' point of view, it was likely not the traumatic experience that you seem to think it was, and I'm quite certain that the idea of their being "compensated" never occurred to them or to White Star.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Perhaps not disastrous in regards to damage, but for the passengers the journey was very unsettling even by today's standards, and for 1st class passengers if the voyage was not perfect in its entirety and did not meet their highest expectations then I believe a number of them would demand to be compensated and would later discuss the voyage with others as disastrous e.g. The steward spilling wine on their dress or a passenger eating a meal that did not meet their standards of cooking = "The night was a total disaster." That night there was a sudden shock and vibration which woke up the passengers. It may have caused some to become hysterical and spread panic and fear as the rumours spread, especially in 3rd class with the language barriers making it harder to keep the passengers calm and the vibration much more noticeable. I doubt many got much sleep that night.

First reports said that Captain Smith thought the ship was badly damaged and would head for Belfast. This is an indication as to how bad it may have been. They probably had to stop the engines and have the carpenter sound the ship. The officers and chief engineer may have calculated if they had enough coal to reach Belfast at their reduced speed. The passengers may have caused chaos for the wireless operators who were sending and receiving messages to each relative and friend about the changes in travel and hotel arrangements and then once their destination was confirmed and ETA they would send more messages to their relatives, and those ashore may have read the news reports and sent rumours back to the Olympic which caused more unnecessary panic on the ship.

There are elements that are unknown e.g. Passengers injured and quietly compensated or maybe they were just glad to reach land that they wanted to put the event behind them e.g. Nobody wants to ruin their own holiday by complaining about the flight. They probably gave the White Star a second chance and thought things will be better on the return voyage to New York on the 'Titanic'.

Just baffled why so many would sail on the Titanic so soon after experiencing that voyage on the Olympic, only to end up going down on the Titanic a month or so later.


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Rob Lawes

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Alternatively, so many returned on the Titanic because they weren't bothered by their voyage on the Olympic.

Olympic suffered a mechanical issue. These things happened all the time. I think using words like 'Panic' is over doing it a little.

Panic is realising the ships going down and there are no lifeboats left.

A change of arrival destination is an inconvenience at best.
 
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Aaron_2016

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When the Napa Valley lost a blade in 1919 the after effect was terrible for the passengers. My understanding is that the passengers on the Olympic who were berthed near the stern would have felt something similar.



NapaValley.PNG


propnapa.PNG



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Mark Baber

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A change of arrival destination is an inconvenience at best.
And even that didn't happen in this case. Olympic discharged her passengers at Southampton, as usual; she did not go directly to Belfast with them on board.
 
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Aaron_2016

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The papers said the Captain was intending to go to Belfast and then went to Plymouth. I believe it was bound to cause some unrest for the passengers as they did not have a PA system. Not sure who made the announcements to the passengers. Was it written on a notice board with daily reports?

New York Tribune

nytribune.PNG


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Mark Baber

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That confirms what I said, Aaron. Plymouth was a regular call on the New York-Southampton service. After Plymouth, she made her regular call at Southampton before heading to Belfast.

In terms of its effect on the passengers, I think you're making more of this than should be.
 

Rob Lawes

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@Aaron_2016 I think we are talking about scale. The Napa Valley was almost certainly a single screw vessel. I note her Captain ran another trip with an unbalanced prop which was an interesting reaction.

Olympic would have run quite cheerfully on one screw as we know after the Hawke collision.

After a spell at sea even those on their first voyage become accustomed to the throb and hum of a ship. Ships are unbelievably noisy with the sound of ventilation systems, engines, pipework, ocean noises and the general sound of daily life. Any change in the background noise is quickly noted as an issue. Those in cabins near the stern would certainly have known all about a thrown blade. I expect the biggest concern would be a delayed arrival.

I would imagine the Purser's office would have been responsible for updating passengers.
 
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