View Full Version : Virgin Skipper has a Flipper... NOT

10th Nov 2003, 23:11
From the Daily Telegraph :

Virgin passenger barred for ironic remark to pilot
By Paul Marston, Transport Correspondent
(Filed: 08/11/2003)

A Virgin Atlantic captain has been reported to the authorities for barring a passenger who made an ironic comment when the pilot turned up late.

Clive Warshaw was one of 300 travellers booked on a Miami to Heathrow flight that was delayed more than 13 hours after the scheduled pilot suffered an eye infection.

Michele and Clive Warshaw
The passengers were put up in hotels and told to return for an 8am take-off with a replacement captain.

By 7.20am all the passengers were assembled in the departure lounge but no flight or cabin crew had appeared.

The first of the flight attendants entered the lounge 10 minutes later - to be met by a round of mocking applause.

Another 15 minutes elapsed before the substitute pilot, Capt Simon Crook, approached the gate.

As he walked through the lounge, there was renewed clapping from about six passengers including Mr Warshaw, who said: "Well done."

Mr Warshaw, who had paid £3,500 for a business class return, said he was amazed by the captain's reaction.

"He scowled but did not say anything until he reached the gate," Mr Warshaw said. "Then he spoke to one of the ground crew, turned round and pointed toward me. The ground staff told me he would not let me board.

"I couldn't believe it. I just wanted to get home. I asked the ground manager to tell the captain I would apologise. He went into the cockpit but the captain refused to accept the apology.

"Then they had to hold up the flight further while they took my bags off."

The aircraft eventually departed - with Mr Warshaw's wife, Michele, travelling alone - at 9.30am, a total of 15 hours late.

"I wasn't the only one to make a comment," said Mr Warshaw, of Hampstead, north London. "But I think he singled me out because my suit and white hair made me easily identifiable."

He has lodged a complaint with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Three other passengers have written to the airline, complaining about Mr Warshaw's treatment.

However, Virgin said Capt Crook "exercised his responsibilities correctly".

An official said: "The captain felt that Mr Warshaw's behaviour suggested that he could be disruptive during the flight. He felt it was more sensible to carry him on a later flight to let him calm down."

The company said an offer of some form of redress to Mr Warshaw was being prepared.

Interesting !!

Wing Commander Fowler
10th Nov 2003, 23:35
The company said an offer of some form of redress to Mr Warshaw was being prepared.

Hmm..... why if the Captain was indeed "excercising his responsibilities correctly"?


11th Nov 2003, 00:34
More discussion here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=108216).

11th Nov 2003, 00:55
The Skipper was abso-bloody-lutely correct and I congratulate him for having the backbone to do what he did. He removed an obvious troublemaker from his flight.
Better off than on.
Better Safe than Sorry.

Well done sir!:ok:

11th Nov 2003, 01:31
Impossible to judge if this was warranted unless there at the time.Sarcastic applause/comments shouldnt normally merit such a response,but its a post 911 world we live in and airlines are jumpy.
I would add that this Captain must have been "in" with
management.A normal line skipper would be a brave man indeed to take such a decision,esp in a Brit airline,where oldboy network rules.

11th Nov 2003, 01:45
Well I have no idea what the details of this incident are, but only the post above.

It is precisely this sort of publicity that would put potential future passengers off from flying a specific carrier.

15 hours of delay followed by further demeaning from the carrier's representative.

It would be in the carriers interest to ensure that an adequate rebuttal makes the press.

11th Nov 2003, 02:16
He removed an obvious troublemaker from his flight.

What a crock. Have you formed this opinion from what you have read here, or are you privy to more information?

If you base your comment on what you have read here, then what happened to the other passengers. Or, was it singling out a potential ringleader of a group of trouble makers? As Wing Co points out, why is the company offering some form of redress? Or, is it just VS being spineless?

Or, was it simply some very frustrated passengers who had been delayed more than 13 hours. Passengers who having "vented" their frustration in an open environment,would have posed no more of a threat than Mr. Cattle Class who will drink more than he should. As an aside, was there a consideration of the knock-on effect of the reaction of Mrs. Warshaw, and the potential for her to become disruptive on the flight as a direct result of being p*ssed off at what happend?

Jesus, as has been mentioned on the other thread about this, a captain is responsible for his/her aircraft. But, isn't this going a little too far. Or, was it that Captain felt a little embarressed by the taunt and spat the dummy out of the pram?

no reds
11th Nov 2003, 02:23
and what´s more can you imagine having to fly with the pompous dick?

Wing Commander Fowler
11th Nov 2003, 02:25
:ok: Right on Jerry...

Let's face it if all of EZ's Skippers had a similar "Grip on reality" they wouldn't carry any passengers at all would they??

Guy sounds like he may have more problems than his victim based on the facts as displayed to date.....

What a dork!


Norman Stanley Fletcher
11th Nov 2003, 03:01
I imagine this skipper would have some sort of disciplinary action taken against him - and frankly it would be difficult to argue against.

We all face situations where slights of one kind or another are given us and the sensible person recognises that in most cases they should just let the insult pass. And particularly, if someone is representing a company he should be gracious to frustrated customers. To pull rank and make a 'security' issue out of this situation is at best unwise. If the facts are as stated, and we do not necessarily know the whole story here, then this captain has badly let down his company and seriously mishandled the situation. An opportunity to pour oil on troubled waters with a few generous words was missed and instead a good dose of lighted petrol was poured on instead! He has caused needless insult to an important customer and will no doubt be called to account for his unacceptable behaviour.

11th Nov 2003, 03:57
Disciplinary action following a statement like:

Virgin said Capt Crook "exercised his responsibilities correctly".

would be impossible to justify!

Wing Commander Fowler
11th Nov 2003, 04:08
Hmm.... not entirely convinced. How many times has a flight crew been commended for their excellent skills in a newspaper for saving so many lives on board after an incident and then been royally rogered behind the scenes?

I'd say a one of sir dick's is pumping up a stiffy for him as we speak hehe!

11th Nov 2003, 04:14
The VS skipper should get a grip on reality me thinks!!
As a pilot with a major charter operator, I have lost count of the number of times we turn up to the gate and are greeted by jeers, shouts and smart comments. Usually emitting from the shaven headed, tattooed and heavily earingged lads, wearing football shirts, shorts and trainers that occupy the seats nearest to the jet bridge.
Unnecessary comments ,yes, ill disciplined behaviour, yes.
I have to say I can usually just put it down to a bit too much alcohol and holiday hi-jinks. Thats all there is too it.
Occasionally there are very disruptive pax who should of course be denied boarding for all the reasons that have been previously said in the above threads.
Sounds to me that the VS skipper just got pi$$ed off with being clapped and jeered and snapped when a pax made a smart comment to him.

11th Nov 2003, 05:59
It would have had more effect if he had just turned and left the gate lounge again, and made the miserable whingers wait another 18 hours for the next captain.

I bet they would have kept quiet then. :ok:

11th Nov 2003, 06:28
Here here, Captain Crook! I suspect more to this than meets the eye.

Such is the ill-mannered character of this wretch that I think he / she should have perhaps been made to swim back to the UK.

And to think that they write for one of the finest News papers in the world! Stop the rubbish!

P.S Freeway- Would you rather all air travel descended to the lowest denominator? I work for the major Charter operator and have never come across the jeering, etc. you talk of.

11th Nov 2003, 07:00
No wonder this fine profession has gone to the dogs, when a bunch of louts are supported over our own colleagues.

You've all become weak kneed crawlers and ar5e lickers.
Makes me sick to hear this crap. Shame on the lot of you. :mad:

11th Nov 2003, 07:12
Fascinating stuff to conjecture over and easy as hell to slip into Opinion gear, isn't it. On the allegations presented any one of them, captain or offending pax, could be right. Or both of them. Perhaps we'll all luck out and some level-headed witness who saw it all first-hand will elucidate. In the meantime, no wonder countries go to war against each other!

Frosty Hoar
11th Nov 2003, 07:24
As has already been stated, it is impossible to judge this one without being there.....

Maxalt..think it through again will you...if I was judgemental I would assume by your drunken tone that you are also a lout.:D

11th Nov 2003, 07:39
Well I would be interested in more facts if they are ever made available.

On the other hand from reading the posts above you would think that all that is needed is a few facts and black & white opinions follow.

geeez I would hate to be in a crowd among you all and watch the fists begin to fly:(

11th Nov 2003, 09:59
Going by what has been reported on this thread:-

What a great example of paranoia!

I hoped that this was limited to the U.S. of A. Sadly it seems that has spread ……

Does the captain in question not have a sense of humour?

Get a grip on reality, ….. please!

Old King Coal
11th Nov 2003, 13:21
Dogma, wr.t. 'I work for the major Charter operator' - isn't that a bit pretencious ?

11th Nov 2003, 14:00
Well done Simon!

If all the charter operators did the same thing I'd give them some of my hard earned readies by using them.;)

Life is too short and holidays too precious to have to listen to some whinging alcohol fuelled ar$e:{ (not necessarily this case!) moaning and impossing his views on the cabin for XX hours.

It's not the cabin crews fault, but they will have to endure the abuse from some. Removing this person set the scene for any potential rabble rousers that they will not be tolerated, something I think the CC would appreciate. (Viewed in hindsight, I'm not advocating this as pre-boarding ritual:O ).

At last someone thinking of all the other passengers, not just the verbal minority!:ok:

11th Nov 2003, 15:05
Impossible to voice an opinion without being there.
But one thing is clear. Virgin have to publicly back the skipper or they leave themselves open to liability.

11th Nov 2003, 15:08
Have you guys ever shared a 747 with about 350 pax who are spitting mad at having been delayed for 24 hours?
350 pax who feel justified in jeering at the replacement crew when they arrive at the gate? Who think that they have been grievously wronged by the airline and as such are entitled to behave like pigs the entire trip across the atlantic? Experienced the aggressive crowd metailty that develops from their righteous anger being stirred up by a few ringleaders?
I have, and it was a true nightmare. Not only for the cabin crew but for the pax themselves.

By removing one passenger, this captain assured a safe and peaceful flight for all by letting the rest of the pax know that he would not tolerate abuse of his crew in any shape or form.
Nobody likes taking unpopular decisions, and nobody lightly decides to off-load a passenger.
Getting into the cockpit, locking the door and letting the CC deal with a near riot for the next 10 hours would have been the easier option for Captain Crook.
The fact that he chose to take decisive action instead, speaks volumes for his sense of responsibility and his understanding of cabin dynamics.

Gutsy move captain, I'd be happy to fly with you any day Sir! :ok:

11th Nov 2003, 15:17
As a mere SLF (which group actually do the PAYING!), I 'd make damn sure that I never used that airline again - and would advise everyone I knew to avoid them like the plague. At the end of the day, delays like this are costly to the SLF - charge their time at £50 per hour, and the airline owes them! No matter what the delay is caused by.

Think of it this way. You need your car to get to work. The garage doesn't fix it by the time they say they will, don't provide a replacement, and it's too late for you to do anything about it. Wouldn't you be p****d off with them? No matter which innocent got in the way.

There's a fine line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour at times, and as a very frequent flyer, I find that the airline industry has more than an occasional tendency to get very arrogant with the people who pay. No SLF = no jobs (except for the freight dogs)

11th Nov 2003, 15:41
Well I dunno but I've flown with some pretty sh*tfaced sports fans that aren't biffed off.

11th Nov 2003, 15:43
By removing one passenger, this captain assured a safe and peaceful flight for all by letting the rest of the pax know that he would not tolerate abuse of his crew in any shape or form.

I think you mean, "After his airline treated paying customers like scum of earth already, the arrogant four-ringer ensured such contempt would be continued."

Such a display would put me quite off VS. Might even consider voluntarily flying BA, as extreme as that seems!

Now if said passenger has said "About f:mad: ing time, you f:mad: ing thick c:mad: t" I'd be more sympathetic. But it would appear he didn't.

11th Nov 2003, 15:48
The Captain has the responsibility to ensure the safety of the flight. If an individual undermines that authority by publicly mocking that authority the Captain is fully justified in going to the next step of “what if” an in-flight emergency develops. Is this individual going to obey the crew commands in an emergency? Or, as this individual has already demonstrated, flout authority?

It appears to me that this individual showed an amazing lack of good manners and judgment with zero accountability. Hmm it’s almost akin to the behavior of a child yelling for his “Mommy” because someone has shown him that this type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

This incident is all about safety and if the Captain had not removed the offending party he would have been remiss in his duties

11th Nov 2003, 16:02
Would the utterly newted football team follow instructions? Some bloke who says "Well done" even totally sarcastically is hardly guilty of "flouting authority". Jeez you must come from a pretty strict home!:}

11th Nov 2003, 16:11
I cannot believe for one minute that "Well Done" was the only comment made.

This is surely the pax version - I suspect the Captain has a different story to tell.......one which we have not heard on this forum.

11th Nov 2003, 16:16
Dogma.....You might have the Flight Surgeon check your ears for wax...................sounds like you have the same attitude as the arrogant, pompous **** who is a sorry excuse for an otherwise great bunch of people!:p

11th Nov 2003, 16:40
I cannot believe for one minute that "Well Done" was the only comment made.

This is surely the pax version - I suspect the Captain has a different story to tell.......one which we have not heard on this forum.

Couldn't agree more. This guy definately said something more serious than that. The captain was right in every aspect and I'd still fly VS any day!

11th Nov 2003, 16:48
For me, flapsforty has it pretty much right. I have never understood the logic that allows people to feel it is acceptable to behave discourteously to crew for events and circumstances that are completely beyond their control - the equivalent of being rude to a waiter about the shortcomings of the chef.

The original Captain was unavailable for medical reasons (according to the press report shown). This kind of unforseeable event cost VS many hundreds of thousands of pounds and a certain loss of good will. At the same time, these things happen, and a certain degree of forbearance amongst the passengers would be appropriate. The Captain involved in this appears to have been a "substitute": Neither he, nor his crew, would have done anything "bad" to these passengers, and may not even have been present during the original delay. I find myself wondering what Mr Warshaw felt he was achieving with his ironic clapping and jeering. Neither action would get them airborne any more quickly, nor would it enhace the travel experience for fellow passengers or crew: In fact, quite the opposite. In short it would achieve little except to feed Mr Warshaw's dubious sense of his own self worth.

In a serious delay, the majority of customers will accept their bad luck with equanimity and reasonable humour, and reserve their complaint for the airline customer relations department, if there is genuine fault. There are always a very small minority who choose to speak, and behave, appallingly, often under the impression that they speak for the majority. If not handled correctly, they can make a bad situation much worse. As cabin crew, I'll do everything I can to help the majority, who deserve my time and attention, and I welcome any action by the Captain, or indeed any authority, that silences the troublemakers.

11th Nov 2003, 17:08
"After his airline treated paying customers like scum of earth already... "

eal401, what on earth are you on about! The original Captain had an eye infection and was unable to operate the flight. Virgin accommodated all 300 plus passengers overnight in hotels. The passengers were told to check-in for a new departre time of 08.00. The replacement Captain arrived at his aircraft at 07.45. Where is this treating passengers like scum of the earth. Would you expect to have been flown accross the Atlantic by a Captain who could not see properly??!!!

Also you finish - "Now if said passenger has said "About f*ing time, you f*ing thick c*t" I'd be more sympathetic. But it would appear he didn't." This may be nearer the truth than we know. We have only heard one side of the story. Mr Warshaw is hardly likely to go to the press and say that he swore at the crew, is he? He may not have been abusive, but we only have HIS word on that.

11th Nov 2003, 17:31
I was told by my airline...... Not having a standby Captain at LHR is a commercial risk and the company is aware of this.
In this VS case this risk failed and cost big money.
In such cases my airline sort to grab any rated Captain travelling as passenger to operate and failing that any suitable inbound Captain, gave him 9 hours minimum rest at the hotel rather than his more normal layover time and required him to operate the delayed flight SAP.
When min rest was the case you were often legally rested but often were very tired and stressed and certainly in no mood to handle any extra extreame crap such as declaring yourselve unfit to fly and not having your contract renewed.
When a pilot has been jerked around for several years by cost effective rostering and has had his life and any attempted social and holiday arrangements blow to hell on many an occasion he generally becomes all the things he disliked in his senior Captains when he was a Fo.
I do not know the facts in Captain Cooks case but if they were approaching the above circumstances I have been there and have a certain understanding for the backround build up.
All covered as a "Communications problem by our Captain who has been spoken to by our management."
A management that knowingly engineered the no standby Captain risk situation.

Training Risky
11th Nov 2003, 17:44
If I had paid a whopping £3500 for an airline ticket - I would expect to be treated like a prince by the overpaid VS captain whose salary I was paying for the week.

If all I had said was "well done" in a sarcastic manner - I would not expect to be subjected to a 15 hour delay.

I may not be an airline captain myself, but I exercise captaincy as a military helicopter pilot. True, the pax I carry are not under the slightest influence of booze or holiday nerves - they have other matters to think about. Consequently I have never thrown anyone off one of my 'flights' - its a different ball game that I speak of.

But what Capt Crooked did was unacceptable! He ruined the day of a highly paying pax who was just a little irked with the company. The pax was not a booze fuelled skinhead - he was a middle aged man with his wife, and I would wager did not pose any threat to the safe conduct of the flight.

This case has parallels with the american pax who was thrown off a BA flight in San Francisco - because he was wearing a tiny badge that said - potential terrorist.

Overreaction in both cases I think.

If I was Branson, I'd sack Mr Crooked.

11th Nov 2003, 17:51
Good job you are not Mr Branson then, isn't it Training Risky? Like everyone else on this thread you haven't a clue what actually went on, only what has been reported in some newspapers.

11th Nov 2003, 17:52
Training Risky you say

If all I had said was "well done" in a sarcastic manner - I would not expect to be subjected to a 15 hour delay

The delay was not caused by the comment. The comment was caused by the delay i.e. the delay came first. Sorry to be pedantic, but this is surely an important distinction?

11th Nov 2003, 18:09
Training risky,

If you paid any money you have expectations, but ....

So do the crew


so do your fellow passengers.

Just because you have paid doesn't entitle you to abuse or act like a child.

This chap may well have cause to be angry, but so did 299 other passengers and probably 16 delayed crew as well!

''Manners maketh the man''.

11th Nov 2003, 18:10

Very well put and I agree with you 100%. There is a difference between a group of lads in high spirits on the 2 hr flight home from the Med compared to a plane full of mainly angry and aggressive pax on an 8hr tranatlantic flight. It would be the cabin crew who would have taken all the flak and I'm sure, in this situation, the captain's action made it quite clear that he was not going to accept flak for him or any of his crew. That is called leadership and taking command responsiblity which, unfortunately, is all too lacking in our so-called 'modern' society.

Training Risky

To set a military scenario, if a 'grunt' who had just spent the last 15hrs in a slit trench because you were late at an RV came up to you and said 'about f....g time, mate', you'd probably have the guy charged - and if you didn't you would be shirking your command responsiblity, too.

For reasons best known to themselves, air passengers (a minority) demonstrate rudeness to ground and flight crew which I'm sure (or hope) they never display in other aspects of their lives.

Pour example les autres - often works a treat!

11th Nov 2003, 18:16
The message to SLF who feel the need to vent their frustrations on operating crew is this...don't even think about it. Your ticket entitles you to travel and that is all.

Feel free to walk, swim or ride a pushbike. Thats right, go to the opposition if that makes you feel better, work your way thru them all if that's what it takes. Just don't take it out on the individuals who are about to ensure you have a safe journey.

To the Captain concerned...well done!

11th Nov 2003, 18:24
the equivalent of being rude to a waiter about the shortcomings of the chef.

Never, ever be rude to somebody preparing you food.

Busta Level
11th Nov 2003, 18:31
Never, ever be rude to somebody preparing you food.

As Michael Winner has found out on several occasions - funny how his soup always tastes a little too salty? :yuk:

terry thomas
11th Nov 2003, 18:35
I have debated with myself as to reply to this topic or not, however as a colleague of mine has been named I feel pressed to.
I have had the privilege to fly with and be a friend of Simon's for some time now. He has been an exemplary Pilot and Captain for many years.
As a Captain he has been supportive to first officers, and the cabin crew have great respect and affection for him.
Now, in the press as we know journalists will often put spin on a story to fit the story they want to tell.
Lets look at this case, I understand the flight was from MIA to LHR, we don't have standby pilots in the US so Simon could have come from anywhere, JFK,EWR? or even min rest?
Crew often turn up to the stand in the US due to security checks, often we are spread out as each is searched. Sometimes no beep sometimes you end up getting stripped off. Heh ho, but there is a natural stagger.
Now the actual incident itself, for the passenger in question to have been barred by Simon, he must have been obviously disruptive. We DON'T offload passengers willy nilly in Vs, there is always a valid reason for doing so, the IFS and Duty Manager are also involved, as is the other pilot.
So there are checks and balances in place.Our concerns are Always the safety of the crew passengers and aircraft.
The class he was travelling? irrelevant. safety first.
Overpaid Captain? Hardly despite the recent Pay deal we are still amongst the lowest paid long haul drivers in the industry.
Virgin backing down? Hardly again, he would have been given the opportunity to calm down and travel later.
I feel extremely lucky to fly with some of the most professional pilots around, which is why Simon is probably at home ignoring the rants of the quite frankly ill informed.

11th Nov 2003, 18:38
For too long now, some airlines and crew have been treating passengers as if they are a damn nuisance. Crew seem to believe they have the right to "police" the passengers first and provide a service second. I know I'm going to hear all about safety and how our lives will be saved in a crash etc but the reality is that 99.9% of a/c don't crash! They get there safely. Before someone else starts on about how they get there safely, yes, it's the flight crew doing what they chose to do and what they get paid for.
I travel long-haul twice a month normally in business and I try to be unfailingly polite to everyone I meet at the airport and on the a/c. But, I am getting fed-up with being treated like some moron who can't think straight and needs to be firmly kept in place. We all understand that the flying environment in the USA and Europe is difficult but that is no excuse to treat normal, well adjusted people as if they are idiots. This latest example appears to be another crew member using their undoubted power to "pay-back" an irritated customer. It is not just the crew who have problems, so do passengers who are travelling for all sorts of reasons and pay well for the privelege. I have flown BA for 8 years and have all the miles and cards to show for it. After my last trip with them to the USA I decided enough was enough. My next trip to Tokyo was going to be Virgin.......!! Out of the frying pan into the fire?

11th Nov 2003, 18:50
Glad to finally see a few people with a bit of self respect coming to the support of this Captain, well said Flaps, and Thunderbox.

The crawling attitude toward 'highly paying pax' is insidious and has contributed to the lack of respect and discipline on board ALL our aircraft. By their logic we would have to be grateful and respectful to animals like Mohammed Atta and his minions on 9-11...he was after all a fare paying passenger!

And another thing.
Virgin did the right thing in supporting their Captain and I congratulate them tooo (if it is really the case).

Finally...it is said that the pax in question was no 'drunken lout'.
How the hell do you know?
My suspicion is that this lout spent his 15 hour delay sucking up the free champagne in the First Class Lounge, getting more and more abusive, and more and more confident of his right to be abusive. After 15 hours of this...was he drunk? Was he tipsy?
Did his breath smell of alcohol? Yer damn right it did!

Now maybe I'm mistaken, but I seem to remember from my Air Law days that the commander of an aircraft is bound by the ANO to refuse carriage to anyone under the influence of alcohol.

If the skipper had carried this guy he'd have been breaking the law...and if there was an incident on board it would have been on the skippers neck.

He did absolutely the right thing, and in truth there isn't a thing Virgin or anyone else could say against him. He had THE LAW on his side.

terry thomas
11th Nov 2003, 19:11
Strake as a business Man do you believe everything you read in the papers? Fly Virgin to Tokyo, try it for yourself. Unfortunately we don't have the opportunity to entertain you in the flight deck anymore, maybe if we could we could remove some of the pre concieved ideas that exist on either side of this debate.
Also food for thought, the reason Aviation is still a safe way to travel may just have something to do with those people who's wages you pay. engineers, cabin crew, ground staff, flight crew, air traffic controllers, all of whom work excemptionally hard to ensure you get home safely.

Biggles Flies Undone
11th Nov 2003, 19:17
My suspicion is that this lout spent his 15 hour delay sucking up the free champagne in the First Class Lounge, getting more and more abusive, and more and more confident of his right to be abusive. After 15 hours of this...was he drunk? Was he tipsy?
Did his breath smell of alcohol? Yer damn right it did!

If it's just a suspicion maxalt, you certainly draw some very vivid conclusions from it.

What is wrong with trying to take the middle course - why didn't the captain take the man aside, tell him the course of action he was considering and try to ascertain if the guy was pissed or just pissed off? By taking such arbitrary action the captain has brought a lot of bad press (deserved or not) onto his airline and started a 'them and us' slanging match between the pilot and SLF PPRuNe community.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
11th Nov 2003, 19:25
Finally...it is said that the pax in question was no 'drunken lout'.
How the hell do you know?
My suspicion is that this lout spent his 15 hour delay sucking up the free champagne in the First Class Lounge, getting more and more abusive, and more and more confident of his right to be abusive. After 15 hours of this...was he drunk? Was he tipsy?
Did his breath smell of alcohol? Yer damn right it did!

Maxalt - are you making this up or were you there? If the former, that's a pretty strong accusation that no-one else on this thread has so far come up with. If the latter, perhaps you could enlighten us as to exactly what happened in that lounge?

I'd really like to know why this passenger was dumped. If the newspaper report is accurate (unlikely, given the track record of the press) then this captain comes across as petulent and immature and that is no way to treat a paying customer. If the passenger really was a threat to the safety of the flight , the captain's action would have been amply justified.

It seems to me to be significant that three other passengers were so sure the captain was having a hissy fit rather than acting sensibly, that they wrote to complain to Virgin. And Virgin are preparing some form of redress for the passenger - which would indicate he was not a threat and perhaps the captain was being a bit of a premadonna?

Any one know what actually happened here?


11th Nov 2003, 19:29

The message to SLF who feel the need to vent their frustrations on operating crew is this...don't even think about it. Your ticket entitles you to travel and that is all.

Which airline do you work for, just so that I know to avoid them like the plague. :yuk:

For reference, I occasionally travel by air, business class. I expect a level of service from that, however:

I consider cabin crew for what they are, i.e. there for my safety. The bringing drinks and food bit is a bonus.

I am polite and always smile and say please and thank you.

I am now in a situation, however, where I'd never ever complain on an aircraft for fear of ending up in irons and shopped to the police at the other end. So, I'd happily put up with the worst service possible (which will put smiles of glee on many cabin crew's faces) and say nothing.

sad but true.

11th Nov 2003, 19:59
eal401 said

"I am now in a situation, however, where I'd never ever complain on an aircraft for fear of ending up in irons and shopped to the police at the other end. "

But won't you write a stinking letter after you got back, with a demand for compensation, copies to the newspapers and if there was any chance, suing the airline? And name each one of the crew who had upset you? And if there was anything to complain to the CAA about (such as letting passengers in exit rows have bags behind their legs on take off - seen on both American and BMI by me some years ago) which would cause problems, won't you do it? The probable cost to the airline of handling complaints and bad publicity (and the aggravation for crew of a number of 'please explains') suggest to my mind that trying hard to keep the SLF happy might actually be worthwhile. Why, they might even pay to fly with that airline again!

The problem is that at the end of the day, any delay problem of any sort leads to the crew being regarded as responsible, whether they are or not. This is because they are perceived as being the airline's representatives: anything they do wrong is something the airline has done wrong.

Maybe the ticket doesn't guarantee when travel will take place, but there will come a stage where the test of reasonableness comes in. Doubtless Flying Lawyer can tell us how long one could be b******d about for before some sort of legal redress for breach of contract applies. Poor timekeeping doesn't help keep customers, either.

Think I'll stick to BA, even though I can't help laughing every time the Captain really is called Nigel - and there do seem to be a lot of them!

Ray Ban
11th Nov 2003, 20:32
Perhaps people should wait for all the facts to emerge, before they jump in with both doc martens!

11th Nov 2003, 20:35
I also have flown with the Capt on a few occasions and have found him not only an excellent pilot, but also calm, reasonable, considerate and he buys the beers. That's my view on him.

I also behave at airports when I'm a passenger and wouldn't dream of slow hand clapping or berating an airline crew, no matter how ironically as I would consider it to be an insult and add nothing to a situation that I know partially or nothing about.

Believe me the MIA layover isn't the most stunning on the Virgin network and you can bet that the crew wanted home as soon as the passenger did, the allowances, hotel and weather are hardly an incentive to stay there.

Flying the world as a crew or passenger will mean you have delays, for various reasons, sadly it goes with territory. I'd rather my crew doesn't operate until they are fit, the aircraft serviceable and the weather healthily. Moaning is natural; we are all frustrated, I guess we just have to button our lip at times, even if it does feel you are being kept in the dark and being fed manure.

I've also been on flights where a few ringleaders have ensured that the cabin crew have had an utterly miserable time when things have been blown out of proportion.

I suspect that if you'd tried that before you'd got on a US based carrier's flight you'd still be in a cell at MIA without your shoes.

I think things have got a little blown up out of proportion and we should not read too much into what was quite a minor incident and possibly learn from it when the truth comes out.

I'll shut up now

11th Nov 2003, 20:38

I certainly don't believe everything I read in the papers having been the subject of one or two "accurate" (not) stories.
My points really come from personal experience. In my original note, I respected the fact that everyone works hard to ensure my safety but Terry, that's their job and what they are paid for. In my business, we have to treat our customers with respect and deal with problems as well. We do that because it is our job and it is why customers come to us. If we are rude or abrupt with them they will go away.
I accept the current emergencies are not a nice work environment but neither are they a nice travelling one either. Like (I guess) you, I have to fly to do my job. The problems at the moment seem to stem more from low morale through to outright boredom on the part of some staff. Again, from experience it seems to be senior cabin crew more than junior....maybe everyone's just flat-out fed-up:)
Anyway, I may well try Virgin to see if there's a difference.....

11th Nov 2003, 20:42
Maxalt, it was my understanding that pilots should NEVER make assumptions. However, following your line of thinking here, you should become a Tabloid Journo.

Perhaps things need to be made a little clearer to you. The has to be more to this than has been revealed in this report (you sure you didn't write it?). There are 2 sides to everything, and I'm guessing the Captain hasn't been allowed to provide the media with his side of the story by VS.

It's good to see you're prepared to enter into intelligent discussion in you last post about Air Law, pitty your previous tyrade of abusing people (picking on usernames is always a great way to back your point!). Infact, if I didn't know better, you're only here to wind people up. Just a pitty sometimes the captain can't leave you behind.

11th Nov 2003, 20:47
Thanks Crewrest for letting us know that this Captain is indeed just a normal well adjusted guy who gets on with most people. Rather than a power crazed machine built to p*ss off passengers.

Sometimes crew and other staff have errors of judgement (though I'm not sure in this case). The ground staff and flight crews of airlines would appear to have to be councellors, psychiatrists, mediators, military strategists, surrogate mothers (wives or husbands), saints who should sit there and take all quantities of s**t which are thrown at them and still keep smiling. Plus we're not allowed to behave or be treated as human beings.
I treat all the passengers as fellow humans and as equals, but if they prove me wrong then they also get treated accordingly.

Do unto others...

11th Nov 2003, 21:05
I was initially going to give this thread a big swerve until the Capt"s identity was revealed. Like several other people on this thread i too have flown as Capt Crook"s F/O on many occasions, and he is without doubt an excellent operator, gentleman, raconteur, and all round respected pilot, with flt deck, cabin crew and ground staff.
I am not aware of the actual situation that he found himself in, but i am sure he had a bloody good reason for acting as he did.

terry thomas
11th Nov 2003, 21:28
And you'll be made to feel very welcome Strake. I suppose the difference in our opinions is that you see it all as a service. To be honest the vast majority of Pilots see service as an aside.
Important but not our priority, I am reminded of a time when an Upper Class passenger demanded we switched the seat belt sign off, made me grin as we were about to negotiate a huge band of cbs.
We try our very best, but sometimes that isn't going to please everyone ie the above case.

11th Nov 2003, 21:37
With the advent of widebody a/c, airlines have enabled people to fly to places that their parents could only see on the movie screen.

To fill those seats, the airlines have made people think that it is no more difficult than stepping on a bus. They have advertised hard to remove any fears and doubts and concerns about travelling by air.

They have ensured that folks understand nothing about command and control. Nothing about mid-air risks other than 'terrorism' and 'smoking'. The 'air-rage' issue has got 1,001 excuses and apologists. BUT that is because no one has seen it for real. Once they have - they never forget it.

Simple example: People think that their home will never catch fire. They have no idea how rapidly it will spread and destroy their house. Once it has happened - for the rest of their lives, they will respect fire.

In the air, we are all fortunate that we have people working hard to get us to our destination. The person who has paid for 'Y' or 'F' often has zero idea of what is involved.

I look forward to hearing the detail of what the pax said to provoke this strong reaction, before venturing to comment on the case. My support for VS is undimmed.

11th Nov 2003, 22:28
radeng, if I had suffered poor service, then yes I would write a letter of complaint. I am more than entitled to do so, having paid for a service. Of course there are limits, for example I couldn't write after every KLMuk flight to complain about the rude, abrupt and cold service, I can only hope that it is better next time. (And that the change to KLM/KLMCityhopper means Dutch crews.)

The point is that if I encounter poor service in a restaurant, shop, pub, etc. I'd attempt to tackle it with due politeness there and then. On board aircraft, we are more and more pushed into the belief that any complaint pitched at any level will land us in trouble. There is no industry on the planet where the workers have to be treated with such kid gloves to avoid any upset.

Remember, no SLF, no job, no wages. If you don't like that go and work in another industry, it's a simple solution.

For what it's worth, I would say that to anyone in any job, not just aviation related ones.

11th Nov 2003, 23:00
Wouldn't a simple, inscrutable smile (even if through gritted teeth whilst silently mouthing the word 'to$$er') have disarmed the situation?

Given that we have only the available facts as reported on this thread to be able to comment (I'm sure there are two full sides to the story), this still sounds very much like the captain was over-reacting to being embarrassed. A more light-hearted approach would have almost certainly resulted in a better outcome, IMO.

I'm sure lots of skippers would have chosen to handle this better, and, without wishing to denigrate the pilot in this instance, I know which personality type I'd prefer to be flown by.

Boss Raptor
11th Nov 2003, 23:39
Flying as a passenger is not a pleasant experience these days and also very stressful for many...empathy with passengers concerns such as in this case for example how angry many of those passengers must have been being delayed, many missing work, business appointments etc. should be taken into account and the situation dealt with accordingly...

Doesn't excuse it but there was an appropriate way to handle this situation (as it has been described in the press) and I dont think what actually happened was the best or most diplomatic way...

Those passengers will remember VS for all the wrong reasons...and how many of the 300 will choose to fly again with them...

I think we lose/have lost touch with the passengers needs and problems...a few more flights as pax. really opens your eyes :uhoh:

12th Nov 2003, 01:16
Many years ago......oh hum:rolleyes:
I was "departing" a certain Island [to the South of Sicily]. We had one "customs/checkout" agent for 130+ pax. Queues, horrendous:mad: . New guy arrives...self says "About time too!" [Honest] Que [very] dirty look and [also very] intimate frisk.
No sarcasm etc. just a comment:*
we aim to please, it keeps the cleaners happy

Farty Flaps
12th Nov 2003, 03:08
Well if ever he looses his licence there is a career waiting for him in any customer service position at stansted. just the job

Buster the Bear
12th Nov 2003, 03:37
Surely there must be more to this story?

A bloke who is employed to transport his company's customers refused to allow a customer to travel because of a slow hand clap.

Brilliant, the next time a snotty nosed kid throws the contents of his lunch box at me, I can have him barred! (Not that I would, I love sarnies!)

12th Nov 2003, 04:54

Maxalt, it was my understanding that pilots should NEVER make assumptions. However, following your line of thinking here, you should become a Tabloid Journo.

Who is making assumptions if not you? You are assuming this Captain was wrong when you don't know the facts yourself. I made a counter proposition. The difference between you and me is that I'm disposed to give this Professional Pilot the benefit of the doubt. He exercised his judgement and made a call based on the circumstances which only HE was equipped or entitled to make. This whole discussion is therefore redundant and everyone who is condemning him is just blowing hot air.

There are 2 sides to everything...

Not when faced with disruptive behaviour on an aircraft.
There is only ONE way.
My way...or the highway.

12th Nov 2003, 06:18
I had a similar problem in Miami a few months ago.

We the crew had been delayed 1 hour at a time for 3 hours for a trip from Miami to Buenos Aires.

We arrived at the gate to the same response from the passengers, The gate was locked so we had to wait awhile with this going on, After the agent arrived at the gate I took him unto the leader and told him, At this moment he was not going with us to Buenos Aires, I told him to go into the corner and sit down and not make any further nuisance of himself and that may make me change my mind.

He went into the corner and did not make a sound.

He boarded the flight with no further problem.

I was on a line check at the time; the checker said that this was very interesting to watch.

My point to the passenger was that the crew had already be up for 5 hours by the time they arrived at the airport and they could do without any additional stress from frustrated passengers, after all we could have decided not to go into discretion they would have had another 12 hours delay.

Wing Commander Fowler
12th Nov 2003, 07:45
There is only ONE way. My way or the Highway

That'll be 2 ways then......


12th Nov 2003, 08:54
Things begin to fall into place, don't they. Flaps40, you hit it on the nose, with backup from TerryThomas and Crewrest. It sounds more and more as if the captain sussed out the entire situation en route to the gate, identified the (or one of) ringleaders and whacked him pronto, thus ensuring a peaceful or at least thoughful flight.

There's still time for witnesses to come on to defend the bizclass pax's composure etc but the fact that none so far have done so would indicate the snap decision to leave him behind was right.

No, I'm not agreeing with Maxalt.

Big Jan
12th Nov 2003, 09:00
What is wrong with all you people ?
It is obvious that this overbearing and power mad captain (Captain Hook) took advantage of his position by throwing off this fine upstanding BUSINESS class traveller.
I know all the facts ! Because I read the excerpt from that fine publication The Daily Telegraph.
This Captain should learn that he is there for the people and if they wish to let out their emotions on him he should grin and bear it.
I think he should have his livelihood taken away from him.
Send him to the poor house !
No , Hang him !
The Beast
;) ;) ;)

12th Nov 2003, 09:32
Clearly from the accounts published here (how could they be other than positively correct...:E )...then the concerned Commander needes to be called on the carpet, and told off by the marketing manager...!:p

12th Nov 2003, 10:36

Nice try!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:E :E :E

12th Nov 2003, 11:45
Difficult without all/any of the facts, but at the end of the day he exercised his right to refuse carriage. Given the dramas this usually causes oneself, there must have been good reason.
Personally I support his actions.

Anthony Carn
12th Nov 2003, 14:33
This really is dead simple.

If you were'nt there, you don't know exactly what the particular passengers attitude was. None of you can comment. None of you can state that the decision was incorrect. Unruly passengers are a menace. They can be a risk to flight safety. They can certainly cause stress amongst crew and passengers. They must be seen to be treated with zero tolerance. The message may then get across......behave properly !

The Captain was in charge, he made a judgement, we should support that decision 100%, end of story.

12th Nov 2003, 15:58
I do not wish to comment directly about this incident as I know nothing about it, I wasn't there and I have no experience of VS.

But, There just may be a wider issue here. In my airline, crews are getting worked so hard (legal but unsympathetic rostering with most crews disgruntled and borderline fatigue) that there have been a couple of minor instances of crew members spitting the dummy when ordinarily they would not have done.

I am not suggesting that this may have been the case here but I would be interested to hear the views of any within VS and other airlines.

Possibly another case of airlines being "run" by accountants ("We can save the cost of a standby crew and we will just put the inbound crew on min rest if anything goes wrong, and anyway the cost of hotac for a 747 full of pax will be more than saved by not having a standby crew in MIA. To hell with pax loyalty and crew morale and health because its an employers job market") and then blaming the professional operators when the wheels come off.


12th Nov 2003, 16:50
The arena of cost cutting opens a whole discussion on keeping the company going or going bankcrupt - fewer jobs or no jobs.

12th Nov 2003, 17:09

No, I'm not agreeing with Maxalt.

But you do old son, you do!

And finally sense is beginning to prevail on this thread.

12th Nov 2003, 17:18
Not when faced with disruptive behaviour on an aircraft. There is only ONE way.
My way...or the highway. maxalt In this case the behaviour (reportedly) was not exactly disruptive; neither did it take place on an aircraft.

From the available evidence, it appears that his episode has everything to do with people skills and nothing whatever to do with air safety, which is being used by some posters (disingenuously) as an excuse for arbitrary punishment on the basis of, 'just because I can'.

12th Nov 2003, 17:27
I take your point dsr10 but there comes a point where the hassles aren't offset by the rewards and I know of captains and FOs who are thinking seriously of resigning with no other (aviation) job to go to. Makes you think doesn't it?

Training Risky
12th Nov 2003, 17:38
It seems that there are a lot of people annoyed with Virgin's attitude towards their customers:


Sleeve Wing
12th Nov 2003, 18:13
I, as many others, was just going to skirt around putting comment on to a very interesting thread as no one really knows what really happened and can only guess.

That was until I had the misfortune to read the contributions of some helicopter pilot who, from his profile, has a rather inflated ego.

I would suggest to this person that, when he has been around a bit and has some experience of the real aviation world, he will be in a position to justify his comments.

I say this as one, who has in the past had the dubious task of literally retraining military retirees into the real world and demands of flying in a civvy environment, and I would emphasise that this applies only to the very few. Most of you mates are brilliant but there is always one, isn't there ?

Come down from your ivory (I'm a BIG helicopter pilot) tower and get real. :8

Sleeve.( One time stalwart of Auntie Bettie's Aero Club.)

12th Nov 2003, 18:28
Those who have spent some time at check-in will have seen the amount of passengers (customers) who offer sarcastic, abusive comments. Many of these are directed at the staff checking them in. If every time one of these passengers was denied boarding the flights would leave with a definate lack of bums on seats.

Welcome to the real world capt Crook!

12th Nov 2003, 18:29

''From the available evidence, it appears that his episode has everything to do with people skills and nothing whatever to do with air safety''.

Sorry old chap but total [email protected].

A terrorist is still a terrorist even when not holding a weapon.

Someone who shows the ability to cause trouble on the ground shows the ability to do so in the air where the options to deal with it become much more limited.

As has been said in other threads....
keep the problem on the ground, don't let it get onto the aircraft or into the air.


Wing Commander Fowler
12th Nov 2003, 18:56
Oh My God!!!

Now jeering and clapping is a terrorist activity!!!

Some of you guys really gotta grow up!

12th Nov 2003, 19:08

Some loose definitions for you to ponder:


We're talking about a bloke who did a one-man slow-handclap and made a remark which he probably thought was funny. Perhaps it would have been better aimed at Virgin's PR department than at the replacement crew, but it is not hard to see why he felt frustrated.


Usually outwardly controlled, highly intelligent individuals, who display all the hallmarks of model passengers when airside and do nothing to warrant attention until airborne.

People Skills

Having the ability to spot the difference, and excercising authority accordingly; demonstrating both good judgement and proportionality.

Now please expand on why my point of view is 'total [email protected]', as you so eloquently put it?

12th Nov 2003, 19:20
Someone who shows the ability to cause trouble on the ground shows the ability to do so in the air where the options to deal with it become much more limited.

Reality time. We ALL could cause trouble in the air if we wanted to, couldn't we? This guy came out with a smart-ass comment and jeered. What if somebody having just walked through the door of the jet was asked how they were by cabin staff and responded "I'm really p!ssed off at the 13 hour delay!". Whoah........trouble maker alert. Turf him off.

Or, if another passenger before boarding was heard to be having a heated argument on a mobile (with maxalt maybe :p ). *Whoop-whoop* this guy has violent tendencies. Nope, not getting on.

12th Nov 2003, 19:47
Crook might be a good pilot but he doesn't appear to be much of a people person. Why didn't he let Warshaw make his apology, then read him the riot act, then let him sweat a bit as Iceman did so commendably (page 5) and finally let him fly if he promised to shut up for the next few hours? It would have defused the situation and probably impressed upon the rest of the pax who was in charge. Life is all about compromise, after all.

12th Nov 2003, 21:07
And finally sense is beginning to prevail on this thread.

:confused: :confused:

My My were up to 6 pages in this thread, with friends having been made and enemies ensured.

I'm not sure how much readership this kind of thread gets beyond pilots, but the sure loser in all this is going to be the Virgin PR among passengers.

12th Nov 2003, 21:33
I have to say that Zoom's post is probably the most sensible here, not to mention the better course of action.

My own opinion of course.

12th Nov 2003, 22:16
A really interesting thread.

For a moment, lets put aside what actually happened, and assume that all that happened was as reported in the newspapers.

What surprises me are the number of contributors who appear to take the view that the Captain was entirely justified to refuse boarding to a passenger solely on the basis of the reported story.

For every right there is a duty. In this case the right to refuse boarding is accompanied by the duty to excercise the right reasonably. IMHO, and getting away from any personalities or unreported facts, to exclude a passenger on the basis of the story is unreasonable. I didn't think that I'd see so many Ppruners disagree, and it certainly gives me new perceptions into the industry.


Onan the Clumsy
12th Nov 2003, 22:46
A terrorist is still a terrorist even when not holding a weapon. So if that's the case, then what did Virgin do with this guy? Did they leave him to wander around the airport unchallanged? or did they have him arrested and held incommunicado for the next eighteen months?

He's either a terrorist or he isn't.

12th Nov 2003, 22:54
Wasn't the guy allowed to fly on a later flight? At what point was he no longer a "threat"?

Human nature being what it is, I'll bet he was probably more p*ssed off than when the "incident" occured. Would this not have made him more of a risk?

Wing Commander Fowler
12th Nov 2003, 23:01
Good point Onan

shoulda sent him to camp X Ray clearly... hehe! Of course after removing his shoes and ALL the fillings in his teeth lest he turned out to be the "Mercury filling Bomber"


12th Nov 2003, 23:34
<<it certainly gives me new perceptions into the industry.>>

Not necessarily - you'd need the opinions of a significant number of major airline skippers for that.

ps: I believe my wife thinks I should have your 'nom-de-web' :D

Ranger One
13th Nov 2003, 01:11
Interesting thread indeed... held back until now, but everyone else is having a hack at it, so...

First, Capt. Crook was there, we weren't. Those who know him have testified to his character. He exercised the prerogative of his command, end of story. It's not for anyone to second-guess him who wasn't there.

The very most that should happen is a few gentle words of advice, in private, IF, after a full investigation, taking statements from pax & gate staff, there's some question as to whether it could have been handled better.

Now, *we* are free to voice whatever opinions we like - and many have! IF we take the published account as the whole truth, I'd have to wonder... presumably most of the pax were Brits. After an overnight delay, a bit of ironic applause and a couple of good-natured inoffensive comments aren't exactly earth-shattering... they call for some witty repartee in return, to set the flight off on the right note, not clapping anyone who dares say anything in irons! (literal or metaphorical).

Two big 'ifs' there - if the account was accurate, and if the comments etc. were good-natured. Only Capt. Crook was there to judge the tone & body language, he made a command decision which deserves support.

I've only ever received an ironic 'well done' at the other end - after a less-then-creditable landing! :\

I also once received the following:
'Have you called the fire truck?'.... 'errrrr no, why?'... 'you planted it, you should water it...' :O :O :O


13th Nov 2003, 04:33

To$$ers - I can understand the frustration but

A. It was not the crews fault

B. That does'nt excuse the behaviour.

Terrorists -

Meerly making a point, I wasn't accusing him of being a terrorist.

However, as Jerricho pointed out, we all have the ability to cause trouble in the air and this guy has indicated his manner already, giving a small time frame to make a decision about his present/future state of mind and likely actions.

People skills -

Having the ability to spot the difference: In a few seconds, without a Psychy expert in tow and being Human!

Excercising authority accordingly; demonstrating both good judgement and proportionality: Only he can know on the day and at the moment what is appropriate and proportional and in so doing excercise his good judgement. He did!

and finally = Air Safety.

''nothing whatever to do with air safety''.
The captain is responsible for ALL of it.
If he has reasonable doubt about anything to do with the safety of the flight, he is obligated to act to ensure the safety of everyone and everything onboard.

That is why, IMVHO, I totally disagree with your posting.
Being human myself, I'm happy to withdraw the C**P part.:ooh:

On a personal note, I have the advantage of having flown with Simon at VS and totally endorse the other character witnesses who have spoken up in his defence. I do not believe he is the kind of bloke who would act in a petulant manner for the sake of it.

However, since no one who has posted so far appears to have been there, it could be said we are all talking £$%P!


13th Nov 2003, 05:36
When I was a brand new Captain, about a year in Command, I was once on a Prestwick - Dublin flight.

During boarding one of the ground staff came to the cockpit and told me to have a look at the last passenger in the boarding queue.

The gentleman in question was wearing a pin stripe business suit, cashmere overcoat, carrying an expensive looking leather breifcase. He was immaculately groomed, and looked about 50 years old.

The dispatcher informed me that some of the check in staff had been verbally abused by him, and the same at the gate, and that his breath smelled of alcohol. He asked me what I wanted to do about him.

I had a look at this man as he stood quietly in the queue, no sign of any unsteadiness on his feet, bothering no-one. I called in the CCM and told her what the dispatcher had said. I asked her to have a very good look at him as he boarded and I told her that if she was in any way uncertain about him I'd have him off the flight before we closed the doors.

She came back to me 5 minutes later to say he was fine, no problem.

So we departed Prestwick for Dublin.

Duriing the cruise, about abeam Belfast, the CCM called me on the interphone to tell me the nice gentleman in question had just told her he would blow up the aircraft if she didn't serve him a drink immediately!

Now, of course he was joking. Wasn't he? But do you joke about BOMBS in AIRCRAFT? What to do? I could easily divert into Belfast and be on the ground in minutes! Have the ****er arrested.

Then what?
Lots of paperwork, and explaining to my FOM.
And of course the truth would out...I had been warned about his behaviour already in Prestwick!
Yet I chose to accept him! What a DUMBASS I am!

So what would you have done?

In the end I just told my CCM to give him his drink and ignore him, and let me know if anything worse developed.

We landed safely in Dublin 20 minutes later.
The bastard walked off scott free.

But I learned a valuable lesson that day, one I'll never forget.


If you do you might find yourself in the shit, big time, and you'll hang anyway for being so 'tolerant'.

Older, and Wiser.:suspect:

13th Nov 2003, 06:12
That's right. So a well-dressed person pitches up at the desk and is told that they can't get the window seat they wanted, or the flight is delayed. ''Oh great'' they say sarcastically. Throw them off, they are obviously going to cause trouble for the entire flight. No in fact they are probably a terrorist - call the cops and have them detained.

Get real. It's all about delicate egos being bruised, nothing about safety.

13th Nov 2003, 08:07
tazzy & max alt: I agree

13th Nov 2003, 16:32
Removed the trouble maker!!!

If I buy a mobile phone for only 100£ and it doesn't work, you can bet thet the guy who sold it to me will have to do any effort to resolve the problem. TROUBLE maker? I don't think so, just getting what's normal.
That passenger was not at all a trouble maker, he just was sick an tired of waiting announcements of delyas for 15 hours or so.
He was very gentle, for that money I could have gotten a lot worse.
I travel as a pilot on duty and on commercial positionings many times a month and sometimes you get treated like shit by this check-in, ticket and groud staff personel, even by the cabin crew... i wonder if you need a university degree to be cabin crew because very often they have their nose much higher then FL500
Customer care, where are you??

13th Nov 2003, 17:41
Arty, ebbr2, I'd guess that neither of you have ever had command of a large aircraft, and therefore never had to face the fact that you shoulder massive responsibility...ALONE...for your decisions, good or bad.

It seems to me now that this thread is dividing into two camps. Those who've been there and done that and learned a lesson the hard way (like me) and the rest, who have yet to learn (or are SLF masquerading as pilots).

Lets cut to the chase.

To any passengers out there reading this who feel that you can act in any way you choose simply because you've bought the ticket....here's a tip.

You might be lucky and get away with it some of the time, but the chances are equally good you're going to meet me, or someone like me, who will not tolerate any bullshit and will disembark you at the first whiff of trouble.

Your call.

Just remember your manners.

13th Nov 2003, 18:35
............ in which case Capt Maxalt and his FO will do everything within their power and a bit beyond to try and get you there safely and on time, while the FAs will bust a gut to give you the best possible service with the means at our disposal.
Because despite what some people here seem to think, we are well aware of who pays our wages and of the fact that you all have a choice.

.......... and don't get too worked up about the manners either; we're regrettably used to being shouted at because we have run out of your choice of sarnie, and we wouldn't dream of off-loading you just because you mutter 'f**cking c**t' under your breath when we tell you that 4 pieces of carry-on luggage really is a bit much....;)

13th Nov 2003, 19:27

Where you trained to demonstrate such breathaking arrogance? Regretably, you sound just like the type of Captain that airlines could well do without.

You should remember one thing. Its not difficult so it will be easy to understand.

You are the driver. That will no doubt scar your ego but that is all you are and all I was. What you also have to be is a PR representative of your company. You abide by the SOP's, you abide by the ANO and you use your capacity as Captain to ensure the welfare of your passengers at all stages of flight from gate to gate.

If you behave in a manner that is detrimental to your company, which can include any number of dillys, you still must try hard to be nice to the passengers. You also have to try to understand that if you upset them you are totally responsible for the end result. Which can, as in this case, CAUSE a sarcastic comment - no doubt of the kind you and I make often during the course of s shopping trip or such. We don't, of course, know for sure that incident took place but we assume so.

That then is the substance. What ACTUALLY happened in my view - IF - the above scenario is correct, is that the Captain has a major trip in his electrical system - his brain. There was absolutely (I won't use your emphasis on the word) no need to react in the way he did. If he had, however, had the sense to address the guy and say that he - as Captain - was sorry to hear of the major delay that he had it would have all ended in smiles.

Instead of which it ended, unnecessarily, in angst and an over the top decision. In other words his ego was offended. NOT enough reason to prevent boarding.

As I have said before. I suspect VS are not best pleased about the events and if he is honest I hoped he is not best pleased about his actions.

The crew are the most important part of any flight. The passengers, who can be a severe pain, are nonetheless entitled to consideration. This man got nothing except the wrath of a Captain who over reacted.

13th Nov 2003, 19:47
Off topic, but talking of carry-ons and sandwiches:

Two weeks ago I went to Brussels Club class from Heathrow. There were cabin crew, also in Club, positioning.

Most of them were over the published carry on limit.

All the cabin crew were on the RHS with an empty seat between them. The club passengers were on the LHS, seats adjoining (it's 2 x 3).

After take off, they came round with sandwiches. The purser / CSD (call it what you will) went down the RHS of the club class section, and served the cabin crew first. All the cabin crew got their first choice. When he started working back (serving the passengers) there was no choice left. Same sequence with the drinks.

There was turbulence during the flight, and the light came on. One of the positioning cabin crew stayed standing in the galley chatting with a mate. When the light had been on about 15 minutes, one of the positioning stewardesses got up and went to the toilet.

Now, if I say something I'm rude, unreasonable and a troublemaker (however mild my manner). But why should I be expected to put up with it?

Shaggy Sheep Driver
13th Nov 2003, 20:08
Is this thread being censored? My reply to Maxalt's post has disappeared. However, it was very much along the lines of what Captain Fillosan has posted.


13th Nov 2003, 20:09
SLF3 why should I be expected to put up with it?

You shouldn't! On my flights, positioning crew are served last, or in normal sequence. Not because I don't love them but because of the perceptions of other pax, precisely as you detail here. Seatbelt regs are enforced equally, although most crew that I know would never dream of treating their fellow pax and the working crew with such arrogance.

This kind of thing :mad: s me off because it brings the rest of us into disrepute. I can't speak for BA (who seem to do their own thing in so many areas, and appear sometimes to have their own problems with their in-house culture) but I can only sing the same old song - the exception does not prove the rule.

I would have thought a letter might be appropriate.

terry thomas
13th Nov 2003, 21:00
The Captain in question is being backed 100% by the flight ops management.
The Passenger in question was off loaded for being involved in a near brawl in the upper class lounge.
He was offensive to the entire Vs staff, ground staff, cabin crew,and lastly the flight crew and other passengers.
He told the captain he had a "friend" in the media and would do the Captain. His companion was found stealing from the upper class Bar.
The pr department are backing the Captain.
enjoy pontificating

Jet II
13th Nov 2003, 21:13
terry t

If that is the case, why did Vs carry the guy on another flight and do this?The company said an offer of some form of redress to Mr Warshaw was being prepared

terry thomas
13th Nov 2003, 21:25
Only in extremis is a passenger actually barred from travelling at a later date.
He was given the opportunity to sober up and calm down. The Redress? I doubt it will amount to much and will come with the proviso that the Capt was exercising his duty of care to other pax,crew, and airframe.

13th Nov 2003, 21:38
Terry Thomas...Hear Hear!
Sounds like Mr.Warshaw was a right prat, and deserved all he got.

CaptainFillosan, in the example I gave of my own experience, why don't you spread some of your self congratulatory expertise around and tell us how you'd have handled Mr.Pin Stripe in Prestwick?

Do you recommend personally interviewing and soothing over every passenger before they board?
Do tell.

13th Nov 2003, 21:57
As someone who has followed this thread hoping to find out what really happened I am very happy to hear that there was no flipper. Congrats to the Captain and Virgin for supporting him.

13th Nov 2003, 22:00
I have been reading this thread with some interest.

I have flown with Simon on a couple of trips and bumped into him many times downroute in the 5 years I have worked for Virgin. He is a true gentleman and is well respected by the staff he comes into contact with. He also has a very good sense of humour, so I was almost certain that there was more to this story than meets the eye.

From the posting above, one of my colleagues, Terry Thomas, seems to know a lot more about the incident than anyone else who has posted over the last 8 pages! It's not too difficult to imagine who approached who to get this story into the newspapers (nice photo of the "partners in crime" in The Telegraph, all suited and booted, makes the story sooo much more credible!)

I would imagine Simon and his crew were probably briefed about the trouble this individual had caused when they arrived at the airport.

Mr. Warshaw said "Then he spoke to one of the ground crew, turned round and pointed toward me." Later in the article he is quoted as saying "But I think he singled me out because my suit and white hair made me easily identifiable."

Now I wasn't there either, but I'd imagine the ground staff were confirming with Simon that the "gentleman" that had clapped his hands and said "well done" was indeed the individual that had caused trouble throughout his delay, hence the finger pointing!

If my memory serves me right, about 8-10 years ago a Britannia Captain had a heart attack at the top of descent into their destination airfield. The Telegraph reported: "CoPilot Hero Lands Airplane!" Reading the article made me realise how little a newspaper journalist, despite writing for a broadsheet, understands about the job we do. Since then every other article I have read about industries I have little or no knowledge of, I have had to take with a pinch of salt.

It just goes to show, you shouldn't believe everything you read in the press, or for that matter anything you read in the press!

13th Nov 2003, 22:21

you haven't made many posts, so you obviously don't know the form. Posts such as yours which are dignified, informative and grown-up have no place on this thread.

Childish histronics and aggressive virtual 'pissing contests', that's what we want. :rolleyes:

13th Nov 2003, 23:32
Thank you TT. If this is what truely happened, then hell yeah, he deserved what he got.

Now, I'm going to put the question again. If the only thing this guy did was slow clap and make a smart @ss comment (as was reported at the start of the thread), did he really deserve to be denied travel? If so, there is a LOT of behaviour that is displayed in the departures lounge that could lead to the same thing (Including the guy yelling at Maxalt down the phone!!). There are going to be those of you that can sit there and say "Yeah, the guy caused a ruckus etc.......screw him". Let's not deny that. However, if the decision was solely based on what started the thread, that can quite easily be interpreted as a bruised ego on a power trip.

And Maxalt,

You might be lucky and get away with it some of the time, but the chances are equally good you're going to meet me, or someone like me, who will not tolerate any bullshit and will disembark you at the first whiff of trouble.

You got any kids? Do you make them call you Captain? Or just Sir?

terry thomas
13th Nov 2003, 23:45
Jerricho, I'm reporting the facts from within the company. The newspaper report has almost nothing to do with the truth.
Now this topic really is getting to the stage of just a slanging match between people with nothing to add and persumably nothing better to do.
Its beneath us as a group and time we put our minds to more important discussions.
The simpson proposal?
Cosmic radiation?
Low cost versus safety?
How we should train and retain the pilots of the future?
Airport expansion in the south east?
Terrorist threats?
Locked flight Deck doors?

15th Nov 2003, 16:07
Terry, ok I'll bite:
The Simpson proposal? dunno what it was, but it was obviously a bit of a cracker to make him abdicate!
Cosmic Radiation: No ta, got enough already, thanks for the offer though
Low cost vs safety: ok you start, working for Virgin and all that, something like, Virgin Express is a lo-cost airline, it is unsafe because....discuss...:E
How should we train and retain? using a sharp stick to 'encourage learning and optimise the efficiency of the training', and use a big dog with sharp teeth to bite pilots if they try to leave the cockpit.
Airports in the South East: Its going to be Stansted was decided in the early 90's, get over it, QED. :E
Terrorist threats: yes we should continue to threaten terrorists at every available opportunity.
Locked Flight deck door: yes we don't want the SLF to see the dog!

And from what I've read I feel the captain was right.

17th Jan 2004, 16:20
Anybody any update on this one please? I'd be fascinated to know how it ended up...


18th Jan 2004, 08:22
The court case isn't until 5th Feb, I believe.

18th Jan 2004, 08:46
Scroggs I think that is an incident in IAD, the one here was a storm in a teacup involving a unsociable passenger last autumn in MIA. Terry Thomas basically put the story to bed in November.

19th Jan 2004, 06:34
Cabin Crew friend was thumped en route by a passenger who felt he had a grievence. He spent six months in the nick courtesy oF LHR's finest. The Captain had been inclined to offload him prior to the flight because of his attitude which started with "inappropriate comments" but did not due to company's service ethos. His decision meant ABH to a member of his crew.

IMO always better to leave potential trouble behind.

19th Jan 2004, 07:11
One can easily see that the ezy pilots who do not have any authority on anything at easy, are opposed captains ultimate authority and responsibility for safe flight. Also, VS have responded in very appropriate manner, confirming that they are supporting their commanders in a difficult situation. EasyJet would NEVER support their pilots in a similar situation, on the contrary they usually sack them.

No wonder there are tens of easy pilots going to Virgin, captains as well. Good luck to them; they are going to work a proper airline who looks after their troops with staff travel, proper pension contributions etc.

19th Jan 2004, 07:49
crewrest the incident in IAD is what this thread's about! Jerricho, terry thomas and jumpseater have gone off-topic. I assumed TightSlot was asking about the subject of this thread! Was I wrong?

19th Jan 2004, 10:08

Disagree... Go to thread page 1 and you'll see this has nothing to do with IAD! It was well before that....

It concerned an "incident" at another US gateway. In that it appears VS supported the skipper (quite rightly), it is really a "non-incident", hence why there are no further facts (nor should there be).


Right Way Up
19th Jan 2004, 15:07
That is unless one of your passengers is called Courtney Love. Then your chairman can make a fool of himself, and also of his poor crew who had to deal with the nice young lady.:D

BTW the grass is always greener!

20th Jan 2004, 21:08
NoD Oh poo! You're right, of course. Getting me threads mixed up. I shall now retire with me coat!

20th Jan 2004, 23:44
Too many PHCs dulling the senses Scroggs?

Dream Land
22nd Jan 2004, 09:59

I think all of us that operate transport aircraft are involved in the learning curve of human nature. I am mostly involved with the holiday crowd who generally speaking can be a little more rowdy then the typical business crowd. All of us will at some time or other be involved with this type of situation, armed with ammunition from a previous experience, one thing that I've learned is to try to read between the lines of the ground staff, along with a consult with my cabin crew, main factor being that if I receive a heads up about a troublsome individual prior to pushback, I have ample and verifiable justification for my decision, not just out there on my own because I can.

In Capt. Crooks incident it may have been a prudent decision to find an alternate route to the aircraft, no crew just have to deal with walking the gauntlet of irate pax.