View Full Version : AA Pilot Gives 'Come to Jesus' PA

8th Feb 2004, 12:56
Maybe he should have picked the DFW to ATL flight...

What would Mel Gibson have done <g>?


Pilot suggested passengers discuss Christianity during LA-to-
New York flight

Saturday, February 7, 2004

(02-07) 18:18 PST NEW YORK (AP) --

An American Airlines pilot flying passengers from Los Angeles to New York asked Christians on board to identify themselves and then suggested that non-Christian passengers discuss the faith with them, the airline confirmed Saturday.

The pilot, whose identity was not released, had been making flight announcements before he asked that the Christians on board raise their hands, said American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner.

Wagner said the pilot told airline officials he then suggested the other passengers use the flight time to talk to the Christians about their faith.

The pilot later told passengers he himself would be available at the end of the flight to talk about his first announcement.

Wagner said the airline was investigating the incident.

"It falls along the lines of a personal level of sharing that may not be appropriate for one of our employees to do while on the job," he said.

The pilot had just returned to work from a weeklong mission trip to Costa Rica, Wagner said.

8th Feb 2004, 13:14
Why are we not surprised?
AA....at it again. Good grief.

Having said this, at least not heading for the hills (ala Cali), or running off the end (ala Littlerock)...not to mention the A300-600....:{ :yuk:

And, for those that think I am being meanspirited, just look at the AA record.

With guys like this working for them, no wonder they have problems.:ugh:

Mistah Kurtz
8th Feb 2004, 13:40
Yes, don't like fundamentalism whatever hat it's wearing

8th Feb 2004, 14:22
The pilot later told passengers he himself would be available at the end of the flight to talk about his first announcement.

All joking aside, at least he indicated there wasn't going to be an unexpected end to the flight. If I heard that announcement over the PA, I would be wondering what the hell else was going through his head. :uhoh:

8th Feb 2004, 14:57
Can you imagine the outcry had the pilot requested the PAX to discuss Islam? (not that there is anything wrong with that!)

8th Feb 2004, 15:20
Fundamentalism or extremism regardless it being religious, political or anything else is c.rap.

Unprofessional. Sack his bu.t

8th Feb 2004, 18:22
Why doesn’t anybody complaint when you hear the prayer on the PA in Saudia flights?????
Why doesn’t anybody complaint when you see the capt going for prayer in the middle of the departure ?????
I know, fundamentalist are bad in every sense, but …. Let the poor guy express himself … at the end is our religion … or NOT????
May God bless this man.

8th Feb 2004, 18:41

Totally agree with you.

We are coming to some very interesting times, very soon I think. Better become a Christian.

As GW has said, we must all come down on one side of the fence, or the other. There are no in-betweens.

Are you going to choose between a religion or society that closes it's doors to the infidel or the one with the "wrong" hand shake, or the Lord Jesus Christ?

I know which I have chosen. His doors are open to all and no secrecy involved.

8th Feb 2004, 18:44

Why doesn’t anybody complaint when you hear the prayer on the PA in Saudia flights?????

I know, fundamentalist are bad in every sense, but …. Let the poor guy express himself … at the end is our religion … or NOT????
May God bless this man.

Whilst I respect your right to practice whichever religion you choose, there are occasions that it is not appropriate to make these kinds of statements. I feel that by doing this on the flight, the Captain may have caused unnecessary emotional discomfort to some passengers.

I have no problem with the Captain saying a prayer (to himself) on behalf of himself, his crew and his passengers; I do that with my family before we travel.

Regarding the Saudi flight(s); anyone traveling to or from Saudi Arabia will (should) be fully aware of the very public demonstration of faith/religion that exists there. You cannot go there on holiday, only business, work or reside so you should be fully aware of this.

I am living and working in the Middle East, and prayers like this are made on behalf of all, they are not asking you to identify yourself as the member one or another faith.

I am reminded of the persecution of the Jews in WWII and cannot stop myself from thinking that there may have been some worried people on that flight.

Just in case someone says "freedom of speech" I don't think that that applies to professional (public service) positions.


8th Feb 2004, 19:07
Whoop whoop racist alert!! Who are "we" and why is it "(y)our" country???

8th Feb 2004, 19:35
Oh crumbs :ooh:

In some ways I admire this pilot for having the courage of his convictions & sticking his neck on the block to spread his beliefs but on the other hand I'm surprised by his lack of professionalism. I'm just thinking oif my bosses reaction if I started to convert customers when doing my job, I'd get the boot very quick, even though he's a committed Christian & fairly open about expressing his beliefs.

Christianity preaches or brainwashes (depending on your perspective) that you're doing a service to society if you go out & preach 'the good news & the "truth"' so no doubt the captain felt he was justified in being a good, brave, unashamed Christain. Trouble is there's no guarantee in what he's been brainwashed with is the truth so one's on dangerous ground if they start trying to force it on customers when doing ones job.

There's a time & place for everything, IMHO this was neither the time or place for this type of behaviour though I still have a sneaking admiration for the man's brave if foolhardy & biased behaviour.

8th Feb 2004, 19:35
The issue is not his religion but his inappropriate use of the aircraft cabin, where he has an entirely different role, to evangelise, possibly to the embarrassment or discomfort of others, Christians and other faiths alike.

8th Feb 2004, 20:00
Firstly, isn't the point here that the PA was used at a captive audience, who have no choice but to listen. Should the same speech be made on a street corner, then we would all be free to walk away and ignore him, or stay and listen, as our choice dictates. That option was not available to those passengers.

Secondly, the subject matter is inappropriate for the situation. If the Captain has the right to concern himself publicly in these matters in this location, then I, as Cabin Crew, may choose to exercise the same right on the PA and seek to identify Democrats, Masochists and Anal sex practitioners, or to promote Satanism as a viable lifestyle alternative. I don't do this because (in western societies at least) this kind of zealotry is not part of mainstream life and is regarded by a substantial proportion of citizens as offensive or an infringment of their rights - also I'd get fired!.

Thirdly, the situation demonstrates a considerable lack of good judgement by the pilot involved. Nervous passengers might reasonably begin to question the quality of his judgement in other areas related to flying and become uncomfortable about putting their lives in his hands.

I'll be fascinated to see where this one goes. Initially, it will no doubt attract comment from all the various religous fanatics that the world has to suffer, and I'm sure someone somewhere will create a defense that waves the (soiled) flag of religous freedom and the right to free speech - where we go from there will be interesting!

Rwy in Sight
8th Feb 2004, 20:45

Very well said. It IS worrying when someone takes as his/her personal mission to promote his/her life style over a captive audience.

In a related side I hope/wander if a pax would sue AA over emotional distress caused by the announcements.

Regarding the comparaison with Saudia a short commnet: the USA is meant to be a country with no official religion while Saudia ... operates on a different set of rules that has to be respected by visitors and foreign residing in the Kingdom. If you don't like them you leave.

Rwy in Sight

8th Feb 2004, 21:01
As has been mentioned here, the pilot could have made his comment about Christianity, Hiduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judasim........the religion is not the point.

You don't go to your church, temple, synagogue, or wherever to hear "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. Kindly fasten your seatbelts.............."

8th Feb 2004, 21:29
No, Pilocol. It's not 'our' religion. It's yours and it's his, but it's definitely not mine.

8th Feb 2004, 22:24
Knowing LAX-JFK flights there were probably plenty of Jewish lawyers on board ......

Outcome should be interesting !!

8th Feb 2004, 22:42
I was going to go into serious print, but then re-read the whole thread and remebered an appropriate saying:

There are none as deaf as those who don't WANT to hear.


8th Feb 2004, 23:14
Well, I'm a Christian, and I do agree that what this guy did was a little unprofessional. Invictus, you said that the comments made may have caused emmotional discomfort, if you were on a Saudi flight and you heard prayers on the PA, then that is there religion and their culture. What's the big deal if you hear a Christian prayer over the PA on a flight in a Christian country? What's the difference?

The big deal is that America is a SECULAR country, respecting ALL religions and belief systems EQUALLY. It is NOT a Christian country. And I would NEVER let it become one. Clear?

8th Feb 2004, 23:15
Flew with a F/E years ago who went around putting 'Jesus loves you' stickers on everyone's flight bag and around the flight deck. He wasn't around long after that.

An F/O in once earnestly remarked that whatever happens after an engine failure it is the will of God - the Captain told him equally earnestly that it was the will of crew reactions and SOP. He didn't last long either.

flite idol
8th Feb 2004, 23:36
What an obnoxious ****. I have flown with a few religious fanatical zealots, "hi I`m captain Smith and I`m a christian, have you been saved first officer Jones?" NIP IT IN THE BUD! I DO!
There MAY be a time and a place, but its not on a commercial flight, on company time whilst being well paid to perform a rather important function.

9th Feb 2004, 00:16
There are certainly regional differences in attitude about this sort of thing.

Here's the New York version of the story from the Daily News:

Pilot's crazy rant


An American Airlines pilot terrified passengers aboard a Los Angeles-to-New York flight when he asked Christians to identify themselves and then called those who weren't Christian "crazy," witnesses and an airline spokesman said yesterday.
Fearing the pilot might have some sinister plans for the flight, many frantic passengers tried to reach their families on their cell phones, witnesses told CBS News.

Shortly after takeoff on Friday, the pilot asked people aboard Flight 34 to "raise their hand if they were Christian," according to one passenger, Amanda Nelligan, of Los Angeles, who spoke to CBS.

He then told the passengers that "everyone who doesn't have their hand raised is crazy," Nelligan said.

"He continued to say, 'Well, you have a choice: You can make this trip worthwhile, or you can sit back, read a book and watch the movie," Nelligan said.

Flight attendants contacted ground control about the incident, assuring passengers that they didn't think they were in any real danger.

Nelligan said she and other passengers thought the behavior was "bizarre" and wondered whether his comments were a threat.

CBS identified the pilot, but confirmation was not immediately available.

American Airline spokesman Tim Wagner said the incident was being investigated, and added that the company has guidelines about appropriate behavior.

The pilot had apparently just returned from a missionary trip to Costa Rica, the spokesman said.

"It falls along the lines of a personal level of sharing that may not be appropriate for one of our employees to do while on the job," Wagner said.

The 8 a.m. flight arrived at JFK Airport about 4:20 p.m. without incident.

The Federal Aviation Administration is not investigating, a spokeswoman said.



And here's the Texas version from the Fort Worth paper:

Posted on Sun, Feb. 08, 2004

American investigating pilot for religious inquiry on flight
Los Angeles Times

An American Airlines pilot was under investigation Saturday for asking passengers on his Los Angeles-based flight to raise their hands if they were Christians, an airline spokesman said.

Pilot Rodger Findiesen of Annapolis, Md., then invited others to talk with these passengers about their religious beliefs during the 4 1/2-hour cross-country flight on Friday, spokesman Tim Wagner said.

Findiesen had recently visited a Christian mission in Costa Rica, Wagner said.

"I guess he was moved by the experience and wanted to share his emotions," he said.

Wagner said airline officials had interviewed Findiesen about the incident aboard Flight 34 and "have already begun an investigation into it."

"It is a question of whether his judgment was appropriate while on duty," Wagner said. He was unsure of what company rules the pilot might have broken.

The guidelines "all boil down to just showing respect for our customers and employees," he said, "and making sure everyone feels comfortable on our flights."

Findiesen declined to comment Saturday. "I can't speak to you," he said. "My wife is here, and she's very upset."

The pilot told airline officials that he made the comment as his Boeing 767-200 passenger plane was taking off from Los Angeles International Airport about 8 a.m. local time, Wagner said.

When other crew members received inquires from some passengers, Findiesen told them he would be available to respond after the flight landed Friday afternoon at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

At least one passenger apparently complained to a TV station in New York City.

"At the moment, I do not know of any official complaints from passengers on board," Wagner said. "We would prefer they would come to us first."


9th Feb 2004, 00:21
The crux of the matter is that religion is a very personal matter. Many people have strong feelings one way or another about their religion.

Religion is also a personal pathway in a person's life, and when one is made to feel outside of their personal "comfort zone" or that their pathway is being challenged, then they may become uncomfortable about the person(s) who made them feel that way.

If I were an F/O I would not like to feel "uncomfortable" around the Captain. As a passenger I want to do as little "thinking" about the Captain on the flight as possible.

It may be nice for the other (in this case) christians on the flight, but what about the feelings of the others?

There are no grounds to compare Saudi Airlines to this situation, in many Islamic countires the way of life revolves around their religion and their religion can be observed in most daily events. This is not the case in most western cultures. An event like this is expected on Saudi Airlines, not quites so with AA ??


9th Feb 2004, 00:55
Why is it in the land of the free some people feel the need to wear their religion on their sleeve, and others seek to impose theirs on the rest of us (i.e. idiot judge in Mississippi with his 10 commandments tablet).

Religion is/should be a personal preference in a free society. You have yours, I have mine. Let's keep it that way eh?

9th Feb 2004, 01:17
The next person to mess up this thread, intentionally or not, with discussion that is not DIRECTLY related to the pilot concerned or pilots and PA's will have their posts deleted in order to prevent the discussion descending into the usual flame war when religion is dicussed.

So, if you don't want a wasted effort, think VERY carefully about what you write before submitting it. Remember, the discussion is about an AA pilot making what is considered to be an inappropriate PA, in this case about religious issues to a captive audience which in this case caused some consternation amongst them, and not about the differences in attitudes to or amongst different religions and societies. :suspect:

9th Feb 2004, 01:44
I wonder what neurotransmitters were bubbling about in the Captain's brain while he was feeling such uncontrollable emotion about Jesus. Why couldn't he control himself and behave appropriately?

There is a lot more to this story than we know.


9th Feb 2004, 05:11
That's my opinion about this captain...
I fully approve Tightslot judgment about this foolish announce.
As many have said, this preacher-captain has mistaken public and private, 21st and 13th century, fundamentalism and secularism. a plane and a church,.....I wonder if he reads 230 heading on the altimeter and so on.

Something which isn't funny at all : he pretented to convince everyone onboard HIS religion was best, and that reminds me what happened in Spain around the time C.Colomb discovered West Indies.

Upon this time, kind of mandatory debates were organised in many Spanish cities, with the participation of high ranking religious authorities.
The theme of the debate was to allow a public competition between Christian and Jewish religion.
You can guess who was the winner!
It was a tool wich led to forced conversions, expulsions, torture and stakes, and this lasted a very, very long time, extended to Portugal... and overseas.

Please! This man is dangerous!
Have him to shutup or go fly paper planes in psychiatric asylum!

9th Feb 2004, 05:33
I wonder if he closes his eyes when the rad-alt passes through 666' ?

Dear oh dear - where did the guy think he was? Having access to the PA button does not give him the right to take advantage of having a captive audience. Nor should he think that he can manipulate the passengers in this way, "suggesting" that they discuss their religious views during the flight. What arrogance!

If preaching is what he would like to do, best he find himself a more suitable and appropriate setting. He is there to operate the flight, not preach.

I'm amazed that none of the passengers complained there and then.

9th Feb 2004, 07:48
Complain on the plane?? Are you kidding? This character could radio ahead and have me arrested on whatever charge he wanted. The US TSA is very touchy about "problem" passengers. If no marshals were aboard the plane, it would strictly be the captain's word. His would have a lot more weight than mine.

I'd just be happy to get safely on the ground. I might complain later - but would that put me on the no-fly list?

9th Feb 2004, 08:18
If I was on a flight where the "Captain" told all Christians to raise their hands, my first thought in this day and age would be: are there terrorists on board that want to know who are the "Christian enemies"??? :uhoh: heh, folks... now THAT is scary!!!


9th Feb 2004, 08:46
If no marshals were aboard the plane, it would strictly be the captain's word.
Hardly. Not when an entire aircraft-load of passengers heard what he said!!!

WestWind1950 ... that would have been my first thought too. I would not have felt comfortable with being asked to publicly identify myself for ANY reason let alone on religious grounds and I would not have felt terribly happy at the prospect of remaining on board after that ill-advised announcement.

What the pilot did was inexcusable. An employee on company time should not indulge in personal crusades.

cargo boy
9th Feb 2004, 10:07
Complain whilst on board? Have any of you seen the film 'Anger Management'? Those that have will remember the scenario where the guy (Adam Sandler) is eventually done for air-rage when all he was trying to do was get a headset for the movie. Hilarious but scary when you see how the scenario unfolds in the movie.

Now, consider the American Airlines flight in question. Whatever the good intentions of the pilot concerned, he had no right to try and dictate what the fare paying passengers should or should not discuss, especially religion! I would imagine that the pilot will be referred for psychiatric assessment (or re-assessment) if he has any intention of keeping his job.

The SLF expect a safe, professional, worry free flight. It would seem that in this case they had a lot to think about and no doubt for many of them a cringingly embarrasing time with no choice but to listen to the brainwashing attempts by an evangalist who literally had their destiny in his hands.

Tea and buiscits with hat on (and no tea and buiscits) with the Chief Pilot was probably the order of the day for this captain (for now).:suspect:

9th Feb 2004, 10:09
The desire of Christians to spread the Gospel is quite understandable, but one has to pick the proper venues.

It's seems rather obvious the Captain involved was deeply touched and otherwise affected by his missionary trip the previous week (a proverbial "religious experience"), and I'm sure he's undoubtedly a nice fellow, but his use of the left seat as a pulpit for even a basic broaching of any religious topic (of any faith) was both ill-advised and unprofessional.

Sacking him (as some others have advocated) I think is pretty harsh, and it'd be my hope that he be given some time off (perhaps with counseling) to search for (and hopefully find) that best balance between personal belief and knowing where/when to espouse it.

9th Feb 2004, 10:56
i am of no religion whatsoever, i do respect other peoples rights to religion, but i draw the line when they try and sell it to me, this pilot may have had the best intentions, but this situation is similar to when the jehovahs witnesses come knocking, only in this case u cant slam the door on them, whats gonna be next different seating areas for different religions

9th Feb 2004, 11:35
It's usually the people who "mean well" who cause life's biggest annoyances. They don't really create major crises, but they sure do drive us nuts and mess up perfectly good days.

I rather doubt that telling him to cool it will do much good. Some people think that their religious beliefs supercede everything, including others' rights to a calm and peaceful life. They mean well and maybe their reward in the next life will be to experience what they have imposed on others ... for all eternity. HA!

I am a religious person, one who feels that people have the right to work next to me without listening to my views on the Deity of my choice.

I wonder if the pilot has one of those plastic statues of Jesus that we had? You know, the kind that supposedly fell off if we exceeded the speed limit?

9th Feb 2004, 13:03
Did any of you Gents travel on Malyasia Airlines recently? Every seat has individual TV screens and access to the In Flight Tracking System. That system is interupted every five minutes or so by an arrow pointing to Mecca so Pax know where to face and

And you know what: I find it offending as a non muslim. As offending as if some Jesus freak were to make a P.A. praising Christianity or being forced Kosher or Halal food.

When I pick up that mike to announce the pax I know it isn't the same as being on stage. I keep it short and factual. What this AA guy did was nothing short than P.A. terrorism!

9th Feb 2004, 13:18
One should expect NOTHING less than arrogance from AA guys, after all...they seem to find the places to have incidents/accidents better than any other US aircarrier.

Avoid, without a doubt, if at all possible.

Rwy in Sight
9th Feb 2004, 13:26
Well I think the guy just opened a new way to generate income for AA. Just next time instead of promoting his religion he may promote Panasonic mobiles, GM cars or Hertz auto rentals.

Rwy in Sight

9th Feb 2004, 14:08
It would make you wonder though if a guy like that had a problem with the aeroplane, would he reach for his Flight Manual or his Bible? When flying aeroplanes, prayer is a last resort, not a first action. I lost a colleague in an aeroplane where the only message on the CVR before impact was 'God has control'

Loose rivets
9th Feb 2004, 14:08
Mmm...'remids me of a Captain shortly after the war, when the holiday industry was just starting. He was a charming man, a pleasure to fly with, and held a service on the tarmac when the airline suffered a serious accident. Fine, one could choose to attend or not, and anyway, to most it seemed appropriate.

Years later a frantic jet F/E scuttled back to a dead-heading training capt, and said words to the effect "for Fu**s sake do something...we are running out of fuel and XXX keeps saying God will provide. The F/O is seriously talking of putting the fire axe in the skipper's head"

It is to the best of my knowledge a true story, but i don't know the extent of the fuel shortage, though i gather they did land en-route. Whatever the skipper's intentions, he certainly scared the proverbial out of the crew. It was not in any way appropriate behavior.

I believe that we must divorce our belief-system from our daily science. I also happen to believe that if there is a creator, they would want us to get of with the job of being on this trial and testing ground of a planet, to do a job the best we can...without keep calling up to the head office for guidance.

It seems that this man was doing a good job as an humanitarian and Christian...prior to coming back to work. So many well-intentioned people cannot see the dividing line.

Sadly, it is probably true that to make such a bad judgement call, needs looking at very carefully. Should he not have seen that such comments were out of place and may scare the captive congregation. If he could it's bad, if he couldn't it's worse.

9th Feb 2004, 14:14
With the risk of leaning towards what Danny (rightfully so) doesn't want, there is a huge difference between Malaysian Airlines and American Airlines.

Malaysia is a Muslim country, simple. The United States of America is............

I have used Malysian (and Emirates for that matter) with the full knowledge of the countries they represent, and what occurs. If you don't want to see the "moving map" and the direction of Mecca, you can change the channel or not look at it. A P.A. announcement, WHOLE different thing (I suppose you could always put your fingers in your ears!). I tend to listen to EVERY announcement during a flight, fully expecting the driver to impart information reagrding the flight. But to also ask passengers to involve themselves is a step even further than a little too far!

9th Feb 2004, 14:26
Say you're the base Chief Pilot at AA: What would you say to this guy after calling him to your office?

9th Feb 2004, 15:11
"JESUS CHRIST man ! What were you thinking!!?!?!"

9th Feb 2004, 15:49
I think the point's best made by 411A in the second post on this thread - "AA at it again". I'm a Christian and I know I should be evangelising when I get the opportunity, but to do it as the official spokesperson of AA (which is what the captain is, like it or not, to that group of people) is just inappropriate unless it is the specific policy of his airline.

I take it, btw, that it isn't a policy of AA?:O

9th Feb 2004, 18:28
<<"JESUS CHRIST man ! What were you thinking!!?!?!">>
Hmm, sounds like a long serving, ex FE CP I once knew :rolleyes:

9th Feb 2004, 18:52
Despite 411A's advice I'm due to fly AA in the summer and would prefer it if the crew would not discuss religion over the PA, especially in these times of 'holy wars' and the like. I've not flown extensively with airlines from muslim countries but I don't remember any religious announcements coming over the PA. (They do blast out the prayers over the Tannoy at Cairo Airport, however).

As for the map pointing at Mecca, it is no skin off my nose, neither would it be if one of the PTV channels was showing one of those American televangelists that we hear about. That is all down to choice, the PA isn't.

9th Feb 2004, 20:02
The difference between putting a Mecca arrow on the IFTS and giving a PA like this is sizeable. After all, this was active proselytising, rather than simply providing the required conditions to pray for any pax who were moved to. Note that he tried to induce the Christian passengers to preach - now that is far more intrusive and aggressive than even reading out a prayer Saudia-style. (I know that if I was to be travelling in an aircraft when this happened I'd have jumped out of my skin with pure weirdness. I wonder if anyone asked to be seated next to one of the non-Christians or vice versa?)

9th Feb 2004, 20:20
Perhaps the pilot in question should seek out other aviators and managers of similar belief and found an airline (for US domestic services) that features compulsory in-flight religious instruction.

Personally, I would not choose to fly that airline but I understand that other people may have different views.

I have often sat next to lay preachers travelling to/from Africa. I wish that some of them could refrain from spreading their word.


9th Feb 2004, 20:56
Caused some bemusement over here too.

To ligthen things up, it reminded me of a friend of a friend's tale about "religious changes" from a one-time hard man military type who "saw the light" and by all accounts signed up for this religion and followed it devoutly. He was apparently doing something religiously out in the street and some yobs thought it would be fun to extract the urine from the "bible basher" and feigned interest in God's word. God will provide was a theme and the little scrotes thought it would be good to "bash the bible basher" to get the provision of God's holy estate and the said gent was unable to turn the other cheek and his former military training came in and he kicked several bells out of the possee in the interests of self defence.

Not sure how apocryphal that is, but was quite funny.

More seriously, however, I wonder what the lawyers will make of it if any action is taken against the pilot for his actions. And how long before the first "class action" starts?

9th Feb 2004, 21:06
surely the pilot will be protected from legal action by passengers by his first amendement free speech rights. but that wouldn't stop him from being sacked, if that's what AA wanted to do.

I ain't a lawyer though

9th Feb 2004, 21:10
Well, there was no malice here. Just an error in judgement with a captive audience. Still, the 33% boys are probably pulling their "rights trampled and only a cash settlement will heal my client's wounds" suits out of the file cabinets now.

Lu Zuckerman
9th Feb 2004, 21:16
When the “Rapture” comes and this pilot is taken away hopefully for the sake of the non-Christian passengers the Co Pilot is Jewish.

:E :E

9th Feb 2004, 21:19
What rights? I don't see any right not to hear religious messages or indeed advertising / commercial messages. AA is not part of government, so no church / state separation issues. Now, prayer in the ATC center would be something completely different.

9th Feb 2004, 21:20
Does anyone else find this the more scary knowing that the guy probably had a gun in his flight case?

9th Feb 2004, 21:38

I didn't say there were any rights. Just that some guy or gal with a briefcase will find a way to assert that the pax was (choose your term) inconvenienced, harrassed, denied enjoyment of the flight, distracted, offended, tempted to denial of faith, etc. Hey -- there's money to be made here.

The pilot made a mistake, an error of judgement, meant no harm. But I think I can hear cash registers ringing.

"I was afraid it might be a terrorist." ka-CHING
"Could think only of my loved ones and how they would miss me." ka-CHING
"I was so looking forward to enjoying the Grand Tetons or the Grand Canyon or the Grand Caymans or the Grand something, and he spoiled it." ka-CHING.

I'm sorry I'm so cynical.


10th Feb 2004, 00:32
Another update on the story from CNN:

Passengers: Pilot promotes faith on flight

Monday, February 9, 2004 Posted: 12:01 PM EST (1701 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A pilot asked passengers on an American Airlines flight to identify themselves as Christians, calling those who aren't "crazy," some of the passengers said Monday.

The airline is investigating reports about the incident onboard Flight 34 from Los Angeles, California, to New York on Friday, a company spokesman said.

In a statement, the airline said, "It falls along the lines of a personal level of sharing that may not be appropriate for one of our employees to do while on the job."

Passenger Jen Dorsey told CNN's "American Morning," "We were just at the beginning of our flight. The pilot came on to greet everyone and give his comments for the morning, and he said he'd recently been on a mission trip, and he'd like all the Christians to please raise their hands."

Fellow passenger Karla Austin said, "He said, 'If you are a Christian, raise your hand.' He said, 'If you are not, you're crazy.' "

Dorsey nodded her head in agreement that the pilot had used the word "crazy."

No passengers raised their hands, Austin said.

The pilot asked passengers to look around at each other and use their 4 1/2-hour flight wisely or "just sit back and watch the movie," Dorsey recalled.

Austin said passengers were shocked. Some reached for their mobile phones and others used the on-flight phones, she said.

"Just given the history of what's happened on planes in this country, anything can happen at this point, " Austin said. "So we weren't sure if something was going to happen at takeoff, if he was going to wait until JFK [John F. Kennedy Airport] to do something. But there was definitely implication there that we felt that something was going to happen."

Passengers complained to the flight attendants, who relayed their concerns to the cockpit, and then reassured them they had no nothing to worry about on the flight, Austin said.

Attendants also told passengers they had contacted airline officials about the matter and that the purser was talking to the pilot, she said.

About 45 minutes into the flight, the pilot came back on and apologized -- but his apology focused on the crew, not the passengers, Dorsey said.

"He came on and said, 'I want to apologize for my comments earlier. I think I really threw the flight crew off a little bit, and they are getting a lot of flack for the things I said. So I want to apologize to my flight crew,' " she said.

On her way off the plane, Austin said she told the pilot "he should be ashamed of himself."

"He just nodded and looked to the ground, and that was it," she said.

Airline spokesman Tim Kincaid said Sunday the pilot recently had returned from a mission trip to Costa Rica. If an investigation proves the allegations true, the incident "would be against our policy," the spokesman said.


10th Feb 2004, 02:59
may not be appropriate
Anyone else sick to death of the word "appropriate? What's wrong with "wrong"?

10th Feb 2004, 03:07
reynoldsno1 - what's wrong with wrong is that it would be inappropriate

Per Ardua Ad Ibiza

10th Feb 2004, 05:55
Speaking as an attorney, I'cant say how glad to here of this pilots expressions in an inappropriate forum. Bye the way, if any of you are interested in a second career, pilots are always welcome in law school, if not that as professional witnesses.:cool:

10th Feb 2004, 07:45
>>Speaking as an attorney, I'cant say how glad to here of this pilots expressions in an inappropriate forum.<<

You must be an Aggie Law School graduate with that distinctive spelling, grammar and punctuation <g>.

10th Feb 2004, 12:45
"Speaking as an attorney" doesn't make you one.

Capt W E Johns
10th Feb 2004, 17:25
This American Airlines pilot is a citizen of a 'secular' state and Airline? Puritanical, hypocritical, inappropriate tosh.

10th Feb 2004, 23:46
It was unprofessional of the pilot to scare the passengers and to insult them by calling them "crazy" if they did not raise their hand.

He may not have meant to scare them, but he should have thought about that. It is reasonable, given what has happened, for the passengers to worry that a hijacking was in progress or that the pilot was suicidal.

He should realize that many people are uncomfortable with people who preach their religion. By asking the Christians on board to explain their beliefs to others he was bound to make some people unhappy, even some Christians. The airline should want the passengers to have a safe and comfortable flight, not make them wish they were someplace else.

I would not want to identify my religion and proselytize to a bunch of complete strangers. That is not why I pay to fly somewhere.

Shore Guy
11th Feb 2004, 01:21
As I recall, the F/O was praying as Egypt Air went into it's dive....

11th Feb 2004, 03:19
If this captain had been enjoying the 3 hours cruising flight doing something else, for instance kniting (I tried it, it's recommended to ease the stress and all that sort of thing) hidden behind the cockpit locked door, the media would not have spoken of AA.

Why not a refreshment course about kniting for AA captains?

dallas dude
11th Feb 2004, 07:03

The time might be better spent reading an Arizona author's guide on "How to be as perfect as I am!".

There's a time and a place for pretty much any topic but this was neither. No one I've spoken to condones it or defends it, irrespective of their religious beliefs, given the "audience".

IMO if [in hindsight] the Captain realises this was a very poor choice and such choices won't be repeated, end of story.
After all, it's not as if he had a "uniform malfunction" during boarding!


Ralph Cramden
11th Feb 2004, 11:12
Just another idiot too stupid to be in charge of anything more sophisticated than a Dinky Toy.

Ignition Override
11th Feb 2004, 12:37
Any topics as personal as religion or politics are best never discussed with total strangers. Should not historical intolerance or hostility toward people who have different beliefs/attitudes have been adequate reasons for the overzealous guy to wait until he was in his street clothes and look for converts? And only in person? No matter how well he was received during his stay in Costa Rica or wherever..........most people might not want to be 'converted' to anything, unless it brings them better security, food and shelter...

Is he fairly new to the "Blue Planet", with no historical awareness of the murderous human race?:ouch:

11th Feb 2004, 14:51
Sure DD I had enough with it.

Before I quit, I have nevertheless something to add: do you know the "Captain's Parable"?

" Onboard this world, as a plane.
Many preachers lecturing us.
Telling what's right, what's insane.
And all they wish, you can guess,
It is to be our captain

12th Feb 2004, 05:00
'Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome aboard Funfilled Airline flight 555 to Tinnyreef. Will all heterosexuals please raise their hands. Now that you have identified all the homosexuals on board, please talk to them and convince them of the error of their ways'...

I wonder which trash company would employ me to empty their bins?

The man should be removed from contact with the general public. It is none of his damned business what anyone's religious beliefs, or any other belief is; it's entirely personal and nothing to do with anyone else.

bugg smasher
12th Feb 2004, 07:10

With all due respect Father, those who seek shall find, or so it is written; we do not need it rammed down the proverbial throat.

I think the English right to privacy should be enshrined, at the earliest opportunity, in the American constitution.

13th Feb 2004, 00:49
What really worries me is that these AA pilots have been given weapons to take on board.
Christians, raise your hand so that I can shoot the others.
Hope it's only fiction?

G-Foxtrot Oscar 69
13th Feb 2004, 02:26
Now I may be missing something here but if I was advised by the Captain to discuss Jesus mid flight I would want off.

Images of impending doom would loom!

Mind you I feel sorry for his FO. “Had a great time flying with Cpt. X, learnt nothing of how to fly but am off to become a monk! Will that effect my bonding?”

13th Feb 2004, 03:27
Speaking as an individual who has the uncanny ability to see through the forest to the trees:

I give you that this whole incident points to the greater problem of the caliber of American Airlines pilots.

American Airlines has always hired "sheep". Talk to any American Airlines pilot and you will quickly see that the individual has no spine, and is simply a sheep with a follower mentality, devoid of any leadership qualities.

These timid individuals allow themselves to be whipsawed by the company as well as their own union "alpha-sheep" leaders. They sit passively as their cockpit mate flies them into a Columbian hillside, or into a raging Arkansas thunderstorm, or through Connecticut treetops, or lands 1000 meters short of the runway in Chicago, or as a group, allow themselves to be "trained" to make violent rudder inputs as a response to a simple, benign wake turbulence encounter.

These people, who squatted with apparent glee in order to obtain the stool samples they had to submit pre-employment, should be made to realize that in the real world, it is the weak and diseased who dabble in and around excrement.

And there is no place for excrement in aviation.

If my friends, you are ever asked to gather up your own excrement and present it for a job that is not within the food service industry...I suggest you consider that "If they make me do this, they know I will do anything they wish and am just a malleable jellyfish."

Just the facts as I see them.

And yes all of you American Airlines arrogant sheep....they are all facts!!!

Cali, Little Rock, Chicago, New York, Boeings,and Airbusses OH MY!

13th Feb 2004, 03:33
Excessive judgements are vain........................

13th Feb 2004, 05:55
Attention jonntyrhodes and 411A:

I am very sorry that you couldn't get hired at American Airlines. I have no idea why they turned you down.

Maybe you flunked the rigorous medical. Possibly a former employer gave a less than stellar remark about your flying abilities? Was there something that didn't quite add up in your logbook?

Whatever the reason, you were rejected. And you are still angry.

Get over it and try to keep the whiny comments out of your posts about American Airlines pilots.

They obviously hired some idiots. That can happen at any airline, especially one that has 14,000 people on the seniority list. My own airline has its own share of goofballs. They all do. If you have any experience in the industry you will know that.

So grow up.


13th Feb 2004, 06:43
Press the call button and say to the cabin staff "Tell that god-bothering motherf***er to shut the f*** up. Now!"

Damn happy-clapping Jesus-freaks should remember that religion has caused more wars throughout history than anything else.

13th Feb 2004, 10:20
Where is "on the edge of sanity"?
I think you are far beyond it.
I am an AA pilot, and as someone previously mentioned,there
are some oddballs around,and I certainly disagree with the pilot in question, but I take great offense to being
called "sheep".
Are you a pilot,and if so I wonder who hired you?
Glad you are not at AA or any other major.

flite idol
13th Feb 2004, 21:40
Looks like they`ve been at it again! According to the news on TV last night an AA flight departing from DFW to Californian had to download the pax due to an "unusual smell" in the cabin. Once cleared by maintenance they reloaded all of the pax with the exception of four Catholic nuns. The ticket agent was quoted as saying that the Captain was "not comfortable" having them on HIS aircraft! Tickets refunded and left to fend for themselves. Another PR coup for AA pilots! At least it shows they are not just prejudiced towards non-christians.

14th Feb 2004, 05:13
Your post is not quite accurate. There were six people involved, four of them nuns. All six exhibited an odor of sulphur. They were not left to fend for themselves.

Four California nuns say they were among six passengers kept off an American Airlines flight in January after crew members complained of a sulfur smell in the cabin and ordered passengers off the plane.

Attendants on the Fresno flight reported something that "smelled like sulfur," and the pilot ordered all of the passengers to deplane. All but six passengers were quickly cleared to re-board the aircraft, and all of those eventually were cleared and booked on another flight.

CNN story with all details (http://www.cnn.com/2004/TRAVEL/02/12/airline.nuns/index.html)

14th Feb 2004, 05:41
OK - so maybe someone farted. Or maybe some nun farted?

Is that enough to stop a flight in the 'Land of the Free' these days?

So glad I don't have to go there anymore.....

14th Feb 2004, 09:22
Ripe for JB methinks. When you have as many individuals in a company or institution as AA do there are bound to be people doing things others disapprove or are suspicious of. Not necessarily dangerous. Like praising the lord or even flipping the bird. How can we get to six pages of this BS? And now sulphuric NUNS!

14th Feb 2004, 10:27
Notice that now the CEO of AA has published an apology for the 'behavior' of the 'come to Jesus' pilot.
With clowns (pilots) like this, would think that AA would need a whole department to explain themselves.

Will it ever end for AA, one finger salutes and all......?:(

Short answer, not in our lifetimes.:oh:
AA, arrogance personified.

14th Feb 2004, 10:53
AA seems to have become the Johnny Rotten of the airline industry.

Who says big business is colourless and bland - these pilots rock.

(However I wouldn't want to fly with them!):eek:

Ralph Cramden
14th Feb 2004, 11:31
You got it 1965. I wouldn't want to fly with them either!

bugg smasher
14th Feb 2004, 12:00
AA now reporting that the pilot in question has been grounded pending a full investigation of the incident. They'll have to tread carefully, in my opinion, certain sections of the population so inclined agree with his actions, and will likely boycott the airline should he be turfed. A sticky problem for AA management, no?

May I suggest donating one of your mothballed 727's to his cause, and put him in charge of the new 'division', headquarters TBA.

14th Feb 2004, 14:32
>>Knowing LAX-JFK flights there were probably plenty of Jewish lawyers on board ......

Outcome should be interesting !!<<

An apology appropriate to the market demographics of the route has been issued:

AA chief apologizes for pilot's comments on Christianity

05:25 PM CST on Friday, February 13, 2004

Associated Press

FORT WORTH - The chief executive of American Airlines has apologized after a pilot suggested that non-Christian passengers on a recent flight discuss the faith with Christians.

Gerard Arpey said the airline has grounded the pilot with pay while executives investigate the incident.

Arpey said he apologized to anyone who was offended by the pilot's comments on a flight from Los Angeles to New York.

"Let me assure you that we take this very seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation," Arpey wrote in a letter to Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, an advocacy group that monitors anti-Semitism. He said American Airlines "promotes an environment of respect for the diversity of all persons, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, disability, gender, age or sexual orientation."

Foxman had written to Arpey that religious belief is a personal matter and the pilot had breached the privacy of passengers. He called the pilot's conduct "deeply troubling."

The airline said the Washington-based pilot asked passengers on the Feb. 7 flight to raise their hands if they were Christian. Speaking over the aircraft public-address system, he then suggested that other passengers use the flight time to talk to the Christians about their faith, an airline spokesman said.

An airline spokesman, Tim Wagner, said American was interviewing crew members and passengers who complained about the comments. The airline has also asked the pilots' union about the incident. Wagner declined to say whether American would disclose its final findings.

The pilot did not respond to an e-mail request for an interview.


14th Feb 2004, 15:07
1965 and Ralph -

Well, I do fly with them a lot. Nearly 3 MILLION air miles worth, and I like them a lot, and will continue to fly them. In all those air miles I have never experienced an "odd" PA from the flight deck - ever!

Here is the LINK HERE (http://www.cnn.com/2004/TRAVEL/02/13/pilot.christianity.ap/index.html) to the CNN story that 411A so graciously left out. For those that are "firewall" challenged, here is a cut'n'paste of the story:

"Friday, February 13, 2004 Posted: 3:33 PM EST (2033 GMT)

• Pilot's proselytizing scares passengers

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- The chief executive of American Airlines apologized after the pilot of a recent cross-country flight got on the intercom and asked all Christians aboard to raise their hands.

The pilot, Rodger K. Findiesen of Annapolis, Maryland, has been grounded while the February 7 incident is investigated, Gerard Arpey said.

The pilot of the Los Angeles-to-New York flight asked all Christians aboard to discuss their faith with their fellow passengers.

Let me assure you that we take this very seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation," Arpey wrote to Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, a group that monitors anti-Semitism.

The airline "promotes an environment of respect for the diversity of all persons, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, disability, gender, age or sexual orientation."

Foxman had complained about the incident.

Findiesen did not respond to an e-mail request for an interview, and a woman who answered the phone at a number listed for him hung up. "


ps - my apologies bubba dinna see ya beat me to the story ... :uhoh:

14th Feb 2004, 20:02
i'm a christian and i think that what this pilot did was rather unprofessional.there's a time and a place for everything,and the cockpit is not a place to preach from! this sort of thing really doesn't give a very good image of professionalism to the pax at all.

Sadly,as always,there are those who bring islam into this (i suspect mainly because of a deep sense of suspicion/envy/fear/resentment of muslims).the fact is that outward displays of religious practice are very much a part of their culture,which is foreign to us westerners.Thats why,when you hear a prayer on Saudia or whatever,It is perfectly normal to the majority of those on board.

Conversely,such outward manifestations of Christianity are not the norm in the West,so its obvious that such 'preaching' constitutes something that DOES NOT FORM PART OF OUR CULTURE.This is at the heart of why what this pilot said is not professional,proper or desirable for the image of the Airline.

As a christian i see my religion (which incase all those muslim-haters don't realise,is practised DIFFERENTLY to islam,which is a much more publicly practised,homogenously observed religion) as a deeply personal thing,and i can understand why this guy's preaching made people uneasy.

dallas dude
15th Feb 2004, 08:13

Considering AA pilots give over 3000 P.A.'s a day, and that currently there are over 11,000 pilots on the property it's a shame that certain folks use this topic to further justify their contempt for all AA pilots.

Undoubtedly, this ONE P.A. caused some attention that may be warranted. AA flies millions of hours between such events. I very much doubt anyone making a P.A. at AA "preaches this sermon", again.

Even the great Bob Hoover's judgment was called into question a few years ago (and he's a guy that can fly the wings off most people on this forum!).

We've ALL been learning from the Wright Brothers' (and others since) mistakes to get where we are now.

The lesson learned from today is....

Cheers, DD

15th Feb 2004, 10:16
Problem is dallas dude, the appearance that AA shows to their customers as well as their very poor hull loss safety record, seems to indicate a rather callous attitude on the part of AA flight crew to pax relations...and indeed the safety of flight operations in general

Cali, Littlerock, A300-600...well the list goes on and on. Not simple mistakes, absolutely egregious mistakes, which a competent crew, with competent training, would avoid.

Not to mention, big-mouth clowns making inappropriate announcements to the pax.

AA, a very poor record.

One has to wonder, IF these AA turkeys have so much time on their hands, that they can attend religious revival meetings, perhaps they need to be worked a bit harder, so as to avoid this nonsense PA cr@p.

This particular AA guy needs to be booted out the door...pronto.

15th Feb 2004, 15:44
Glad to see Pprune is still home to balanced opinion!

I am an agnostic so it matters little to me what religion you are!

Do I think this story is worthy of all the attention? No!

Were the pilot’s words appropriate? Probably not!

Should non-Christians be offended by his words? No! All he asked was for non-Christians to discuss Christianity with their fellow passengers.

America and Britain for that matter are Christian states that are tolerant of other religions, which is more than can be said for some Muslim countries. So whilst it may not be the norm for public expressions of faith in either of these countries should we condemn it when it happens? Personally I don’t think so.

From my own point of view had I been a passenger on this Captains flight I would not have given his comments a second thought, I would leave that to the small minded. That said I would agree with the view that there is a time and place for everything and this was not the time or place but what harm did he really do?

To use this argument to condemn AA’s safety record is more offensive than any comments the Captain made in my opinion. One has nothing to do with the other. With 11000 pilots on their books you can expect one or two to have some extreme views that do not necessarily reflect an individuals competence. I was about to point to the current US president as an example but of course that would blow a hole in my argument!

Flying Lawyer
15th Feb 2004, 21:04
The pilot's idea was inappropriate, despite being well-intentioned, but what a big fuss about so very little.

Pilot grounded?
The complaining director of the 'Anti-Defamation League' given assurances AA take it "very seriously" and are conducting a "thorough investigation"?
And on this thread suggestions by some that the Captain, who for all we know may well be an outstanding pilot with an unblemished career record, should be fired? :rolleyes:

What 'thorough investigation' is necessary?
Did you say it?
Don't do it again. PA's are for official announcements not personal messages, non-Christian passengers may be offended, and those with too much time on their hands write letters complaining.


shake rattle n roll
16th Feb 2004, 17:29
Who listens to PA's anyway?.... Next time you fly as a pax, ask the person next to what was said and see what they reply....... Who cares what the guy wanted to say, he had the mike and the captive audience were going to listen regardless....there's a lot to be said about listening to a discman when paxing :cool:

16th Feb 2004, 22:36
Forget that it was religion that he was selling. It's just damn inappropriate to canvass from the flight deck.

Advertising, spam, junk mail... it's all the same, no matter what's being sold. Give us a break!:yuk:

20th Feb 2004, 21:47
About 20 years ago a US airline decided to jazz up its PA announcements along the lines of 'We don't want to crash but just in case we do....' and 'If you see flames coming out of the engines....', etc, with the supposed aim of making pax more relaxed about the risks of flying. The policy was not received too well by said pax and the policy was quickly abandoned. Does anyone remember which airline it was?

23rd Feb 2004, 05:27
It sounds suspiciously like Texas International. Back around 1970 or so I was on one of their flights from ABQ-ELP and a few minutes after we took off, a propeller stopped and we returned to ABQ. On the way back to ABQ the FA kept saying we are not going to crash, we still have another engine. We got back to ABQ
and the problem was fixed. took off again and the other one stopped this time. This time there was a bit more concern but the FaAwanted us to sing songs.it was all a bad, bad experience.

23rd Feb 2004, 13:02

tsk tsk, never got hired by AA or any other major in the good ole US of A. Well, bleat on. A real chuckle. A USA native having to leave the country to fly isn't really making it now is it?

23rd Feb 2004, 14:35
Invictus says "Regarding the Saudi flight(s); anyone traveling to or from Saudi Arabia will (should) be fully aware of the very public demonstration of faith/religion that exists there. You cannot go there on holiday, "

I don't know if you can't go there on holidays; I certainly can.

Rwy in Sight said "In a related side I hope/wander if a pax would sue AA over emotional distress caused by the announcements." Did I see you use the word 'hope'? Emotional distress? Get a grip. There is no emotional distress. If one doesn't agree with the pilot's comments, one ignores them and gets back to reading the newspaper. What a beat-up.