View Full Version : cabin crew ordered to drive 150miles

20th Jul 2004, 23:20
help, can a company order a cabin crew member to drive 150 miles to position for duty?

20th Jul 2004, 23:28
Well unless the rules have changed the time spent (self) positioning would count as part of the Flight Duty Period, assuming flying duty was to follow at the end of the road journey.

I suppose it would also depend on the contract between the company and the employee as to whether the company can "order" a crew member to self position by road.

In the past some companies have treated self positioning as a sector the purpose of max FDP allowed etc.

There is also an insurance aspect as you are not using your car for "social, domestic and pleasure" and therefore in all probability you won't be covered on your own insurance in the event of a claim.

My own view is that crew members should not be required to drive themselves prior to duty since road conditions these days in the UK are not conducice to one arriving in the right frame of mind prior to going on duty. The company ought to provide taxis, etc. but I aware that some companies do expect their crews to self position from time to time.

I also imagine that it is the case that having landed back at said airport the crew member then has to drive back home/base again at a time when they may not be in a fit state to drive a motor car as a result of a (lengthy) duty day. I know at least two of my colleagues who have woken up in hospital after they have dropped off to sleep at the wheel although they both lived relatively close to the airport - not very good economy for the company if they are off sick as a result!

20th Jul 2004, 23:45
thanks fireflybob, my own company do not allow female cabin crew members to drive on their own other than to the home base.
I assumed that was the norm.

21st Jul 2004, 01:44
If I were the company management, would provide a taxi/limo for the longer travel distances, as a usual course.

Having said this, if this was a one off scenario, what's the beef?
If a flight was to have been delayed if said CC member did not comply, most company management would ge highly agitated if the employee stood down, refusing to travel.
This might result in a 'don't come Monday' letter.
There must be plenty at the HR door wanting a job.

Flight Detent
21st Jul 2004, 02:07
Hi all,

Also, there have been instances where the return flight, now operating to schedule, lands at your home base!

Then you have to find your way back to get your car!!

Cheers :{

21st Jul 2004, 07:12
companies cannot and would not 'make' anyone drive anywhere but your home base before a duty, sounds like abit of 'spin' by the individual concerned, probably volunteered their services and got paid handsomely for it.

21st Jul 2004, 07:45
my own company do not allow female cabin crew members to drive on their own
Assuming this refers to in the UK, er, why not?

21st Jul 2004, 08:52
Took a 4 hour train ride early last week to position for a flight. It wasn't the original plan, but as 411A mentioned, one-off (unforseen, I take that to mean) situations occasionaly happen.

21st Jul 2004, 10:30

Rubbish, companies cannot and would not 'make' anyone drive anywhere but your home base before a duty,

Sorry, but you are completely wrong here. Our airline and several others in the UK require self-positioning before flights, to other UK airports. This is usually by hire car and can be up to two and a half hours per person available to drive. We do not have a choice about this.

Although it does count as a sector, driving across the country in rush hour leaves me a lot more tired and stressed than two hours flying in lousy weather!

The CAA SRG recently looked into pre-flight driving and slashed our company limit - which had previously been 4 hours!

Unfortunately they still place no limit at all on post-flight driving - perhaps the most dangerous part of the working day.

21st Jul 2004, 10:44
Unfortunately they still place no limit at all on post-flight driving - perhaps the most dangerous part of the working day. And when you fall asleep, roll down a railway embankment and kill ten people, you can expect to go to gaol.

In our company, and I beleive this is a direct crib from the ANO, positioning is defined as: The practice of transferring crews from place to place as passengers in surface or air transport at the behest of the company.

No mention of driving oneself.

CarltonBrowne the FO
21st Jul 2004, 11:46
My company regularly uses self-drive hire cars; in theory either flight deck or cabin crew can request a taxi instead if they are tired. However, any cabin crew who actually do request taxis can expect a dressing down from crewing, followed by a summons into the office for threats of dismissal from their manager. Totally against the company ops manual, but it happens...

21st Jul 2004, 11:52
To answer the original question, unfortunately there is nothing in the rules to prevent it. One company that I flew for, possibly the same one as jafo, thought nothing of expecting a crew to position by hire car from the south of England to Manchester and then operate, or do the same journey after a tiring duty day. I was once on standby at Nantes and operations called, suggesting that my crew position by hire car to Nice and then operate. I declined.

It's legal, it's cheap and it's stupid - a microcosm of today's airline ethos.

21st Jul 2004, 12:36
I take it that we are refering to dear old EAL!,

When I worked for them in the early 1-11 days, they thought nothing of making you drive from Manchester to Stansted & then operate a double Ryanair subcharter. I think I spent more time on the road than in the air with them.....dreadful days!!
Oh, another of their favourites was to move your base. One month you were LGW then suddenly you were STN based, with hardly any warning given or relocation assistance..... A case of like it or get out!!, which was the reaction we got from Mr Stoddard.
Interesting to see that things haven't changed much!....can't believe this outfit still operates.

21st Jul 2004, 12:36
Well then perhaps it's about time this practice was made illegal!

Yes there is a question of degree and sometimes there can be unique occasions where you might agree to self position but not on a regular basis - is this in the spirit of CAP371? Were the rules drawn up with the expectations that crews would self position?

Also as an SLF I would be very unhappy with any crew members state if they had just had to conduct a car journey by road over long distances prior to duty.

Can't see any objection to train travel though - assuming you can get a seat I cant think of a better or safer way to get to your departure point other than flying that is!

21st Jul 2004, 13:33

Wouldn't object to trains either, once they get them running on time and not using a 'replacement bus service' as they are round my way ;)

Extended post-flight driving should be illegal. It isn't, but will only become so once fatalities occur. This would be followed by extensive news coverage, blame on the aviation industry in general, and those responsible taking no blame at all.:yuk:

21st Jul 2004, 14:32
jafo33, yes sorry agree with you, should have made myself clear, i read the original post as though you had to do it in your own car ! in which case mine would just 'break down' when it suited me, but a mate at thomas cook used to have to self-position in a hire car, quite ridiculous though, just get 'stuck in traffic' now and then !:ok:

22nd Jul 2004, 18:06
My best day with EAL started with a call when I was at home on standby. "We've got a problem, can you hire car to Stansted and call us when you get there?" So I met the FO at Gatwick, we picked up the car and drove to STN. We checked in at the crewrooom to be told "Change of plan, can you drive on up to Manchester and do the afternoon Palma?" Off we went. Three hours later we checked in at Servisair MAN. "Great", says Ops, "the inbound aircraft is on finals."

We walk out to crew change, only to find that the aeroplane is a "standard" One-Eleven and at that time my FO and I were only cleared to fly the "super" (odd CAA rule). We phoned Ops who were terribly apologetic. They then had to pull in a MAN crew from their day off to fly the charter.

We climbed back into our car and drove back to Gatwick. Halcyon days.

22nd Jul 2004, 18:15
"They then had to call a MAN crew from day off to fly the charter"

Do some people still agree to work on days off? Days off should be sacrosanct otherwise we would have no sort of home life at all.

I have NEVER and will NOT work on a day off.

22nd Jul 2004, 19:54
"Extended post-flight driving should be illegal. It isn't, but will only become so once fatalities occur."

It could very well be subject to the requirements of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 (Criminal Statute Law)and its myriad of attached Regulations, if the driver is commuting to or from a place which is not his normal place of work. The employer then has a duty to ensure that the driver and others are not put at risk by work related driving actvities. That good old buzz phrase 'risk assessment' comes into play, as does consultation with employees.

The following document gives a bit of a pointer.


Have a read of Page 5.

Best foot forward
22nd Jul 2004, 21:28

We have a self drive policy at our company with the rider that if you have had a hard day they will provide a taxi, we self drive either hire cars or own car with a mileage refund, which has just been increased to almost the IR limit. They funny thing I found in our ops manual the other day was that if you lived a long way from your base ie more than an hours drive they recognised that this would be fatiguing so encouraged you to overnight closer to base, but they don't have a problem with you driveing three or more hours before or after a 4 sector day.

You can draw your own conclusions as to what sort of management we have.

22nd Jul 2004, 23:09
In the UK everything you do at work is covered by the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. Therefore self-positioning would come under those rules. A key part of that legislation is that you are responsible to yourself and your colleagues for safety at work. Therefore whether itís you on your own, or you driving colleagues, a decision to drive when fatigued puts you in the wrong, not your employer. Knowing this, you can then decide whether management pressure (or a queue at the HR door) makes you want to risk death or serious injury, and the further implications with your colleagues.

Flying Bagel
23rd Jul 2004, 01:01
It would be funny if the said crew were ordered to self position by hire car, only to find out that none of the said crew have driving licenses.

Personally, I'd rather hop on the train, and make them wait, rather than risk life and limb fighting it out with the lorries on a three lane highway with one eye shut...:ooh:

23rd Jul 2004, 09:05

A driving licence was a condition of employment with EAL.

Flying Bagel
23rd Jul 2004, 09:21
A driving licence was a condition of employment with EAL.

If that was the case at CX, 3/4 of the cabin crew would have to be laid off.

23rd Jul 2004, 12:22
a decision to drive when fatigued puts you in the wrong, not your employer.

However, the issue of vicarious liability makes the employer responsible for the actions of the employee whilst engaged in work based activities. A certain amount of personal culpability would fall on the employee's shoulders but ultimately the responsibility is the employers.

I'm not saying that I agree with it completely as I don't feel that employers can or should be expected to lead adult employees by the hand with everything they do - they have to accept responsibility for their own actions - but the legal fact is that the employer bears the responsibility.

This is being pushed to the extreme in certain areas; in the USA an employer was recently found to be responsible for an employee drunk driving home from a work sponsored social event, outside normal working hours. How long do UK cases take to follow those in the US???

Also, on the subject of hire cars, the employer has further duties under the Provison and Use of Work Equipment Regulations - if the car was in any way defective the employer would be responsible, as well as the hire car company.

Now I\'m starting to lose the will to live.

cargo boy
23rd Jul 2004, 12:51
Anyone driving their own car as part of their duty period, ie. for your own or your employers business, had better check their insurance policy. Most people only have 'social, domestic or plesure' limitation in their policies. If you are asked to drive from your home base to another base to operate, whether for one flight or for a period of sveral days, you are operating your car for business purposes and your own insurance probably does not cover you.

Also, if using a hire car, make sure that the insurance covers you when driving on behalf of the company. Most policies, again, do not cover you. Your employer is duty bound to have in place a policy that covers you if you do ANY driving on behalf of the company, whether your own car or a hire car. Make absolutely sure that you have seen the company policy that covers you and make sure that it has adequate cover. Nothing worse that having a prang or worse with your own or someone elses car and finding out that you are not going to be covered. And you thought you were helping out your company?

Travel from home to your regular place of work is fine but as soon as you are driving on company time your insurance policy usually stops covering you. So, make sure that if you are self positioning you are insured AND that you can finish your rostered duty period without discretion.

The naivety of some posters on here beggars belief sometimes! If you think an insurance comany or your own comapny will feel sorry for you if you have an accident and you didn't make sure you were insured then you probably also believe that pigs might fly!

23rd Jul 2004, 19:30
Some of our crews came up with the solution to this problem.

Its quite easy really. As 'cargo boy' says, you may not be insured with your own car and must always check that you are covered on the insurance provided with the hire car.

Yes, you are quite within your rights to refuse to drive if fatigued as per the Health and Safety laws. You may also collect your P45 the next day!

However although your company may stipulate the average journey time, there is nothing in the Ops Manual to say how many bathroom breaks and en-route rest stops you may take and for how long. Also Britains road's are becoming horribly congested, aren't they?

So your 1.5 hour journey suddenly turns into three hours through no fault of your own. Perhaps even meaning you are unable to have min rest before your next rostered flight!!

After this happens a few times the company might start putting taxi's back on.

BTW, pigs CAN fly! Have you seen those helicopters they have these days:O

(OK, sorry!)

24th Jul 2004, 14:07
Yes, you are quite within your rights to refuse to drive if fatigued as per the Health and Safety laws. You may also collect your P45 the next day!This serious matter was discussed on pprune a while ago with regard to flying and fatigue. If you subscribe to this concept, then the fear of losing your job apparently will motivate you to risk your life and that of others. On the road we are probably talking significantly lower numbers at risk, but still the risk is there.

You have to have solidarity on this matter though. It bites at the heart of air safety and road safety. You can work on it in ways other than just living in fear of losing your job, and therefore doing anything your management requests. It begs the question: what wouldn't you do for them?

24th Jul 2004, 16:17
Old saying from the USA.
If you dont stand for something then you will fall for anything.

Once a standard is broken then you have established a new standard, before long you have no standards at all.

Might as well throw all rules and regulations out the door.
Next will be exceeding duty day by several hours, then you accept an aircraft with a known MEL/DDPG violation!

Bad Airlines stay in business by busting regs, once you start there is no stopping.

Should an accident happen who will be at fault, the Airline?

26th Jul 2004, 11:10

Our entire aircrew has solidarity on this matter. However the cold practicalities of life are that there are many easy ways to get rid of troublesome crew and many more ready to take your place.

I am sure if you fly for a UK airline you would understand this.

And as regards solidarity - We have been trying for over a year to get help from BALPA and received nothing back from them. What a waste of money!

26th Jul 2004, 11:46
Yes - I understand that. I know only too well about moronic management getting rid of "troublesome" employees. (see my profile) I've lost my job twice now for making a stand on safety issues.

The first occasion, many years ago, was heavily connected with aviation safety, and as the QA Chief Inspector I made a stand. I hadnít been there long enough to have any employment rights, and I stupidly thought that senior management would want to correct issues such as falsified paperwork. I got heavy, threatening phone-calls after being sacked to ensure I took it no further. My career in that area was destroyed.

Many years later I make a stand on safety in the workplace (never learn do I?) and hey presto Iím suddenly redundant. Now at 51 it looks like Iíll never work again.

I was one person in both situations, fighting impossible odds. You (plural) are not alone. It seems at the moment that crew are waiting for a disaster, to use as evidence to support their case. That frightens me. I apologise if Iíve offended anyone, and if I seem too simplistic with this.