View Full Version : Pilot's Job Threatened For Restricting Extra Lavatory

I. M. Esperto
31st May 2002, 14:31

Pilot's Job Threatened For Restricting Extra Lavatory
By Jeff Johnson
CNSNews.com Congressional Bureau Chief
May 31, 2002

Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - An American Airlines pilot says his job was threatened when he restricted access to one of four lavatories on his Boeing 757 jumbo jet for security reasons.

Capt. Dale McCombs was in command of a Dallas to Las Vegas round trip flight May 16 when he announced over the public address system that the lavatory and galley area immediately behind the cockpit were restricted to uniformed members of the crew only.

31st May 2002, 14:45
The don't call AA guys "sky Gods" without good reason...
The concerned Capt needs to be sent back...for retraining.
Suspect that the business/first class folks were not happy at all.
In todays environment, definately annoying high end yield pax is foolhardy indeed.

31st May 2002, 15:25
What, make the FC gentry use the plebs' bog ?! Good grief, is nothing sacred any more.

Oh and wassa 757 jumbo ?

Stan Woolley
31st May 2002, 17:35
Yes, send him back for retraining!!!

A couple of hand flown raw data SIDs through the London TMA are what the fool needs!

Try talking on the PA while doing that!:rolleyes:

Safety's No Accident
31st May 2002, 17:47
Actually Flanker - I know a few pilots who're partial to what you prescribe in the London TMA and, having seen it done first hand, I'd counsel agin it.
I.e. talk about the NHP working like a 'one armed wallpaper hanger' in order to save the HP (and their egos) from themselves !

Bravado of this nature, in an aeroplane full of pax, and O/H London (or anywhere) we can well do without...... and let's not forget that some departures & approaches at certain airports within the USA (and accordingly their associated TMA's) make those in UK look almost childs play !

I. M. Esperto
31st May 2002, 17:56
This may end up as a legal test of Captains Authority.

Stan Woolley
31st May 2002, 18:23
Sorry Safety..INA

I couldn't resist a sarcastic dig at 411a who was apparently taught by Count Von Zeppelin that such antics are good ideas.

( By the way Lindberghs' idea of duty hour limits look like making a big comeback)

It just makes me smile when pilots who make out of favour judgement calls are sent back ' for retraining' in the sim to fly an NDB, when really a brain transplant would be the only effective course of action. ;)

31st May 2002, 19:15
So why are you all so harsh on this hapless bloke?

Don't know about the rules on AA, but since sept 11 we have a rule in our mob that says "no unsupervised passengers allowed in any any galley areas nor in the area immediately behind the cockpit".

A sensible rule, right?

Catch is that while some pax or other always has to use the toilet located in the galley area immediately behind the cockpit, the company has not issued us with an extra FA to police the galley. And they still expect us to give the passengers the same level of F&B service.
In effect that means that the new and sensible safety rule is not enforced because NOT giving the service would immediately lead to complaining pax while not guarding the galley only comes to attention in case of a mishap.
If the sh!te does hit the fan via an unsupervised pax in that particular area, of course the FA's will get a whole load of manure dumped on their heads for being too stupid to stick to a simple safety rule.

The link doesn't work for me, but from my point of view (which of course might be totally off since I don't know AA procedures) this Captain has merely made sure that sensible procedure gets enforced, instead of expecting his FA's to accomplish the impossible.
By making the announcement that he made, he effectively took real responsibility for safety instead of paying mere lip service to the idea.

Good man in my book, and one with a fair idea of what goes on behind his locked cockpit door.
Wish our captains made that announcement on every flight.:D

31st May 2002, 22:38
Yes but common sense must figure just a little bit !

31st May 2002, 22:54
I wuz drivin de woorls fovoorit eerloin wen de frunt bog no work. justin case, oi also wuz droivin de 757 jumbo(upgraded) modell at de toime summwere betwen roam and thiefrow.
Pooerr! It niffed back thur in cattle, n I ad 2 weight n stare at my employuz(passengers)while dey pissed and crapped n made merry at my expense. (cor...oooos droivin der buss etc).
All as oi can say izz...if you wants to oijack a toilet...urr welcum to it.
Oi could do with a pee right now.

I. M. Esperto
1st Jun 2002, 01:18
Wickerman -You just made the whole thread worthwhile.


Capt Homesick
1st Jun 2002, 23:52
I used to think that 411A's posts were worth reading- after a while, though, it became possible to skip them. Whatever the subject, he seems to post on the principle that the crew are wrong.
That reminds me of someone else who used to comment on every topic on the board..... :rolleyes:
If 411A can point me in the direction of a topic where he does not immediately judge against the crew, I will of course stand corrected. :eek:

2nd Jun 2002, 00:10
Well, Capt Homesick....adequate crew rest would be just such a topic...do a search.
In general however, it's the crew in the white hats and management in the black hats. Seems to me that should not always be the case....'tis called "balance". Or...devils advocate, if you will.;)

Capt Homesick
2nd Jun 2002, 12:11
Ok 411A, did a search using "adequate crew rest"- looked at 4 topics, didn't find a single post by you in any of them. Of the 6 topics offered by the search result, I didn't look at the MP3 forced down, or the bugs in the chinese leader's aircraft- read through all the others though.
So,I tried- I'm afraid all you get so far is a "not proven" verdict...

2nd Jun 2002, 16:47
i'm the guy...

what training should i seek out?

sensitivity, security, compliance, skirt, makeup...:cool:

do we cede security as one of our concerns as captains?

or just go along with the bean counters making our security decisions for us.


I. M. Esperto
2nd Jun 2002, 17:20
Pleased to meet you Dale.

Hang in there Buddy!

2nd Jun 2002, 18:45
Well duster (Dale)--
For starters...
Have a look back in the cabin. Those faces you see, all of them, pay your salary...every month.
IF you want 'em to fly with another carrier...and take their business elsewhere, keep it up. Yes indeed, restrict that forward lav for only the crew....those business/first class folks will just have to go down to the back, with all the other nuisance cargo...otherwise known as, "your bread and butter".

Yep, treat 'em like [email protected], atta boy, go for it!

OTOH, seems to me that the COMPANY (you know, the folks that pay you that pax supplied salary every month, are the ones that should be making the security decisions. Of course, you may indeed not like this idea. In that case, why not donate part of your inflated salary to the AA Benevolent Fund for Disadvantaged Shareholders.

As an AMR shareholder, I sincerely look forward to your contribution.

In the meantime, get you a@@ back up front and "drive the bus".

Yours truly,

PS: The training couse should be entitled, "How to enhance shareholder value, while keeping you nose out of security matters." A second course would be..."How to successfully keep your job."

PPS: Had dinner last month with a retired AA Captain. His biggest decision in life nowadays is to decide...."shall I buy the 55 foot or the 62 foot boat"....ah, decisions, decisions. Hope you have the oppontunity to make that choice someday. Keeping your nose in the cockpit (and OUT of cabin business) is a good start.:rolleyes:

2nd Jun 2002, 19:40

Before you waste a single moment on 411A's post above, I'll advise you not to bother.

Without resorting to personal attacks, which are forbidden here, I can educate you on the quality of his posts. Previous posts are fairly similar to the one above, so they have quickly established themselves as wind-up posts, although the ideas put forth are supposedly there for "balance". (GMAFB)

His above post doesn't take into account that the Captain IS responsible for inflight security.

And that part of a Captain's pay comes with the responsibility to make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions to ensure a safe flight.

Keep his "assertions" :rolleyes: in perspective (i.e. don't take his bait).

2nd Jun 2002, 20:14
The captain was wrong to ban pax access to the forward lav. To be sure, the captain needs to have his head examined by a psychologist before total security paranoia consumes his mental state. Until his mental state is corrected, he shouldn't be at the controls of a pax jet.

If crewmembers were to be given a free hand to individualize company policy and procedures, then passenger service and passenger comfort would become incidental to air transportation. It would become an employes' airline. :(

2nd Jun 2002, 20:24
Well Dale,

You could indeed take the "advice" from AA76757...but then consider....

Many companies nowadays are looking elsewhere for travel arrangements for execs. Executive Jets is doing "land office business" and has ordered hundreds of jet aircraft...for just the folks that you seem to want to...pi@@ off. Fractionals as well.

Our own little company illustrates....the major investors want to travel to SE Asia, business/first class. The last time they checked in for that SE Asia flight in LAX, the wait at security was...3 hours. When they got to the business class lounge, no Jack Danials left in the bar.

So, they ask...."is there a better way?" Of course we say....and the JetStar II (ah...4 engine Lockheed!) is now in the budget (because it can make HNL, where two of the guys have a condo)....and you can bet that the bar will NOT run out of Jack Danials.

Make NO mistake, the business/first class pax pay the bills...BIG time. Whinging pilots do NOT.

But then...many here are whinging pilots. Your guy Carty is in DC now trying to iron out the security problems (and has good ideas). Suggest you DO NOT upset the applecart.

Anyway, WELCOME to PPRuNe!!! Always a lively discussion.

In case you have noticed...some do NOT like my opinions (especially the Brits)..but then, they are not in management. But that's OK.... all views "on the table". Always have liked a lively debate.


2nd Jun 2002, 21:03

I always look forward to your posts, especially on issues such as this...

I have flown VIP Transport Cat A/C for a single owner for more than 6 years and I agree with you...1st/Business Class pays the bills...

My owner sends me Business or First always and I have seen that (even prior to 9-11) the service has degenerated.

I expect to take heat for this comment, but BA has always been my airline of choice across the Atlantic, and they rarely disapoint...

I. M. Esperto
2nd Jun 2002, 21:39
This is unchartered territory in legal precedent, as far as I can tell.

Captains authority seems to cover this, the rub being what happens after the flight terminates.

The captain is accountable for his actions and decisions, and under the circumstances that exist today, I think a judge or jury would look favorably on such actions.

Time will tell. I wish you well. I went to the wall a few times like this, dealing with demanding extra fuel.

2nd Jun 2002, 22:02
to all,

aa's 75's are configured with a lav forward of the galley another seperating first and coach lastly two in the aft of the aircraft, forward of the rear galley.

this restriction is no inconvenience to the first class pax, the lav seperating them from coach was given priority for them, the two in the rear were for the coach pax.

i have never had a paying passenger complain, they appear to appreciate the added level of security. the complainers were two managing directors, who apparently couldnt pee near the common folk.

having owned a couple charter businesses, i know who butters the bread. i am careful to be considerate and explain the reasons for the procedure, and make clear the availability and priority to the mid lav.

for those condescending critics, at least listen before acting like management.:cool:


2nd Jun 2002, 22:05
Lets not forget that for the first 4 months after 9/11 the forward LAV was officially off limits to all pax to prevent congregating around the cockpit door.

Is it any coincidence that this happens at the same time Don cAArty calls for removing security put in place after 9/11?


2nd Jun 2002, 22:05
you all also seem to miss the point.

i was threatened with job loss, for continuing a procedure the company had originally put in place after 9/11.

it had never been criticized unil the two managing directors complained.

the "whistleblower" was for threat of job loss over a safety decisicion, one well within the prerogatives of a pilot in command.


2nd Jun 2002, 23:38
Until there's two secure doors with an interlock, it's possible for a martial arts trained bad guy to muscle aside a pilot reentering the cockpit in a surprise move, latch the secure door behind and take out the remaining pilot protected from any further interference from the remaining crew and passengers.

Until there's two doors, I don't want anybody but crew in the forward galley as crew entering the cockpit are vulnerable to a surprise attack.

Now once a hijacker pulls this off and an F16 is called in, Duster will become another famous underling that management ignored.

I'm sure he and many others would be much happier if management clued in before rather than after.

3rd Jun 2002, 01:47
Procedure put in place just after Sept 11, kept for awhile, then recinded. Suspect a memo was sent to all crew accordingly.
So far so good....but then a Captain decides that's not good enough so, contrary to memo, decides for himself to restrict access to fwd lav for "security"...well I guess he must have had a good reason (wonder what it was, a specific threat perhaps)....or maybe he decides that "because it's Tuesday and i'm the boss" that's the way it will be. He's "right" of course, as he is the Commander.
Of course, when looked at later by management, after complaints....perhaps not such a good idea.
Wonder what the justification was?
A better idea then double doors and pistol 'packin pilots is
armed and properly trained Sky Marshals on all flights. This was tried before and worked well...wonder why the pilots are not pushing for this now?:rolleyes:

Orca strait
3rd Jun 2002, 04:20

Hang in there, don't mind 411a, he's the wind up king.

Those of you who know the 757, the forward galley and lavatory can become quite crowded and is a major pain in the butt for the cabin crew when it comes to full service time. Quite frankly, it can be rather unsanitary as well. Nothing like someone dropping a load in the lav, opening the door only to be within feet of the "freshly prepared food". The business class passengers are not inconvenienced as there is a second lav right behind the galley. The in charge quite frequently blocks access to the forward lav and has my full support. (And yes, this has been done over the PA.

The forward galley is separated from the cabin by a curtain; if the pax know that the forward lav is there they have to open the curtain, stick their head in and interrupt the cabin crew. Since 9/11, if that curtain is closed consider that area off limits and secure .

As I've stated before on this forum, there is no galley or lavatory on the flight deck! 411 you're sharper than the average stone, I'm sure you can imagine the rest of the scenario...:rolleyes:

P.S. For the wannabee commanders (I've posted this several times); Canadian Statutes - Criminal Code Chapter C-46. In This Act, "peace officer includes" (f) the pilot in command of an aircraft while the aircraft is in flight. It further defines in-flight as: (8) For the purposes of this section, of the definition "peace officer" in section 2 and of sections 76 and 77, "flight" means the act of flying or moving through the air and an aircraft shall be deemed to be in flight from the time when all external doors are closed following the embarkation until the later of: (a) the time at which any such door is opened for the purpose of disembarkation* The Aeronautics Act, Chapter A-2 stated: "pilot-in-command" means, in relation to an aircraft, the pilot having responsibility and authority for the operation and safety of the aircraft during flight time. *

And yes, I understand customer service. Part of this service is providing a competent professional captain and crew that have to make decisions...

Chimbu chuckles
3rd Jun 2002, 05:28

You claim to be just taking the 'Devils Advocate' stance?

I would put it to you that that is the only stance you ever take. I have yet to see you take any stance that supports Aircrew in general, or Aircraft Captains in particular. Yet you claim to have been an Aircraft Commander in the past!

Somethings must be defended against. Terrorists are an obvious threat, beaurocratic/ management/beancounter excess are another less obvious one.

The forces responsible for the current state of our industry are,

1/. Terrorists,
2/. Govt,
3/. Management/bean counters.

If you can tell us that the responses of 2/. and 3/. above have been truly effective against 1/. , let alone cost effective or reasonable then you are truly just a sad old git who's out of touch with current reality....having flown with Captains like you in the past I strongly suspect your grasp on reality has always been tenuous!

That any airline management would not support it's Captains/Aircrew in these matters at this time (post 911) is disappointing to say the least...that it comes from an Airline that was so involved in 911 is just bizarre.

Dale more power to you!

I might lose my job in the not too distant future because of my stance against certain things that any Chief Pilot would consider unacceptable...I can exactly identify with your sense of frustration at being deserted by those who should be supporting you...I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to have also lost peers/friends in the thunder of 911....like all of us I could only sit in disbelief as it all unravelled on CNN.

But for my money it's better to stand fast for what you believe in and be shot in the face than to live cowering in a dark corner because you believe in nothing...like 411A.


3rd Jun 2002, 06:32
Well Chuck, I positively believe in what I say...

After 37 years in the airline industry, I can clearly see the following...
Airline 'security' in the USA is a joke, the high school drop-outs that have, up to now, been responsible for terminal security...could not find their a@@ with both hands, even if the lights were on.
In the early 60's, Continental 64, an LAX-HOU flight (old 707 straight pipe) was hijacked to Cuba. After this incident, properly trained and "equipped" Sky Marshals were deployed on most USA flights.
Result...highjacking stopped...until the Sky Marshals were withdrawn.
IF you have these guys back on board, the "problems" would...go away, period.
Works for El Al,.....case closed.
Question: WHY has ALPA /APA not pressed for this?
Answers on a postcard...or even here, for ALL to see.

As you can see, i'm very direct with my comments...yet some seem to "skirt 'round the issue".

SO, what's it gonna be....Sky Marshals...or not?

3rd Jun 2002, 06:34

As a biz pax who, though I don't know exactly what you do, probably also pays *your* salary, I fully support this captain's decision. The next time I fly AA in or out of DFW I hope Mr. Duster's upfront running his ship the way I would expect, neigh, demand, it be run.

Screw the marketing, this is not a drill or a pussy recreational yacht trip. Just my view from down the back: Management wake up, it's our asses we're primarily concerned about, not whether we have to walk further for a pee.

Assuming Mr Duster is the real thing of course...

3rd Jun 2002, 11:49
Let's assume that Duster is the guy, shall we?

So he's the pilot in command. The key word is "command". Borrowing from military usage, "command" means that he is responsible for every single thing that happens on that a/c from the time he asses it to the time he un-asses it, and more besides.

It's become far too common these days to question, second-guess and cavil at those who are placed "in command". Everyone's an expert, everyone knows what's best, and everyone has exquisite vision - in hindsight. Everyone claims to have the highest respect for those who are "in command", but this kind of experience shows that that respect is highly situational.

When a PIC uses his command skills and judgement - oh, let's say, to bring a two-engined DC10 with no hydraulics and no directional control surfaces to an airfield in the middle of BF Nowhere - he's a superman, and hero and an Example To Others. Which is as it should be.

But when a PIC uses his command skills and judgement to decide what he thinks is best for the security of the a/c and every soul on it - and it involves some first-class passengers with delusions of their own importance having to walk a few extra steps to pee - he's a jerk.

What first-class passengers think of themselves and their relative importance to the success of the airline is insignificant. If their bathroom access is so GD important, they can buy a Gulfstream of their very own. An airliner is a common carrier, not a magic carpet whose functioning is dictated by those who happened to pay more for a wider seat and to have their delusions pandered to. Part of the common carrier deal is that any and all decisions that involve the safety, security and correct operation of the airplane are at the sole decision of the pilot In Command.

I applaud Duster for showing the true exercise of command authority in making sure that even the more minor details of cabin security are addressed. I want the people in the first-arriving seats to have their minds completely engaged in every aspect of the operation of the aircraft. If I fly AA through DFW, I hope I'm seated behind Duster - and not some pilot who is prepared to compromise his/her command decisions in order to avoid giving offense, or to further the self-absorbtion of some self-important jackass who thinks that a higher disposable income (or a fatter expense account) gives him/her the right to Command.



Orca strait
3rd Jun 2002, 13:19

90,000 plus Air Marshals would be required in the U.S.A. alone; run that one by the bean counters. I'm not sure if those numbers include every operator that has a big airplanes or not (charter etc.).

I suspect it may be a lot easier to keep an Isreali Marshal interested in his/her job as they are dealing with such small numbers of flights. How long do you suppose you can keep a highly trained Air Marshal fit and interested after a couple of years of torture in the cabin riding around the U.S. skies?

Air Marshal's are random; you guess whether your next flight has one or not. We have to get over this grand idea that one big answer solves one big problem; everyone has a part to play.

Time to include the aircrews in the overall security package (so give back our nail clippers...)

(edited for spelling)

3rd Jun 2002, 15:34
Well, orca strait, you pay for those 90,000+ Sky Marshals out of the already paid pax ticket tax (and STOP the routing of these funds to the general account that Congress spends on pork-barrel projects)...and get rid of the army of high-school dropouts now employed to hand search 85 year old grandmas.
IF proper security is desired, it must be paid for....and if the flying public demands same, the funds WILL be found.
And, pistol packin' pilots are NOT the answer....these guys belong up front, in control of the machine, not in the cabin with delusions of Wyatt Earp.

I. M. Esperto
3rd Jun 2002, 16:06
411A - The pilots need guns IN THE COCKPIT for when the armed intruder gets in there.

Who would seriously think otherwise?

Orca strait
3rd Jun 2002, 16:22
The break even funding for the air marshal program won't happen; as you stated, gov't pork barreling will ensure that. The logistics of the program are enormous and maintaining the level of proficiency that is required over the long term will fall by the wayside. In my view, the air marshal program is random and temporary.

Why do you insist that all Pilot's want to be Wyatt Earp? These views from an airline pilot....please enlighten us as to how you justify your blanket accusations.

As an aircraft commander, with responsibilities and authority legislated by law, I find it painful and bewildering to be placed on the same list as passengers when it comes to security issues. At the end of the day, the commander and crew will be held accountable, responsible and liable for all actions on their aircraft. This is not about packing heat.

The last 15 years have seen the concepts of safety and crew resource management grow in leaps and bounds. When the CRM concept was introduced, some of the old salts reiterated the belief that all that was required for crew input was "gear up and shut up". Read llamas post regarding The Sioux City Iowa experience on how modern day CRM saved the day. Flight Safety and CRM programs are now regarded as integral to an airlines longevity and profitability. Security now needs to be incorporated into Safety and CRM.

3rd Jun 2002, 16:26
Good on you for standing by your decision...as to the merits of the decision itself,I dont know all the facts,and a lot would depend on how it was explained to the pax.Pilots pre 911 have traditionally been anonymous...pax now appreciate this type of no-nonsense take charge approach..even if we get it wrong at first,and even if the decision is not to the benefit of their comfort.Its only natural that after years of being soo low profile,that our new role will result in errors(I am not suggesting yours was),but the point is that the pax see that somebody is in charge and not afraid to make a stand.That they respect.

Couldnt disagree with you more...I think that the no.of pax who will gladly forego a comfort that was once taken for granted in order to comply with the Commanders decision may yet surprise you.No one has shorter memories than the travelling public and perhaps this solidarity with the crew will soon change but for now it remains pretty solid.We've always lived under the assumption that pax want wider seats and pretty FA's(and they do),but what they really want is a a guy(or gal) up front who's not afraid to make a decision and stand by it,right or wrong.They want the Captain to be a Captain,not just a pilot.It shouldnt infringe on the customer service side of things needlessly,but when it does for good reason,99% of the people will understand and accept it.

3rd Jun 2002, 17:44
What Holden said.

I've spent far too much of my life as SLF.

As with brain surgery and doing brake work on my truck, I want someone in command - not someone who's trying to make me happy.

I, personally, believe that the airline management is still mired in a 60's-style, glamourous-Jet-Set conception of air travel, and as a consequence, they have let customer-happiness issues get out of hand.

I've seen more than my share of spoiled, self-absorbed jackasses whining and snivelling like spoiled teenagers to try and get their way, or treating the crew like dirt, or throwing tantrums - and other things - in order that they may continue to use the airplane as their own private playground. Without wanting to use that hackneyed term whose initials are AR, I suggest that the rise in incidents of serious passenger misbehaviour is due - in part at least - to a management that is more interested in presenting a picture of "glamourous adventure through the skies for you, our valued guest" than it is in bursting the passenger's bubble and exposing the awful fact that air travel is now a common-carrier, price-driven business. And that the safety and security of the entire complement of souls on board is simply not a subject for negotiation based on how much you paid for your ticket.

As a sometime copper, I was once involved in helping the cabin crew subdue a passenger who was the worse for drink and behaving badly. I still recall one of the FA's (male) thanking me profusely, along the lines of "we could have handled it with no problem, but would have faced all sorts of questions and second-guessing from our management for man-handling a passenger in that way. All those questions go away when other passengers get involved."

Well, pardon me, but the folks in charge of making 100 tons of aluminum filled with people fly from one place to another should not have to be frightened of having their best judgement questioned, especially by some over-lawyered jackanapes or other. More power to captains who exercise their command authority seriously and deliberately, and it is only to be hoped that their example is followed by others.



3rd Jun 2002, 21:40
Hmmm, interesting comments.
What many STILL do not realise is that the passenger airline industry...is still "customer driven". Never mind if you like it or not,
the high yield pax pays the bills....and if they don't (as in going somewhere else) than many of those nice comfy jobs...go up in smoke.

But the biz-jet fractionals are smiling....all the way to the bank...and, don't forget, providing jobs for (what a surprise) pilots, sometimes retired airline pilots. Know several...and you can bet your boots that they have learned to say "yes SIR" to their very important customer...AKA, the paying passenger.

4th Jun 2002, 00:07
Are you really a pilot?:rolleyes:

4th Jun 2002, 02:46
Yes indeed harpy, twenty three thousand hours accumulated in thirty seven years, the last twenty five in command of heavy jet airliners. My perspective is just a little different from many for I look at the passenger as "most important"....some seem to have forgotten this all important fact. Without the passengers, especially the high yield passenger....profits tumble, big time.
You can have all the best trained pilots that money can buy, cabin crew that are the best trained as well...but if the high yield pax are taken for granted, make no mistake, they WILL go elsewhere.

4th Jun 2002, 03:47
I enjoy threads with lotsa 411a posts, ‘coz I get through them in half the time of threads of similar length where 411a doesn't grace us with his insightful wisdom. How do I do this? Simple. I gave up reading anything 411a writes a long time ago.

I could only suggest everyone else does the same – ignore his posts… and maybe he’ll get the idea and join the Old Fogeys of Arizona Who Live in Closed Communities Chat Room.

… and I’d just love to hear from one of his ex-FOs or FEs who enjoyed his company at some time during his ‘37 years in Aviation’. It must have been a rare privilege to be treated to his philosophical dissertation on employee/employer relations for eight hours at a stretch.

I know, I know… how did I know he had 37 years experience if I don’t read his post. Sprung! (I restrict myself to the first line.)

near enuf is good enuf
4th Jun 2002, 10:29

"do we cede security as one of our concerns as captains? "

What exactly did you hope to achieve by "limiting access" ?

Do you honestly believe that a PA announcement would frighten off any would-be Osama ?


4th Jun 2002, 19:33
Exactly Enuf ! Making a PA that the forward bog (lavatory to the uneducated) is out of bounds is certainly not going to deter your average nutter. I'm sorry Dale, I think that your action illustrates the America of today - way, way, over-the-top. Nevertheless, I certainly don't think that as a result your employment should come under threat. That too would be an OTT reaction by your management.

4th Jun 2002, 21:05
I dont see what the fuss is about. I was on an Air 2000 Faro - Dublin recently and the Captains PA was "No pax forward unless a CCM is present." This meant there was a lot of time with the curtain closed.
As others have said it won't deter any bad guys but might it not make any movement in that direction subject to scrutiny from other pax? With possible action?
On the other hand, remember that all the objects used in 9/11 were all legally aboard. Really the only illegal actions that day were the hijackers actions. :(

5th Jun 2002, 01:58
If all and sundry can congregate in the front galley, the nutter(s) can just blend in while waiting for a moment of vulnerability i.e. when the cockpit door is opened.

With a restricted front galley, the presence of uninvited people raises an alert and the door stays shut or is slammed shut before the nutter(s) get(s) to it.

Any time the cockpit is about to be opened, it must be guarded against a surprise attack. Surprise attacks from ten feet away are considerably more likely to be met by a closed door than a surprise attack from nutter(s) within arm's reach.

Orca strait
5th Jun 2002, 06:04
411a- My perspective is just a little different from many for I look at the passenger as "most important"....some seem to have forgotten this all important fact.

Call it a difference in operating tactics, but “most important” in my eyes is; ensure every flight is operated to the best of my (and crew) abilities as safe, secure, smooth and on-time. To achieve this I use the latest in training, tools and personal self-improvement.

With the above criteria met (nothing less should be expected of a proficient commander), you will find that the customer satisfaction will be quite high, and the promotions and bribes put forth by marketing to be frivolous.

5th Jun 2002, 06:32
Interesting observation, Ocra strait....but then again, many pilots think that an airline revolves around the flight operations department. They generally forget that the engineering (especially), marketing, tech support, finance,....well, the list goes on...departments also contribute to the success of the enterprise. If all do not work together smoothly, the bottom line is dismal indeed.
Having said that, many airlines have, over the years developed a lot of (for want of a better term) deadwood, and these folks certainly do not contribute to...the bottom line, except in a negative way. Clear that away...and the picture brightens considerably.

5th Jun 2002, 15:17
Full marks to this AA Captain for closing off this area. It makes a complete nonsense of all our security precautions, kevlar doors. sliding bolts etc, when for much of the flight there is a queue of people right outside the flight deck door.

5th Jun 2002, 15:53
I agree with Rather Be Flying - it's common sense. Under the current arrangements I open the door having checked through a spy hole that no "nutter" is there. However, there's often a queue of pax waiting down the aisle and near the door. When I open the door that's when one of them could rush towards it. It's not a cast iron solution to the problem, and will probably create new problems (already has - workload has increased with all the calls to the cabin, and having to leave the controls to go and open the door to let the CC in).

I. M. Esperto
5th Jun 2002, 16:16
If the troublemakers had foreknowledge that the pilots were armed with pistols, they would stay clear of the cockpit.

5th Jun 2002, 17:28
And lets not forget the Pax in the front row of seats who can hear the click of the flight deck door opening and rush forward or the Pax with his plastic knife sawing at the flight control runs in the aft toilets, where will it end? You guys sure are getting paranoid.

5th Jun 2002, 18:08
We've already seen "where will it end?"

People like Mary Schiavo have been ringing the bell about safety and security for years, Before 9-11, no doubt most people thought she was paranoid, too.

I understand that prisoners from the Afghan conflict being transported to Guantanamo Bay had to be more completely restrained after one detainee tried to chew through exposed wiring in the airplane using his standard-issue Mark I teeth. Perhaps an alterantive to the standard easy-service lift-out toilet assemblies is not such a bad idea.