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Has Captain's authority been eroded?

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Has Captain's authority been eroded?

Old 20th Sep 2012, 12:15
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Has Captain's authority been eroded?

There is probably a bit more to this story than the press has offered up, but on the face of it, two CC/Stews/FA's were unable to function as a crew and thus cost their passengers a non trivial delay and their company (who are in the midst of some problems, to say the least) some serious issues.

So, can the Captain no longer call in his crew and get them to "get on with it for this mission and sort out your differences on the ground when we get to destination" because he's in charge, or because she's in charge,
or

is this possibly a case of manufactured outrage (like massive call in sick protests) due to the current corporate-labor tension with AMR?

Again, not much to go on from the media report, but it raised a question or two based on what was reported.
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Old 20th Sep 2012, 14:11
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The Captain can do it, no question, and most of the time he does....but, what if any other member of the crew simply says: I'm not gonna work/fly/operate anymore with this colleague? As a Captain, once you have ordered to let it go at least for the duration of the flight and eventually made them aware of any legal implication of the matter, I can't see any other choice except disembark...immediately.

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Old 21st Sep 2012, 22:45
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Actually, I think this was an example of Captains' authority. Instead of being used to tell the fighting CC to suck it up and get to work, instead it was used to remove a potentially hazardous situation from the airplane. While I'm sure the passengers were not exactly pleased with the outcome, at some point there just has to be a line drawn. This line was crossed and the Captain determined that this crew just could not work together.

As far as manufactured tension goes, it might just be that the stress of working for that particular company all came together at a bad time and caused some cracking.
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Old 22nd Sep 2012, 07:18
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It's worth mentioning that the law of the land and the regs haven't changed in regard to the captain's authority - s/he is just as empowered as they have always been BUT attitudes from third parties (crew, company, service providers etc.) have changed so s/he is questioned/pressured/held to account more. I think it's also true across society - we question authority figures (doctors, politicians, etc.) more than we used to, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but they often still have the same decision-making authority they always.

Last edited by bucket_and_spade; 22nd Sep 2012 at 07:23.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 14:29
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My .02 cents....If I can get the crew members involved to play nice than I will. However, if there really is a personal issue and I have a choice of new crew members I'm going to exercise that authority. As Captain I simply cannot have two crew members on board who can't work together. In the event of an emergency I need to know without any doubt that the job and passengers come first. If they aren't professional enough to do their jobs in the first place in a rational, professional manner than those crew members can't guarantee to me that that would be the case.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 15:17
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i have dealt with a problem like this onboard but as the sccm i managed to get the 2 cc to shake hands and get on with the job in hand without having to get the captain involved, although i did keep him informed, it is team work afterall.
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Old 14th Oct 2012, 05:05
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??? If CC could not perform their duties with civil ability they should be hog tied and removed as any disturbing passenger would have been. Honestly people, we are human, the world expects a professional crew. If anyone in this metal tube looses their mind they need to be ejected!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BS thread, is the captain a baby sitter? I could say the same of a captain or two that I shared a flight deck with, sadly everyone is subject to a human moment of insanity. The bottom line is, when you cross the threshold of an aircraft door you need to check your emotions, leave them behind.

Last edited by grounded27; 14th Oct 2012 at 05:17.
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Old 8th Nov 2012, 13:31
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My .02 cents....If I can get the crew members involved to play nice than I will. However, if there really is a personal issue and I have a choice of new crew members I'm going to exercise that authority. As Captain I simply cannot have two crew members on board who can't work together. In the event of an emergency I need to know without any doubt that the job and passengers come first. If they aren't professional enough to do their jobs in the first place in a rational, professional manner than those crew members can't guarantee to me that that would be the case.
This. Plus a formal, very strongly worded report. There is no excuse for putting the airline in this position either. Although the PIC did the right thing in many respects, as there was a concern over PAX safety.

Last edited by VS-Toga; 8th Nov 2012 at 13:32.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 13:38
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This is an example of the Captain's authority - having the power to stop a flight. Once the flight has started, the time for sorting personal issues has passed. But after the plane has returned to the stand, the question that now arises is who do you offload? One, both or all? As to what happens to the crew members who were arguing is up to the company but the most important thing was that the whole debacle was brought to a halt as quickly as possible.

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Old 15th Nov 2012, 22:03
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Key word there is Crew..........................


Offloaded a Captain under much criticism as a Dispatcher / Operations Controller after his F/O could not work with him and stormed off...........

All about common sense and the trust in a 'CREW'. Said Captain phoned later to say thanks, three hours later I was livid he walked off...

Oh, I am a Groundie and have been for 25 years.


Teamwork, training and common sense tells those who (may) know, when to take the safest option in aviation.
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Old 16th Nov 2012, 09:49
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But after the plane has returned to the stand, the question that now arises is who do you offload? One, both or all?
IMHO it always takes two people to start a fight. Even if there is provocation from the other party, you always have the option of ignoring it and postponing any further discussion until you're no longer on duty. Once the fighting has started the Captain should have all individuals off-loaded as clearly unfit for duty and let HR sort it out on the ground, as it will then no longer be the Captain's responsibility (and it shouldn't be).

Last edited by Dg800; 16th Nov 2012 at 09:49.
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Old 16th Nov 2012, 17:52
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DG - I know exactly what you mean and you are probably right, but if you have a plane full of passengers with connections... The final outcome will always be in the hands of the Human Remains but until then, we've got an airline to run.

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