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Potentially Unruly Passenger

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Potentially Unruly Passenger

Old 15th Sep 2021, 03:09
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Potentially Unruly Passenger

Hello everyone!

I will need your opinions on a matter.

Few weeks ago I did not admit a passenger to be boarded, a famous guy who has some millions of followers on social media, on the grounds that he had a very unpleasant/unruly passenger history during his former flights and he could possibly affect flight safety by mentally incapacitating my cabin crew. He'd even once stood before the judge and seriously sanctioned for his disorderly conduct on board.

My company neither ever established a blacklist nor banned this fellow from the flights and now that I am grounded for my "show" probably because his fame and the court case the guy opened. Company thinks I exceeded my authority in doing what I did, whereas I could justify my decision from every aspect.
The state laws and company manuals explicitly say "the commander has all the authority to make ANY measures to ensure flight safety."
The only trouble is, I made this decision before he boards the aircraft and refused his boarding for the very best interest of the flight safety considering his past eventful flights. P.S. I am not biased about him or whatsoever.


Aside seeking for a proper legal advice, I am wondering how this story looks to you from the commander's decision point of view.
Your all kind of comments are highly appreciated.
Wish you all safe flights!

inflightrefueling is offline  
Old 15th Sep 2021, 04:55
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Two words “potential” and “reasonable.” One you used and the other you didn’t.

I am afraid that “potential” isn’t a reason for exclusion. Every day most travellers (and others) are subject to checks, restrictions and a host of other inconveniences on the basis that they (and most everybody else) have the “potential” for causing harm or disruption. Everyday in our line of work we brief and prepare for “potential” problems and scenarios. In most cases that proves to be an excess of caution but it is “reasonable.” You could take things further and say I refuse to continue. Not because of the fact but because of the ”potential.” In most cases that would prove to be unreasonable.

Having the authority to take “ANY” measures (a word you have emphasised by capitalisation,) would seem to suggest that you think this negates the requirement for those measures to be reasonable? Whether you are standing before a judge or your chief pilot, it would be incumbent upon you to show your actions were reasonable in the circumstances.

There are many high profile “celebrities” who over the years have been reported, arrested or convicted for their behaviour on airplanes. Those incidents (in some occurrences) are matters for the police and the justice system to deal with. Beyond that, it isn’t for me to decide whether they fly or not. Your employer has presumably made the informed decision to enter into a contract of carriage with the passenger. The passenger (whatever their past history of alleged transgressions) has similarly contracted to behave in accordance with those conditions of carriage. Unless there is some present and real concern I can’t really see what your “reasonable” involvement is?

As we all know, crew and ground agents and other passengers will sometimes raise a concern (as they properly should) if a passengers demonstrated behaviour is giving rise to a problem, and it isn’t unusual in those circumstances for a Captain to be asked to make a decision on acceptance or exclusion as the Captain reasonably sees fit. The Captain does have the authority and in some cases the obligation to exclude. However, that authority doesn’t absolve the Captain from having to justify the decision subsequently, nor does it protect him or her from any consequences that might arise as a result of the improper exercise of that authority. Part of the reason why you get paid the “big bucks!”

In your case (and purely based on what you have said) you said that you were “not biased about him (the passenger) or whatever” but in your opening remarks you talk about his social media following and his perceived or reported history. It seems as if your decision was indeed based on your bias rather than any imminent threat or real cause for concern. It appears that your employer was happy to contract with the passenger and (beyond your bias) the passenger wasn’t reported or presenting as a problem. Based purely on that, I suspect you are going to have some difficulty in showing that your exercise of that particular authority was reasonable!

In my opinion it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to raise your concerns (bias notwithstanding) with your crew by way of briefing or informally to highlight that they should be aware and not hesitate to raise any concerns on this matter if they should actually arise. I think what you did (again, based purely on your account) was an overreach of your authority and a mistake. We all make them and learn from them and I hope your management is comprised of people who also realise that. Given the forum this is in I know only too well that is far from being the case in many companies. Good luck.
Bealzebub is offline  
Old 15th Sep 2021, 07:11
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I would agree with the reasons Bealzebub gave above.

The company didn’t previously ban the passenger from travel so they are happy for him to travel, provided he behaves. At the point you removed him from the flight he had not caused a problem ( or you have not indicated he had ) so you had no reason other than previous history , that the company had accepted and delt with, to remove him.

This one is down to you in my opinion. Hopefully they understand your reasons.
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 19:31
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I’m wondering how the heck you have the time and inclination to ever look at a passenger manifest unless someone else was to inform you of some dodgy geezer. Then what? Past history is no guarantee that his bad behaviour being repeated as well all make mistakes and learn from them.
i think you got involved in something beyond your pay grade and concern. A phone call to Ops voicing your concern may have been the route to go.
Anyway, since he couldn’t make any rumpus it seems you did the right thing haha! Good luck in your chat with tea but no biscuits. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if said character forces a diversion on his next flight? Good luck.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 02:54
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Cover your behind.
Call Ops or Duty pilot or Duty manager preferably on a recorded line and express your concerns.
Have them tell you it’s alright.
Board the pax, in case of an incident you should be in the clear.
Unless there was blatant obnoxious behavior in the boarding area I think you jumped the gun.
B2N2 is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2021, 05:50
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Interesting that most (all?) companies I've worked for have considered it the company's aircraft - ultimately airport Duty Managers aircraft - until doors closed THEN you can fill your boots as the Captain and Commander.

The cabin is NOT your domain to manage, that's why you have a Cabin Manager. If/when the CM ever needs guidance or assistance or suggestions - and they come to you - then's the time to be involved.

I think you made a very poor decision for whatever reason and it may prove costly - hopefully not too costly.


Last edited by galdian; 16th Sep 2021 at 05:56. Reason: brevity
galdian is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2021, 11:44
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My opinion. You were very brave. Anybody at anytime .. could do could do something on your aircraft. A passenger could get on board completely sober., and then go wild with the “ walking Johnny “ in J class and decide to dance naked in the isle. But you can’t stop him from him (or her ) from boarding in the first place.

And if you have done this in the ME ( where the customer is ALWAYS RIGHT) and this person is a “ celebrity “ with “ followers “… I fear your meeting might have no tea or biscuts.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 11:53
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Is this a spoof thread or are angling for unfair dismissal?
Arthur1815 is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2021, 18:07
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If the company sold the guy a ticket, they are happy for him to travel. Unless he has played up pre boarding, there is no grounds for the Commander to deny boarding. Company should have been brought into the discussion.
Capt Scribble is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2021, 22:10
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I seriously hope this thread is merely a wind up. We used to adhere to the notion of due process with individuals when determining their complicity in fraught, negative or perhaps criminal situations. This has been thrown out the window with the current trend of cancel culture.

Your actions go a step further and you decided to use your perceived authority to take action against someone for something they might do? That is insane logic but not surprising given the landscape we all find ourselves in.

Here is the more likely scenario, you saw the non-offending party’s name on your manifest and let your ego run amuck in the hopes you’d have a superlative story to share amongst your own social media circle of kicking the dude off YOUR aircraft. What a hero for saving us all from something that likely wouldn’t happen.

This is not brave or anything other than a Karen mentality gone wild. Not a good look on you when half the world’s pilots are not at the controls.

Good luck. You’ll need it.
Bindair Dundat is offline  

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