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Captain's speach for passengers with technical problems

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Captain's speach for passengers with technical problems

Old 24th Aug 2014, 11:22
  #1 (permalink)  
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Smile Captain's speach for passengers with technical problems

Hello... I'm a copilot in an airline and Several times I hear about passenger that get scary out when captain says "we've got a technical problem with the aircraft and we need to land".

I would like to know, in your country or airlines, how is the best way, what are the best words or sentences to say to the passengers about any problem we have with the airplane when we need to land or return, or even divert, but without say exactlly what is the problem (engine failure, apu fire, flaps problem, etc) to prevent passengers get scary??
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Old 24th Aug 2014, 12:45
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its a no win situation, doesn't matter what you do someone won't like it.
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Old 24th Aug 2014, 13:18
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Personally I think it's ok to mention a "technical problem" as a generic phrase but try to stay away from words such as Hydraulics, Engine Failure, pressurisation etc etc. And when it comes to weather, I try to avoid terms like thunderstorms, windshear, tropical storms, cross winds or anything else that might spook the pax.
Easier said than done sometimes but my opinion is that it's a case of a little knowledge is a dangerous thing when it comes to how much the pax should know.
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Old 24th Aug 2014, 13:31
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I was asked to run a 'team building' (yeah I know, useless but can be fun ....) exercise once for a company I worked for. The dozen or so participants were not pilots, but all involved in the airline industry. The task everyone was given was :

You are the captain of a large commercial aircraft flying from Cape Town to London with 300 passengers on board. In the small hours of the morning, over northern Nigeria, a warning light tells you of an imminent failure in the fuel supply from a wing tank. This means that should the supply from that tank become restricted, you won't have enough fuel to get to your destination nor to return to your departure point.
You need to make a decision as to the best course of action and make an appropriate announcement to the passengers. For the purpose of this exercise, you can assume that you can safely land your aircraft, and fly it out again, from any airport on or close to your flight path.

I have the transcripts on my laptop ........ they varied from :

"We're going to run out of fuel if we don't do an emergency landing so we will be landing soon to have the problem fixed." (hopefully this person was not really taking it very seriously!)

to :

"A warning light has indicated a possible malfunction in one of our multiple fuel systems. This is most likely a false alarm but is one of those things where we take no chances. In the unlikely event that it does fail, the back up systems would allow us to continue flying safely for several hours, but we've contacted the airport authorities in Kano and have arranged for a ground check to take place when we land there in about 20 minutes from now. No cause for alarm, I'll keep you informed and meantime I'm handing you over to the cabin crew for the normal pre-landing procedures. My apologies for the disturbance to your rest, and we'll be on our way to London again as soon as possible. Thank you."

That last one was from a female member of my team who ended up in a very senior customer facing position for a major carrier.
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Old 24th Aug 2014, 16:08
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Originally Posted by Capetonian
"A warning light has indicated a possible malfunction in one of our multiple fuel systems. This is most likely a false alarm but is one of those things where we take no chances. In the unlikely event that it does fail, the back up systems would allow us to continue flying safely for several hours, but we've contacted the airport authorities in Kano and have arranged for a ground check to take place when we land there in about 20 minutes from now. No cause for alarm, I'll keep you informed and meantime I'm handing you over to the cabin crew for the normal pre-landing procedures. My apologies for the disturbance to your rest, and we'll be on our way to London again as soon as possible. Thank you."
That had a soothing and calming effect on me as I imagined myself listening to this passenger briefing. The member who wrote this rightly deserved what she achieved. Thanks for digging and sharing the transcripts.
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Old 24th Aug 2014, 16:16
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What I liked about it was that it was decisive and positive, indicating that a decision had been taken and the resultant action was under way. Nothing about 'we're waiting for instructions from London' or 'we have to decide what's best'. It sounded calm and competent. Just hit the right notes for me anyway. Some of the others rambled on with unnecessary detail and other options.
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Old 24th Aug 2014, 17:26
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Hey Capetonian

You sad that you have others responses in your computer. If you want, you could post that here for me. I love to se as much exemples as possible.
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Old 24th Aug 2014, 19:42
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"we've got a technical problem with the aircraft and we need to land"
I would always avoid the word "problem" when talking to passengers!
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Old 24th Aug 2014, 21:02
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It's a bit of a mission to be honest as they were taped on a dictaphone and I had them converted to audio files by one of the geeks, so I had to type these two as I listened to them.
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Old 24th Aug 2014, 22:48
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I'm your captain and I would like your attention please. Someone is giving me 200thousand dollars to land at cleveland instead of pittsburgh. I'll tell you why when we get on the ground. BELIEVE ME, nothing bad, and the only thing I'm worried about is doing the paperwork.

I'll fill you in on the ground in Cleveland.
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Old 26th Aug 2014, 18:00
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"WE'RE ALL DOOMED" in a rich scottish accent as per Private Fraser iin the sitcom "Dads'Army".

That usually gets them all listening..........
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Old 26th Aug 2014, 21:47
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From a Farside cartoon:


"The fuel lights on; we're all going to die."


"Oops, thats the intercom light."
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Old 29th Aug 2014, 19:07
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Hi,
why bother to tell why?

Just say, We´re sorry, that today we can´t deliver you to your destination in time.
We have to do an intermediate Landing at...... and our airline will do everything, to make you stop as convinient as possible.

(may be you can insert also - for unseen circumstances)
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Old 30th Aug 2014, 11:15
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Thumbs up

Thanks for everybody... I am very close to became a captain in my company and so this topic will always be opened for more and more exemples.... Please.
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Old 30th Aug 2014, 12:29
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Captain's speech for passengers with technical problems
Best to weed them out at the gate, in my view. No need to speak to them, if you do that.


I know, sorry, I'll leave now. Cape's speech is the best.
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Old 30th Aug 2014, 13:53
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“OOOPS”

“Oh god what have you done”?

“Mumble mumble mumble”.

“We’d better land immediately…don’t tell the passengers”.

“And for god’s sake turn off the intercom”.

That will certainly get their seats into the upright position.

Last edited by keith williams; 30th Aug 2014 at 15:55.
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Old 30th Aug 2014, 16:30
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Just say: 'Ladies and Gentlemen, there is no need to panic'.
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Old 1st Sep 2014, 13:37
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Passengers with technical problems?

I think Capot was the only one who got it
oceancrosser is online now  
Old 2nd Sep 2014, 09:25
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A few years ago, my brother was passenger on a Thai 737 flight from BKK. Take-off aborted. Captain's "speech" in obviously limited English: "sorry - engine problem!" He then immediately taxies the aircraft back to the threshold and promptly takes off again! Bottom line: my brother decided then he would never fly Thai again. And he is definitely NOT a scared passenger...

I'm so glad I fly cargo...

Cheers
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Old 3rd Sep 2014, 04:25
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Capetonian,
The examples you have provided are all excellent but only when the passengers are predominantly english speakers.
Unfortunately the majority of my pax have level 1-4 english only. In this scenario, even the word "fuel" can easily be taken out of context.
I'm not trying to pick holes in your excellent post, just pointing out that a good announcement shouldn't be based solely on how we sound to each other.
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