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Pilot refused to fly shoeless children

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Pilot refused to fly shoeless children

Old 3rd Sep 2004, 10:38
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As the lunatics took over the asylum, it appears that pax/wannabes are taking over PPRuNe.
Alternatively, they are highlighting an issue that there seems to be no clear guidance on and needs clarification. I always check the safety card when I fly as lowly, despicable SLF and I would make the immediate assumption that you take shoes off before an evacuation via slides. Now it seems that isn't the case and there is understandable confusion, but in the true nature of the aviation industry, the know-it-alls prefer to slag off those that provide reason for their employment (Freight dogs excepted naturally), rather than actually suggesting some constructive fact.

So could someone please answer this: Should passenger's feet remain encased? Please include in your answer, as appropriate, quotations from a) airline SOPs, b) relevant extracts from current safety cards, c) quotations from airline websites/documentation provided to the passenger that advises shoes to be kept on.

Then we might a) get somewhere and b) work out who the real "lunatics" are.

In a crash situation which is more important? Having a pair of shoes or getting the out and living?

I know what my first choice would be.
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Old 3rd Sep 2004, 12:43
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God preserve us from the Heath & Safety fanatics!

Iíve read the above posts MOR, and it would appear that it is you that knows nothing about aviation in this case!
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Old 3rd Sep 2004, 12:43
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Any safety brief or card I've ever seen says to take off 'high heeled' shoes. It's not a universal directive.
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Old 3rd Sep 2004, 15:05
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... their toenails were a threat, their tonailclippers already been confiscated in the USA on a previous flight. Small barefooted children may pose a serious hazard when used as weapons by their parents........
Old 3rd Sep 2004, 16:52
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Its not uncommon here in Queensland to see whole families walking around the supermarket doing the weekly shopping without a shoe in sight. Children here must be born with tougher feet as they seem to walk everywhere barefoot with no problem. very strange to see at first, even after a year I still look twice at blokes with no footwear, pushing shopping trolleys.
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Old 3rd Sep 2004, 17:36
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Stupid but genuine question from a pax: how often have lives have been saved by evacuation? Have always assumed that it's an exceptionally rare event that you get out a plane alive once something goes seriously wrong.

Thankfully the chances of something going seriously wrong are very low. So we're talking about a rare exception to the outcome of a low probability event, aren't we?
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Old 3rd Sep 2004, 21:39
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Without wishing to express any comment on this case, my only knowledge of which is as detailed on this thread, it does raise a number of points that require some clarification. There may be some regional variations in the specific rules and regulations but the general points ought to have some universal element.

1) Infants are usually children under the age of 2 in so far as they are defined for the purposes of carriage by air.

2) The Captain has the final authority for who is and isn't carried on board a flight.

3) Passengers are required to comply with the lawful instructions of the Captain (those instructions may be given by other crew) at all times whilst on board an aircraft. This is part of the general conditions of carriage that forms part of the contract between the passenger and the air carrier ( the ticket or accepted conditions)

4) The Captain has a statutory authority to refuse entry to the aircraft to anyone whose presence in flight could represent a hazard to the safety of the aircraft or its occupants.

5) A Captain has discretion to take such action as he/she sees fit to ensure the safety/health of any person on board provided such action would not adversely affect the safety of the aircraft operations for which they are responsible.

It is expected that a Captain by virtue of their position and experience would apply the necessary common sense in interpretation of the above rules. However the scope for such interpretation may well be limited by the requirements of national statutes and company regulations. They may be influenced by the Captains own experience in such matters and by other external influences.

It is relatively unusual on a day to day basis for the Captain to be asked to arbitrate on matters of Passengers dress, but it does sometimes arise. When it does arise it is normally because the senior Cabin crew member has been unsuccessful in resolving the matter. In such circumstances they quite rightly pass the matter on to the Captain.

Last week I had a situation with a male passenger who had boarded with no shirt and was informed that his bare torso was not acceptable for carriage. It was brought to my attention beacuse he argued that he had no shirt. I agreed with the Cabin crew and we arrived at a compromise whereby he could if necessary wear a blanket. In fact he then produced a T-shirt but there you go!

Common sense dictates the dress standard, and this is rarely an issue. However passengers cannot be allowed to board an aircraft if their dress (or lack of it ) is likely to cause offense or distress to others, nor if it is likely to affect their safety or the safety of others.

It is my opinion that Children aged 2 and 4 are not infants. They are seated passengers. They ought to have some form of footwear as they board the aircraft unless there are overriding reasons for not doing. On the other hand (or foot) they are children and much of the responsibility is devolved to their parents. The same rationale that applies to an adult can be very difficult if not impossible to impart to a child. I think therefore that I and many other Captains would in fact not expect such matters to normally be brought to our attention. However if they were, it would certainly be within the remit of the Commander to refuse carriage.
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Old 3rd Sep 2004, 21:43
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Leaving aside the question of kids boarding an aircraft, in the middle of winter, with no shoes on - mind-boggling in itself
Here's a fun little exercise for you - guess which of the above posts have been made by people who aren't parents?

Have a look about you next time you are out on the streets in the middle of winter. You will see small children without shoes. With some kids it's physically impossible to keep them on, short of sewing them to their feet.
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Old 3rd Sep 2004, 21:52
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Jellied Eels.

Have you studied, for example, the Sioux City incident?

If you have, you might want to reconsider your question.
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Old 4th Sep 2004, 14:18
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I'm not the sharpest cookie in the airing cupboard so please bear with me....

- How did the pilot come to know about two children being shoeless down the back; are the wearing of shoes prior to take off (re. small children) a big deal?

- What's the difference with a pax who chooses to remove his shoes during the flight?

Call me thick but I think all the pertinant details neccessary to dabate this aren't available.

I think you can see where I'm going here.

Before the flight, for some reason that the C.Crew couldn't handle - the pilot was called upon to make a decision...about two kids with no shoes.

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Old 4th Sep 2004, 15:18
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What's the difference with a pax who chooses to remove his shoes during the flight?
From a cabin crew point of view, the difference is that person had shoes on in the first place, and can be requested to put them on again for landing... as we all know, take off & landing are the two most critical phases of flight...

Congratulations to the Captain involved for having the guts to make the decision he felt was necessary at the time - after all, that is why he wears the 4 stripes.
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Old 4th Sep 2004, 21:10
  #52 (permalink)  
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For anyone who knows anything about Kiwi culture, shoes have often been optional. Even I have done my grocery shopping in bare feet. The Kiwis play all manner of sports, including rugby, league, and gridiron in bare feet. Most of these people could walk on broken glass and not get cut.

The other issue of whether it is policy of AirNZ is one that apparently has yet to be answered. As often as I've flown them as SLF, I've never heard of any official "shoe" policy (I've taken my substantial shoes off during flights, and never heard a peep from the C-Crew).

But this is really a non-issue, and it sounds like these MPs are using it to their political advantage (for publicity sake). Typical...

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Old 5th Sep 2004, 08:52
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I am not sure that the wearing of shoes is the real reason for this situation. Many passengers quietly board aircraft without being completely correct in their attire. I think something about the childrens behaviour annoyed the cabin crew, probably followed by comments from protective parents, causing the cabin crew to report this to the captain out of annoyance. The captain then gets protective to his cabin crew and this decision is the result.

I have had the situation myself where there has been a disagreement between a passenger and the purser. When I have checked with the passenger I have found that the purser was just having a bad day and was oversensitive.

Too many flight and cabin crew have forgotten that we are in the business of customer service. Rules are for the blind obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.
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Old 5th Sep 2004, 10:21
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Angry The wearing of shoes

I had a similar situation out of Brisbane quite some time ago.
The check in staff refused boarding to two young surfer types that were ahead of me in the queue for wearing flip flops.
They had to get their bags out of the hold and their baggage missed the flight.
My family and I were up next and with a 3 year old son with sandals on...yep you guessed it we were instructed that if he was not wearing shoes he could not fly because of "Air Naviagation Regulations". I naturally asked which one. blank look.
I insisted that if she was going to quote fictitious regulations, she could at least tell me which one. No answer.
My questions as to why he had to wear shoes were met with the same answers given above. ie nothing sensible given that there were women in the queue with sandals on and they were not being asked to "shoe up".
Finally we were let on board and what was the first thing that was noticed on the emergency evac card...yep remove shoes. Said nothing about high heels, just remove shoes in case of an evac.
Having been less than impressed with the manner which we were treated at the gate by one of the cabin staff..I called her over and pointed this out. Totally ignored and was then treated like a leper for the rest of the flight.

Now the question to all you captains out there...are sandals and flip flops ok?
IF not, why is it not made very clear prior to arriving at the airport.
And if you think sandals are dangerous, how do you reconcile the Arabic national footwear, which everyone around the Middle East, local and expat alike wear? So are Gulf Air, Emirates, Qatar, Saudi, Etihad, Arabia, and all the big boys that fly to and from the ME operating dangerously?

If this is a true story and not a media beat up...from the passengers point of view the airlines need to lift their game.
Especially in OZ/NZ!!

rant off
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Old 5th Sep 2004, 10:37
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Pheeel said
In this "compensation culture" of a world we find ourselves in, perhaps the captain was just covering his own back and that of his company's. If little johnny was to cut his foot on a plastic fork that had dropped on the floor, then mummy and daddy wouldn't have been too happy I'm guessing....probably could've got a few grand from it.....
Not in NZ - there is a thing called ACC which means you cannot sue for accidents.

The Maori culturally correct thing to do is NOT wear shoes; where I live many don't, it begs the question was the Captain being 'selective' in his choice based on the ethnicity of the kids.

(and for the record I think his actions were appropriate)
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Old 6th Sep 2004, 03:32
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A Captain wannabe Boarding Agent?

This captain must have had little to do in the cockpit to become so intensely involved with pax attire.
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Old 6th Sep 2004, 08:34
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Divingduck, an interesting post. I was particularly amusing by the check-in agent trying to fob you off.

Funny how the question of written airline rules concerning wearing footwear has still not been answered.
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Old 7th Sep 2004, 11:22
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On the information available I'd avoid ANZ - in case my safety was in the hands of someone so evidently batty
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Old 7th Sep 2004, 13:35
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Why does BA give me a pair of blue socks everytime I fly if they are not expecting me to take my shoes and socks off?

ps. taking your socks off and throwing them over the back of the seat so the person behind is looking right at them is a great way to get them to stop kicking and kneeing you in the back when sitting in coach which I don't do very often.
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