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Reroute plane without telling passengers - go to jail!

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Reroute plane without telling passengers - go to jail!

Old 6th Jun 2007, 22:08
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Wouldn't fraud cover the act of saying you're taking the pax to ABC, when really you intend to land at XYZ?

I thought fraud was the act of promising something you never intended to deliver?
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Old 6th Jun 2007, 23:20
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Surely the act of kidnap involves some sort of imprisonment once the intital abduction has taken place?
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Old 6th Jun 2007, 23:27
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Whether there is a case for kidnapping, false imprisonment or fraud is interesting in itself.

There is a breach of contract, whether a criminal act has been committed or not.

This incident seems this covers a multitude of legal sins - breaches of criminal law, contract law and maybe a tort if negligence could be proved.

Just shows the responsibility carried by crews and management. Easy to be blase on day-to-day operations but a legal nightmare awaits the unwary, inept or careless.

SITW
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Old 7th Jun 2007, 05:40
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I would have said the legal case was extremely thin here. In theory, by selling tickets for transport on a plane to that destination on that day, the airline could reasonably be said to have a duty of care to carry the SLF to that destination on that day.

It is obviously not ideal, but I would have said that, given the circumstances, the airline had gone to sufficient lengths to perform the contract (they did, after all, get the passengers to the intended destination, albeit very late and by a roundabout route). The sin is merely not keeping the SLF fully informed. Big deal. Happens all the time. Is it the fact that this judgement was a punishment to the airline for not keeping the passengers informed? If so, as JH said at the start of this thread - a nest of vipers!
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Old 7th Jun 2007, 14:32
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It's the deception here that is the problem. Sentences for the managers quite right in my opinion. Room for appeal in the case of the Captain.
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Old 7th Jun 2007, 16:20
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Pre 9/11 I was on a flight out of Italy that was delayed about 6 hours in total. After about 4 hours a group of about six people decided not to fly because they would have arrived too late for the family dinner they were going to. I can't imagine what would have happened had someone told them in the airport that they "have to fly anyway" even though the trip would have been pointless.
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Old 7th Jun 2007, 16:59
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This one can be a real can of worms.

I have been in a situation where we are running late, our destination airfield will only stay open until a particular time and you start boarding having rushed a very quick turn around knowing you still have a good chance (15-30mins) of making it on time. After most of the passengers and bags are on you are told that because of the delay some of the passengers have gone walk about and they have bags checked in. ...........Check Mate !

You have 2 choices -

1) Start looking for their bags (at least 15 mins) and risk not getting to destination in time.

2) Wait in the hope that they turn up and risk not getting to your destination in time.

Now lets say they turn up after 15 mins, had that one before too. Do you.....

1) Do a PA to all the passengers saying that there is now a risk that we won't make it to destination in time (you would be surprised how many little things can delay take-off by 5-10mins). This will then lead to some passengers refusing to fly resulting in them getting off and then having to off load their bags (having looked for them for 20 mins in the holds).......result = Absolutely not getting to destination and being even more delayed.

2) Saying nothing to the passengers as there is still a chance of making it to destination before closure and risk an additional delay and the rath of the passengers afterwards as they accuse you of not telling them that they were going to a different airfield......and now of course the possibility of jail.


So there we have it. I would have to admit that on a few occasions I have chosen option 2 and just managed to get in on time. The passengers arrive slightly cheesed off all be it late and I end up with a few more gray hairs but satisfied in the knowledge that I got them to where they were supposed to go.

Nowadays I choose option 1. (Having been involved in an 'option 2' that turned sour. ) This means that the passengers go nowhere, get back off the A/C and get dealt with by the ground staff. I have a few less gray hairs and the Cabin crew don't get shouted at. The knock on affect is that we also end up night stopping......the A/C is then out of position for the morning flight from base and yet even more passengers are cheesed off !! but hey, at least I haven't committed an act of fraud.
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Old 7th Jun 2007, 17:07
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Originally Posted by Bangkokeasy
It is obviously not ideal, but I would have said that, given the circumstances, the airline had gone to sufficient lengths to perform the contract (they did, after all, get the passengers to the intended destination, albeit very late and by a roundabout route). The sin is merely not keeping the SLF fully informed. Big deal. Happens all the time. Is it the fact that this judgement was a punishment to the airline for not keeping the passengers informed? If so, as JH said at the start of this thread - a nest of vipers!
Exactly. I believe that the contractual obligation is transport from A to B; by any available (and reasonable) means. Obviously it's supposed to be by air but not necessarily (AIUI) in exigent circumstances. There are rules for compensation following such a 'schedule irregularity', but they change so often and need a law degree for comprehension.

I'd like to see the actual charges and judgement.
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Old 7th Jun 2007, 17:26
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Puddle jumper,

I would suggest that your situation is slightly different as neither you nor your management checked in passengers knowing full well before they did so that they would not be travelling to the ticketed destination.

In my opinion your efforts to make the destination before closure are to be commended but perhaps practical realities dictate that “the no grey hair” approach would be the most prudent option. Maybe your managers should review the schedule to prevent a recurrence and the associated hassles of aircraft out of position etc. There again, perhaps there is some pressing operational reason why the last flight of the day has to be to an airport with an inflexible closure time.
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Old 7th Jun 2007, 18:35
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ISO100,

With reference to the Italian flight in question, the passengers would have been checked in way before the flight departed. As far as the Pilots and management are concerned at this point they probably thought the flight was going to destination.
Trust me, you can be really close to destination and still not get in. I have had an airport turn the runway lights off on me and I was only 5 miles away.

If the flight did indeed land at the alternate airfield 20 mins after the destination airfield closed it could be that the pilots tried for 'Option 2'. As the passengers were boarding the pilots probably believed they still had a chance - they probably got further delayed after this point.

Now imagine the sort of mood the passengers were already in because of the delay and then imagine what happens when you do a PA telling them that after waiting for hours in the terminal, fighting their way through security and then finally boarding the A/C when you tell them that we have run out of time and there is no chance of getting to destination before closure so it's off the A/C folks .........oh and don't forget the apology !
lets just say you don't want to be on the receiving end of it.

My guess is (and it's just a guess) that they went for option 2 and it went sour. It doesn't justify jail.
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Old 7th Jun 2007, 22:36
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Here's a link to an article (in Italian) about the matter. Just to clarify about the objections that have been raised here:

-The airplane departed at 23.55 from Milan, when Cagliari airport was due to close at 00.00. Air One had obtained an extention only for 20 minutes. So when the flight departed they already knew (management and pilots, that is why they all got sentenced) that the flight would not have made it to Cagliari in time.
-The reason why the matter was considered a fraud (the judge explained) is that the pax cannot be considered like "freight", but "thinking human beings" and had the right to chose if they wanted to take the flight or not given the circumstances (and not lied to saying they were going to Cagliari when they knew full well they weren't).
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Old 8th Jun 2007, 05:53
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There is a big difference in trying to get into an airport with marginal weather and a possible diversion and taking off with absolutely no possibility of reaching your destination. The managers should do some time or pay hefty fines.
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Old 8th Jun 2007, 07:13
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Under the rules of the Warsaw convention which governs the conditions of carriage an airline an is only obliged to deposit it's passengers in the country of original destination no more, no less. Caveat emptor.
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Old 8th Jun 2007, 08:44
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The convention isn't the whole story though. You have to look at the contract between passenger and airline as well. The convention only covers certain aspects of air travel liability. I don't believe it covers a passengers right to cancel for example.
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Old 8th Jun 2007, 09:05
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My company regularly flies passengers to a different destination, and then busses them to their original destination so that the company can postition aircraft for maintenance swaps and so on. I can imagine that the passengers are mightily upset: I would be! I have no idea at what point they tell the passnegers that they aren't going to where they had booked to go, or what they tell them. I only know that the changes to destination are from abroad to the UK, and the destinations are within 50 miles of each other, anly 35 minutes or so by road, but that's enough to add about 1 1/2 hours or so to a journey. As I say, I would be a bit perplexed if it happened to me as a passenger.
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Old 8th Jun 2007, 09:07
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The AirOne web site says..
"Regulation (EC) 261/2004 in force since 17/02/2005, sets common standards for assistance and compensation.."
That regulation doesn't appear to cover the exact situation here but does say..
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/...4R0261:EN:HTML
(20) Passengers should be fully informed of their rights in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, so that they can effectively exercise their rights.
and
(17) Passengers whose flights are delayed for a specified time should be adequately cared for and should be able to cancel their flights with reimbursement of their tickets or to continue them under satisfactory conditions.
The issue being... were they fully informed so as to be able to "effectively exercise their rights".
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Old 8th Jun 2007, 10:06
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Puddle Jumper 2

If your scenario is how it actually happened I would have some sympathy but the implication seems to be that this was far from being the case!

Yes I do know what it is like to be down wind “of The Fan” when the S**T hits but If its our fault then….. …. its our fault right! Thick skins needed all round.
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Old 8th Jun 2007, 10:27
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ISO100,
I would have to agree with you.
If the details are as 'Flyblue' suggests and the take off time was only 25 mins before airfield closure (including extensions) for what must be around an hour flight time, then they must have known before push back that they were not going to make it. not good.

Jail still seems too harsh to me though. A slap on the wrists, even demotion and a company fine would be more fitting.

The point in all this is that the end result will be much more cancellations and allot more cheesed off passengers as Capt's who are in with a small chance of not arriving to the destination in time simply say "I'm not risking jail, flight cancelled".

The sad thing is that when I have been close to not getting in but still in with a chance, I have occasionally taken a quick vote via the PA and asked how many passengers still want to have a go......the result is always a resounding YES.
If these guys go to jail our future passengers won't even get the choice.

Last edited by puddle-jumper2; 8th Jun 2007 at 10:40.
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Old 8th Jun 2007, 11:35
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Puddle Jumper 2

I believe that the point here is that in your case, you are being honest and upfront when there is a real chance of making your destination and giving your passengers choice and involvement in the decision making. The subject of this thread appears to involve deliberate premeditated deception and what you are suggesting does not fall into this category.

I agree that jail is a harsh response. The alternative would perhaps be to fine the Airline a punitive sum if this is possible under the applicable laws. The punishment needs to override the economic benefit to the airline of diverting the flight, otherwise the bean counters will take the fine every time!!!
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Old 8th Jun 2007, 15:44
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cag diversion

the crew acted in good faith, in very difficult circumstances,( long delay & double aircraft change including pax & bags transfer from one aircraft to another).
they were told by their operations an extension was granted & could depart.
so they asked & received a start up & enroute clearance for ... cag.(can you receive a clearance for a place that is closed?)
the passengers were extremely nervous & some on the edge of unruling pax.
the fraud theory is a pure invention of the judge, as the crew was more busy trying to solve all the problems that befell them & were lightyears away from thinking of aggravated fraud practices.
seems to me that for the italian justice it is easier to lock up airline staff, aircrew & atc controllers(linate md 80 collision), than to put the real mafiosi ( banco ambrosiano etc.) behind bars. if this is " aggravated fraud", what than to think about the swissair boys? oh, yes, they were acquitted isn' t it & with substantial bonusses as a gift. ok last remark is off topic.
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