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Crew refuses to take off due to "hostile work environment"

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Crew refuses to take off due to "hostile work environment"

Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:54
  #21 (permalink)  
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I fully support the crew in this situation.

Pax. also need to think very carefully about the safety aspect of doing this to a crew just before they are about to take them for a flight.

Do you think their minds are going to be on the job in hand ?

Or do you think they will be thinking about what just happened to them in the terminal whilst doing their checks for departure ?

Would you boo a surgeon just before the anaesthetic kicks in ?
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:57
  #22 (permalink)  
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Professional Pilot's Forum?

Perhaps this thread is an example of why this should be restricted to professional pilots only - verified by their licence number.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:07
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Perhaps this thread is an example of why this should be restricted to professional pilots only - verified by their licence number.
In this case, where no reason had been given as to the cause of the delay, I think a thread like this is invaluable to all in order to get across both sides of the story. There will always be the drum beaters but most of the passengers I fly are grateful for information as ground handling staff are told not to give it out many times. The reason for this is that the airport staff do not want delays going down to them and would like to pass it on to the crew. These delay codes are collated data and used, many times, to set servicing prices at airports.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:09
  #24 (permalink)  
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Well what do you expect from a bunch of New Yorkers!

This is the problem with big monopoly airlines. Management only seems to care about packing their golden parachute. What ever happened to the practice of VP management being forced to ride around in coach undercover? What ever happened to the practice of management having to eat the same food each day that they put on the airplane?

The result you get with no adult supervision is vindictive ground staff, who daily deal with pax anger, are unaccountable to anyone, and knowingly lie to everybody about everything all the time.

Gawd, What a dishonest industry! The system is broken! We need to first break up the oil companies and then break up these monster mediocre empires on the ground, starting with security and ending with the individual airline.

No wonder the rich won't set foot in a public airport anymore. They timeshare biz jets at reliever airports, even though it costs them a fortune; just to avoid the misery.

Give me the early 70's/80's any day! When people dressed up to go to the airport, and everybody was polite to the passenger.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:10
  #25 (permalink)  
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Pax speaking
Then on arrival at the gate invariably the information is not available. Why not from an hour before the flight post something like:
flight is due to depart on time
flight is due to depart .... min late due to .........

And ensuring through an information SYSTEM that this information is honest and complete and accurate
I suggest that a goodly part of this is because there is no single and consistent trail of information available.

The carrier may have sub-contracted large parts of their operation to third parties and airports certainly have. Whilst contracts and procedures state that each party will report back as they complete/fail each requirement - there is still no single point of control. There is no one system or individual looking out for the trail of information to pax:
  • on web or via SMS to their mobiles
  • in queue at check-in
  • waiting in departure lounges (all types) with possible updates via SMS
  • at the gate
Each of those points is a different group of people, with only a notional single point of control. Lastly, most of the process' and systems work on the basis that they WILL work and only to report exceptions when they DON'T.

Thus the people who might send out corrective information are only sent details when there is a failure but they may just get a simple msg that a particular contractor or staff member reports that a delay has occurred. They will not not necessarily know how or why.

How to fix? V-e-r-y difficult, because the current way of doing things has built up over the past 20 years and is now accepted practice. At large airports, there is almost zero chance of making a joined-up chain of information - unless you have lots of money.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:13
  #26 (permalink)  
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KLM flight monday night, Amsterdam - Bordeaux

1. Inital delay of 20mins, reason given by groundstaff of inbound flight delayed.
2. Everyone boards bus to go to aircraft, but then de-bussed and told there is a technical problem with the aircraft, delay now 1 hr.

At this point a couple of pax sentiments along the lines of "great, again, oh well, but just resigned to the delay, not too upset, as everyone was updated and given reasonable reasons etc..

3.Arrive on aeroplane, FD crew appologise for delay, re-stating technical glitch on aeroplane and all fixed nothing to worry about, underlining that its best to depart knowing aeroplane safe etc..

Good announcement I thought, apology accepted, we're on our way and anyone worried about flying would be reassured etc.

4. Cabin crew make announcements etc and finish off with "sorry for the delay of one hour, this was due to ATC...."

EErrr....What?...I know I wasnt the only one thinking "so what was the problem then.....didnt she just hear what one of the pilots just said?", as I overheard several pax nearby comment negatively with what was that she just said, why do they always lie to us etc....

Pax goodwill about a delay just destroyed in 10 secs.

No info about delays is bad, and gets pax annoyed, but dont make stuff up.... you get pissed off when you are lied to, dont you? If you want the respect of your pax how about treating them with a little respect too?
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:23
  #27 (permalink)  
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On the subject of misinformation...
I remember SLF'ing on a Britannia flight many moons ago out of MAN. 4 hour delay, no biggie for me, but a fair number of PAX made their way over to the gate/airline's customer service desk, to be told the captain was still in bed... cue: crowd of angry PAX asking for home phone numbers for the flight crew. Unbelievable.

Ended up going out on an Air Atlanta tristar though, so I was happy anyway.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:36
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British Airways for more than a year have been cancelling flights due to "Crew Shortages", as if to imply the company has suddenly been caught out by a load of crew going sick on the day at the last moment.

The truth is that with the success of their EG300 penal sickness management policy there are many less crew sick every day, but management have cut the headline number of crew so they are short at certain times of the month when part time contracts kick in.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:43
  #29 (permalink)  
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It happens, in the AA case, because of managements gross incompetence and dishonesty.

In this example management TOLD the gate agents to spread the late/oversleeping crew lie (#101 in their playbook) and it's not by any means an isolated case of them trying to deflect blame onto the employees for a management fark-up. As it happened, the crew arrived right when they were scheduled to via another flight..... unfortunately the company screwed that connection as the flight they were to crew was to leave just as they got to the airport. Management therefore fell back on trusty excuse #101.

Seems the employees of that airline are tired of apologizing for things totally out of their control and so they generally don't. Instead, many have taken to handing out cards with the CEOs phone number on it. "Don't waste your anger on me because I'm pissed off as well. Call him."
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:46
  #30 (permalink)  
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Wink Spot on wobble2plank & VanHorck

I cant understand why on earth the airline staff at the gate would make such a stupid announcement to the passengers that the crew are late ( What morons!). I can tell you almost every flight I have been on as pax or otherwise never departed on time and this goes for most of the major European airlines.

I think those who work in the industry fully understand the ins and out of the business, but the average Joe blow would not have a clue as how things really work and that's why the action taken by wobble2plank & vanHorck was spot on. That was in my opinion the correct customer service action expected from a reputable airline.

I think some people on this form have been a bit harsh toward Green Granite, I can fully understand the customer expectation and an on time performance. I cannot remember being on any flight that has actually departed on time, maybe once or twice.

What really gets me is when some passenger arrives late 5 min after the gate closes, only to be told sorry you cannot come on board.

I can understand why the crew got really Pis.............ed off, but I think if they have taken the same approach as wobble2plank, the outcome might have been different

Green Granite, you are right those pax do pay our wages.

Safe and happy flying to all from Sybil, Poly and Manuel!

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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:49
  #31 (permalink)  
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PAXboy et all

so i guess the thread does show it is down to information

The first airline with or without subcontractors who manages to put a reliable information SYSTEM together perhaps as suggested including info at check in, via SMS etc will be the winner.

Everyone can accept delays due to unforeseen or force majeure reasons such as weather, tech issues.

The more problematic ones are those due to air congestion, strikes or lousy HR issues (BA), ground crew mismanagement etc.

But the long and short is that truthful, accurate and timely information (all three criteria being achievable) will help no end in reducing everyone's stress crew and pax alike.

But i guess it is airline management wanting to cover up (too) tight scheduling of crew and planes, covering up HR issues within the carrier, who have caused this intended misting up of the reasons of flight delays, not in the least perhaps for fear of claims.

so which airline has the balls to stand up and take the lead?
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:52
  #32 (permalink)  
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Thx Basil!

Don't kick knees with your long legs as you walk down the aisle explaining the next delays
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 09:52
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There is a fine line between legitimate grievances of customers and intolerable behaviour. Unfortunately, I feel that companies in service industries seem to take the opinion these days that any forceful complaint by a customer in person to one of their staff tends towards harrasment rather than legitimate feedback.

Take for example many posters we have around British railway stations with beaten-up staff photographed. While clearly unacceptable to resort to physical violence, the message it gives actually intimidates customers (combined with bolshie, unionised staff) - becoming don't hassle the staff with any complaints.

A lack of responsibility by the gate staff clearly caused this incident. Combined with a high probability that the staff there had no ability to know what actually caused the delay, combined to unacceptable behaviour, where the passengers had legitimate grievances.

Service industries require quality service - staff require the tools to provide this service.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 10:01
  #34 (permalink)  
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Re Heat

It s a complex problem.

All large companies, banks but airlines too have managed to hide their management from their customers. I guess it is done for efficiency reasons but leads to enormous frustration with the customers when things go wrong.

Staff training is cut to the bone, leading staff to being unable to deal properly with complaints (time constraints too, due efficiency drives). Many clients would be more helped by a "don t know" answer than a false answer when delays occur.

Subcontracting too makes the system less transparent.

I am not trying to justify the anger and abuse by pax. it is unacceptable and is due to norms and values having changed. But they have changed (in this example)in no small way by the problem of anonymity as described before.

Both ground staff and crew should (be allowed to) take time to investigate the true cause of the delay and take time to explain it to the pax until an information SYSTEM is in place
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 10:41
  #35 (permalink)  
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Service industries require quality service - staff require the tools to provide this service.
And quality staff cost more, so it won't happen. Not unless customers vote with their wallets.But they vote to travel as cheaply as possible. So it's a vicious circle.
When the staff are treated properly, they will provide proper service. If the airline isn't willing to do so and the pax are prepared to put up with the consequences, then so be it. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys, always was, always will be.
So quit whinging and find an airline that values you, your money and its staff.

p.s. kudos to the crew in this incident. Again, it comes back to being valued, with every airline trying to hammer crew as much as possible, why the hell should they care? And in case anyone misses the obvious, they're being hammered so you, the pax, can "enjoy" a cheaper fare. You get what you pay for.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 10:46
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Crew was right to get offended but reaction was childish!

The way passengers reacted was of course inappropriate and offending, even if I refuse to believe that all passengers participated and so some of them got "punished" unfairly.

It s normal that crew members felt offended but they reacted a bit impulsive by refusing to make that flight and let it be canceled. I wonder about the captain in charge! Either he is an impulsive young captain that let his ego take that decision or an one close to retirement that miss old times when both passenger and crews were much more mannered and less stressed than nowadays!

Anyway...this attitude " they hit me I hit back" is not a wise one !

Because of the "lesson" crew gave to the "bad" passengers, maybe some passengers got in troubles harder to be fixed than the crew ego!

Valid for both parts ( pax and crew) : use bit more your brain and good sense and let aside impulsive reaction and silly revenges!!

Behave yourself people! So we can pretend we live in a civilized world!
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 10:56
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This is, unfortunately, symptomatic of a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The flight may well have been delayed by a technical fault. However, generally, most small snags are easy and quick to fix if not even put into the acceptable deferred defaults list.

If you miss your departure slot, which ties in with your cross Europe flight plan slot, then you need to request another. This can take hours! A likely explanation as to why you were given 2 'different' answers to the delay is that the CC aren't really that interested in what was fixed, they will be interested in when they go off duty and the ATC slot delay will affect that more. They understand 'Slot Delays' far more than 'the AI was broken' and will communicate that with you. Sad but true.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 10:57
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A while ago i went to EMA to meet a friend arriving from ALC, i arrived about an hour before he was due(1300) and the arrivals board didn't show his flight.I went to the airlines desk and the polite lady said she didn't have any information but would make an announcement when she knew. Shortly after my friend rang to say they hadn't left but were showing delayed 1 hour. I told the polite lady and she directed me to the operations desk who may know more.Again very polite people, i asked the ops man if he had any information because i had a two hour drive to home and didn't know whether to stay or wait. He was very helpful, made a phone call, and told me that the aircraft needed a small part which would be leaving Luton with a technician about 1700 arriving in ALC about 2000.The part would take about 40 minutes to fix and he thought the flight would arrive at EMA just before midnight. I rang my friend and told him and he said the flight was then showing a delay of 2 hours with no one giving any information. I went and did a bit of shopping had something to eat at a pub and arrived back at about 2000. I went to the desk, different lady, asked if there was any news and she said the flight was expected in about 2 hours although the board still showed delayed. The flight eventually arrived at 0115.
My point is that whilst everyone was helpful to me, the information i had at 1300 was never passed to the desks where people were asking for information..
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 11:52
  #39 (permalink)  
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GreenGranite's point is well-taken. It's the paying passenger who puts the bread on my table and I'm grateful for it.

PAs explaining delays should be made and they should be honest and informative.

That being said, in this instance if the captain felt that passengers were so angry that he questioned whether they would follow flight/cabin crew instructions in flight, or possibly even initiate a physical altercation, he was doing the right thing in pulling the plug. I'd like to hear his story and reason for taking the action he did.

In 32 years of flying I've never seen a flight delayed due to crew oversleeping or negligently failing to show up.

Gate agents are underpaid and subject to the bulk of customer abuse and I sympathize with them. But for a gate agent to announce correctly or incorrectly that the crew overslept is undiplomatic and irresponsible. "The flight crew is delayed, we estimate their arrival at XX" would suffice in the instance.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 12:41
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In many airports the display boards are bespoke-designed to display a set of information that does not include lengthy messages such as yours. However - revamped (i.e. modernised) and new airports use LCD displays that tend to allow the displays of longer messages, but the airport systems may not necessarily be as advanced to display such messages. Even if they are, how do you turn a delay that is due to legal requirements (i.e. late arrival the previous night with legal requirement to rest 6 hours plus travel) into a short and sweet message?

"due to crew scheduling" is a terribly vague message.
"due to late arrival" doesn't work when this is the first flight out.
"due to legal requirement" also is terribly vague.

Considering that I am in the business of usability, I know that people don't read long messages, hence security messages being... short. sweet. blocks. of. information. that pax. can understand. You get my drift.

I have to agree with Paxboy that the airline who manages to get a system up and running that allows their ground crew (or the contracted out ground-staff) to display the reasons for the delay, will be the one with the most customer satisfaction where delays are concerned.

From past experience, many US airports (I haven't flown into MIA, so I don't know the state of the terminals there) still use antiquated CRT 15" (if that) displays that only show the airline, the time, and the gate. Structural investments like better PIDs (Passenger Information Displays) are LOW on the priority list.

Airports where airlines have an exclusive terminal (ironically, BA's Terminal 5 or JetBlue's JFK terminal are perfect examples), more expansive displays could very well be possible, provided they are controlled by the airline specifically, and the airline is always on top of why flights are delayed.

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