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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, 21:34
  #61 (permalink)  
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A couple of years ago, the flight is scheduled BEN-AMM, but the airplane is late from maintenance...by 15 hours.
Pax at the departure lounge already, stamped out by immigration, so no chance of returning to hotac.
I direct the cabin supervisor to make an announcement in the departure lounge (local lingo) to the effect that we will depart at 6am (the earliest possible simply because that is the earliest immigration can rubber stamp the GenDec.)
pax on board at 5:30, GenDec stamped at 6, off we go.
Slight problem,
Nacelle/pylon overheat in the climb, appropriate switchlights pressed, HP valve #3 closed, problem solved.
In AMM, pax have already been notified in hotac (and at home) so they are pleased.

Lets face facts here.

Airline managements need to realise that...keep the punters properly and accurately informed of delays, and usually they will completely understand...lie to 'em, expect big problems, make no mistake.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 21:54
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Well done crew!

Imagine your ema-dub flight being delayed 3 hrs. And it's the last flight for the day and all you want to do is get home. The a/c is delayed from somewhere else... What you gonna do, have a word with God!!!???

Aircrew do not have to work in a hostile envoirement. I am delayed (in my airline not being paid for the delay), i am tired, had to deal with another 189 angry pax, smile when i'm about to cry, be nice, help, reassure, comfort....
I would've done the same. One hr and something mins late??? Oh dear, what a drama!
Deal with it, get on the a/c, understand it's not crew's fault (as if we deliberatly chose to be late.......), get to your destination safe and sound and maybe say a "thanks" at the other end. Simple as...

Good on the crew who refused to fly, you are not pax's slaves!!!!

My thoughts go out to you.

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Old 9th Jul 2008, 22:30
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I am with the crew on this, the Captain was bright enough to note that his authority had been eroded when he joined the aircraft.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 23:17
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The best part of the story though is that the folks eventually got to LGA but their bags went to JFK! Priceless...
Am I the only one who finds this very worrying ?. In this day and age, you would think after Lockerbie and 11/09 the Americans would have finally learn't their lesson about security - seems not !!.

I have noticed that some non flying staff in the business sometimes seem to have a chip on their shoulders about those who fly.
Probably due to the way that some flight crew feel they are entitled to speak to ground staff like they are something they have just trodden in (you know the ones, there are plenty of them out there - it is these ones who cause you all to be tarred with the same brush which causes the problem)- this is even more amusing when said crew member is actually wanting help from the person that they are speaking to like

Ground staff never walk into an a/c and tell the crew how to do their jobs, yet so many flight crew feel they have to make snide comments or worse about the way we do ours, so a little mutual respect concerning the differing jobs roles goes along way. We have SOP's we have to adhere to too, they might seem pathetic and long winded but we didn't write them, but we have to work to them just like you flight crew do with yours.

We have had several Captains recently trying to flex their muscles and wanting to depart knowing things were not correct with paperwork issues, but because that is not important as to them it is a silly minor issue, but it has to be correct before the a/c can depart by our SOP's the dispatcher rightly refused to let them go. A comment of "well you cannot stop me, if I want to depart I will" from one Captain was met with "oh I didn't know this a/c can fly with the jet bridge still attatched" from the dispatcher !!.

So if you see or hear your fellow air crew speaking to the g/staff like cr@p, maybe have a word with them and point out the error of their ways, then one day we can all live happily ever after.

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Old 9th Jul 2008, 23:22
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Bahamas Airways Nassau were taken over by Cathay in 1968ish and the suits from HKK had big plans... they introduced a lovely passenger information counter and trained up specially selected locals to sit behind a huge "Passenger Information" sign.
Flights were delayed and on asking why I was told...."Man dis child dont know nutin, I just passenger information man no one takin to dis child"
Bahamas Airways liquidated in October 1970...said it all for me about Cathay management.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 23:48
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I'm just PAX, private pilot and airplane lover.

That said, I'm glad I seem to live in a different universe than these thugs and those of you that have to haul them. I fly a few times a year, mostly up and down the pacific coast of the US. I've never seen any of the flight crew abused by PAX. I have seen spontaneous applause for a nice landing through a bumpy approach, a "nicely done" to the pilot by the passengers on the way out, and lots of patience and politeness to the cabin crew.

Now TSA is a different matter....
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 23:54
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I think a big part of this problem is that many airline managements seem to think they are in the "transportation" business. This is wrong, whatever business you are in you are in the "people" business. It's all about communication and telling people the truth - there's too much spin being put on things these days.

Last edited by fireflybob; 10th Jul 2008 at 07:42.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 00:02
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I've worked for BA,Air France, Lufthansa, KLM - most on franchises or partners operating on their behalf. I've worked for Europe@s largets charter operator and largest LoCo - ergo - I've been about a bit ( Big Bill's Words ).

I have found that bad temper and bad manners is not exclusive to any one situation: passengers can kick off for all sorts of reasons, the majority not remotely associated with delays.

As the cost of air travel comes down the expectation of service rises: if you travel with my company, FR, we will take you form A to B safely in a nice new airplane. Anything else you pay for.

If you go with BA or VS or BD tho you pay more and hence have a greater expectation of service: equally, if you don't get a 0.01p FR fare perhaps you have expectation of service.

It is the anticipation of some service promise which doesn't materialise that causes problems: when the "experience" begins with a check in facility manned by the cheapest bidder it is downhill from there.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 00:21
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Carrier said:
Remember, the customer is always right!
Wrong. This would have to be one of the most incorrect clichés ever.

When customers start verbally and/or physically assaulting front-line staff (even if the customers have legitimate beefs about something) they are not only "not right", but they are also likely breaking the law.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 00:26
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Now an airline pilot is looked upon as being no more than an airborne and rather surly version of a bus, truck or train driver and the air hostess as a flying waitress with an attitude. This disreputable industry has forfeited the public’s respect with its unpleasant antics. If the industry wants to regain that respect then it has to mend its ways and EARN it. It will not help the situation by engaging in and encouraging further bullying of the travelling public.
There is some truth to this,I readily admit it.Customer service died a death with dereg and advent of low-cost.Then 911 put the final nail in the coffin.Passengers must never argue with crew.Youve all seen Anger ManagementJust getting through security puts BOTH crew and passengers in a frightful mood these days.Then theres the layoffs and labor disputes which can destroy families and careers.Flying aint what it used to be thats for sure.Its tough on passengers and crew.
The irony is that the industry will probably have to cut back further on customer service to keep afloat,just at a time when passenger satisfaction is already very low.
If you want real customer service nowadays you will have to fly business or better with Singapore and pay through the teeth.Southwest Airlines' customer service is pretty good.They always try at any rate and are usually a pleasant experience for the economy-minded passenger.For crews,they are a real charm to work for.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 00:28
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As fairly common user of air travel, i applaud the crew for taking that decision.
Do i care if my flight is delayed, short answer is "NO". because i know if i have an onward connecting flight, that the airline im travelling with (Mainly BA) will put me on the next availible flight. If its not a connecting flight, then i get to where i need to be a few hours late, It's not the end of the world
It's not the crews fault if they have suffered delays which are beyond there control, so why take it out upon them!

I hate to stereotype, but i wander how many of the passengers on said flight threatened to call there lawyer
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 00:31
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How can any professional airman condone the actions of this crew? They arrived to operate a flight and should, necessarily, have accepted the responsibilities attached to it. The passengers for this flight, angry and antagonistic as they were, became the Captain's responsibility when he arrived to operate the flight. To walk away from the situation was a failure of leadership and can only have helped to diminish the status of flight crew in the eyes of the travelling public and other members of company staff. We pilots are expected to be leaders and are relatively well paid for that expectation. To walk away from the situation that this crew experienced was a disgrace and will only help to accelerate the decline of aircrew perceived status.
Is some kind of empathy with the long suffering passenger too much to ask?
All it would have taken is to stand up, with the lounge microphone. be visible. and say ' I know what you have been through, I am here to help put it right'. You win every time. If you are too scared, tired or indifferent to do that, maybe you are in the wrong profession.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 00:49
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Well said, 777fly...and absolutely correct.
This FD crew should be ashamed of themselves.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 02:14
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My previous employer had a similar incident - in Florida as well as it happens. The crew are two hours late for the scheduled departure at the airport. To get to the aircraft, they have to walk through the departure lounge through the passengers who are miling around the departure gate. One of the pax starts a slow hand clap, the rest follow. Then another pax starts verbally abusing the crew and then another pushes the Captain and trys to start an arguement. The crew have to push their way through the crowd to get to the gate and a very unpleasant incident was prevented by a quick thinking security guard who opened the gate without checking the crew's IDs.

The FO is a friend of mine who told me the Captain was very disturbed by this and couldn't stop shaking for a long time - well into the cruise. I would suggest that this Captain would have been well advised to not fly.

The reason for the delay was that the crew needed minimum rest after a late arrival of their previous sector due to weather. The passengers were told by the ground staff (who checked them all in for the original departure time) that the delay was because "The pilots wanted some more sleep".
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 02:22
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777Fly - Well said.

Nothwithstanding the fact that the PAX were behaving inappropriately - a real leader would have commanded the situation by picking up the PA, explaining what had happened and instructed the PAX to behave properly.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 02:42
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Fact check

Bit of fact checking, or perspective as you may like...

* The crew was late because their inbound flight was late, the gate never bothered to pass that small detail on (they knew);
* Only a few pax booed, the rest shut up;
* Only two crew members (don't know CC or FD) decided to walk, the rest went along for solidarity;
* It was a MIA - NYC flight, for many, enough said. If you're not in the know, imagine your worst pax, filling half the seats, every day, on every flight between MIA and NYC. Flown it many times (as SLF thank god). If I were CC, can't think of a number high enough that'd make me want to work a flight like that. Crew agree so it goes very junior very often, meaning short fuse, less patience, no diplomatic skills...

Not trying to excuse anyone, but...
* Gate should have done appropriate announcement;
* Cattle should have shut up;
* Someone (gate, crew ?) should have called police to round up booeing cattle;
* Flight should not have been canx'd.

Basically, an all around fiasco, but bad pax behavior is definitively the root of this evil.

As for luggage going to LGA instead of JFK, I say lucky them, I would have sent them to ANC but that's just me.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 03:20
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NYC - MIA or vice versa

GTF has hit one on the nose.
Miami flights are despised and avoided by NYC crews, with a fair bit of reason from what I've being told.
That said, this sort of BS goes on all the time and is a result of poor , non existent, management. A proactive step anywhere by gate staff or crew could have saved it but given the shafting airline employees are getting these days I'm not surprised no one stepped up.

Sadly there is more to come.

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Old 10th Jul 2008, 04:29
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Quote: “......and leaving the pax babies to take the train or bus.”

That’s exactly what increasing numbers are doing where they have a choice of surface transport. (I seem to recall that even Capt. PPRuNe himself had to take the train home a year or so ago because the free airline service had vanished!) In the past two weeks we have been hearing about UK’s need for new railway lines. This is because traffic has increased 40% over the past decade to 1946 levels, the highest ever annual number of pax, and is expected to increase a further 30% in the next decade. In the USA three or four decades ago the East Coast shuttle, I believe originally run by Eastern Airlines, on the Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington corridor, was the way to travel. About two years ago it was announced that nearly two thirds of the pax on this corridor were now using the train. Yes, train service has improved in both UK and USA, but a considerable part of this move away from airlines is from customers who have been driven away from the airlines by security and airline staff hassles and endless unexplained waiting. Then there are the pax who have switched to the bus/coach, or use their car as Carrier and Mrs C do. Others are simply not travelling as much or at all.

Do you or do you not want jobs? Carrying on with some of the juvenile attitudes indicated above will only destroy more jobs in the airline industry and further tarnish its already odious reputation. It seems there are some airline dinosaurs, both companies and employees, who are still living in the era of subsidised state owned airlines that prefer to fly empty aircraft on the taxpayers’ money. Things have changed. This industry is no longer exempt from Business 101. You get the attitude you deserve from your customers, whether that is respect or contempt.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 05:13
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You aren't by chance the same puffed up Biggles who famously refused to let any passenger off his airplane at Rome several years ago until someone confessed to smoking in the toilet? I remember he got his just dessert on being arrested and hauled off the aircraft for his rather public-school boy attitude, which is exactly what your immature coments here reminded me of. I am sure not all SLF are graduates, and some may not even be white, and some probably do need a wash, but so what? Their angry response was probably misdirected at the AA aircrew, but your response just shows (yet again) why most of the world's arlines are in so much trouble. Appalling management and conceited aircrew who are too full of their own importance are a great mix......not.
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Old 10th Jul 2008, 05:15
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Do you or do you not want jobs? Carrying on with some of the juvenile attitudes indicated above will only destroy more jobs in the airline industry and further tarnish its already odious reputation.
Also well said.
It would appear to me that some FD crew just don't give a damn, and if that is the case, they are not worthy of being at the pointy end.
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