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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, 05:17
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Crew refuses to take off due to "hostile work environment"

After an American Airlines crew arrived at the gate for their flight from MIA to LGA more than an hour late, they received boos and jeers from impatient, waiting passengers. It got so bad, the crew, citing a "hostile work environment," decided not to take off, and after two more hours and a failed attempt to find another crew, the airline canceled the flight.

MyFox New York | American Airlines Cancels Flight Due to Hostile Passengers
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 05:27
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Good I say. It's about time that these numty yobbo pax got a bit of come-uppance. I for one am sick and tired of people thinking that a plane ticket is a license to be abusive to ground staff and aircrew. Complaining respectfully is one thing but booing and jeering is mob mentality.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 05:28
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Look for the 'we demand justice!' articles in the NYC media next.

I've operated that leg a few times, the pax have shall we say, a certain feeling of entitlement.

Equally, the American crews were not long ago God's Gift to Aviation and they face the next round of pay cuts and furloughs now being sugar coated by the unions.

Probably a good thing the flight was canx'ed.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 05:36
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I support the crew 100% on this - do the same people boo, jeer and become abusive with their doctor or lawyer when they are kept waiting? I suspect not, and are we not also professionals, just like them?
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 05:48
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The thing that bugs me about this story is noone is reporting why the crew was not there on time - it says they all arrived 1h45m late which says to me that they probably worked a delayed flight and got there as soon as they could or had reduced rest or something - it is very rare for an entire crew to show up that late from the overnight for no good reason. But I bet the gate just told the waiting passengers that the flight was delayed because the crew was late without telling them why. This happens all the time. I went in on a day off recently to cover a trip for another captain who's previous leg cancelled at an outstation because of the lengthy flow time to ORD would have duty timed them out. The gate agent had just told the passengers that the captain was running late and I got all kind of rude comments when I showed up as if I was somehow to blame for sleeping in too late... that's not the first time that has happened either.
The best part of the story though is that the folks eventually got to LGA but their bags went to JFK! Priceless...

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Old 9th Jul 2008, 06:02
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Nice Weasil, nice.

It has often seemed odd how many gate agents gladly make vague or misleading comments about flightcrew, especially when Crew Scheduling 'up there' delayed calling somebody at home, or the managers continuously refuse to staff enough 'reserve people' at crewbases.

A last-minute switch to a larger jet can require one extra crewmember because it has over 100 or 150 seats.
How I envy those Fedex crews who can fly mostly during the daytime.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 06:28
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Not to be forgotten, of course, is the fact that the APA has demanded from the company a 53% pay rise for FD crew.

One wonders....was this a possible slow-down by the crew concerned to 'teach the company a lesson?'
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 06:43
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One wonders....was this a possible slow-down by the crew concerned to 'teach the company a lesson?'
Whatever the reason, it is not to the PAX to be booing or whatever when the crew showes up.

This is not a themepark's rollercoaster ride, nor a rockconcert or a beer tent.

It is going blasting through the stratosphere close to the speed of sound in a little tin foil, mostly filled with kerosine.

Good choice of that crew...

Nic
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 07:14
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No criticism of the crew actions. However, from a SLF prospective, it is very frustrating to be kept in the dark about any delay. An honest announcement from the gate staff would pacify just about any situation.

Unfortunately we all hear “delay due to the late arrival of the incoming aircraft” or “the operating crew are delayed at security checks” so often that frustrations do build up.

Personally, I’ve never heard an operating crew booed and find it quite hard to believe this is anything but an unfortunate and rare incident.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 07:24
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Good on the crew.

I would like to think that I too would have turned around and walked off refusing to carry this rabble.

Who the hell do they think they are?

When they (the pax) inevitably turned up (eventually) for their business meeting did their peers, colleagues or clients boo them?

Did their spouse's / kids abuse them?

That bunch of yobs deserved to have to take the train or Greyhound bus.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 07:27
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It's about time the passengers started reacting to these totally unacceptable delays. They pay your wages and hopefully make the airline a profit. It's about time they were stopped being treated like cattle and the airlines forced to pay compensation for late departures, after all it's their fault by not having sufficient spares about , both aircraft and liveware.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 07:33
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As a point of clarification, anyone know whether it was the FD crew or the cabin crew that said they wouldn't fly? Or a joint call?

Sounds like it was a good call, though. Just have to read between the lines of some of those pax being interviewed........

This industry is going to hell in a hand-basket in so many ways and it's time professionals put their feet down. Well done, that Captain.

And green granite, you are precisely the type of selfish individual we don't want on our aircraft. We don't want your money. Would you verbally abuse your doctor if he kept you waiting? Verbally abuse the check-out chick in the supermarket when management put insufficient staff on and the queues stretch for miles? Abuse the bus driver when he's late following traffic jams? Tell me why aircrew should tolerate your drivel when other professionals don't! If you have a bitch, then take it up with airline management. DON'T take it out on the front-line staff trying to keep the show on the road. Disgraceful.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:06
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"It's about time the passengers started reacting to these totally unacceptable delays. They pay your wages and hopefully make the airline a profit. It's about time they were stopped being treated like cattle and the airlines forced to pay compensation for late departures, after all it's their fault by not having sufficient spares about , both aircraft and liveware."

green granite you are right in what you say. I would question why the company could not provide a crew for the scheduled time of departure. Therein lies the true situation.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:10
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While I can possibly understand the pax reaction based on past experience from ground crews in the US (especially when a flight is delayed, vague announcements make it exceptionally annoying), I do not under any circumstance condone what they did.

I wouldn't want to fly a bunch of hostiles like that for a medium-range flight either. Although, it's the c/c who get it in the neck.

The vague announcements problem is not limited to US airlines though - We had the same problem on a BCN-LHR flight before, and (if you search through my past posts, you'll find my thank-you note to the crew that day) the captain was very apologetic and explained why they were delayed by an hour when everyone was strapped in and ready for departure.

Of course, flight crew can fight fire only so far, and if they get no cover at all from the ground crew, things like this riot are the result.

Good riddance to the rude b******s... it's time that passengers are also told that they can't behave like a bunch of yobs.

S.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:26
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And green granite, you are precisely the type of selfish individual we don't want on our aircraft. We don't want your money.
Good because I wouldn't want to fly with any airline who's staff has such an arrogant attitude. Being on time is something called customer service, a concept that might come as a shock to you and one you obviously couldn't care less about.

Would you verbally abuse your doctor if he kept you waiting? Verbally abuse the check-out chick in the supermarket when management put insufficient staff on and the queues stretch for miles? Abuse the bus driver when he's late following traffic jams? Tell me why aircrew should tolerate your drivel when other professionals don't! If you have a bitch, then take it up with airline management. DON'T take it out on the front-line staff trying to keep the show on the road. Disgraceful.
I always complain about poor and shoddy service,vociferously or otherwise, if one doesn't then things will never improve. This attitude that the customer is pond life and can be treated as such is also disgraceful.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:27
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Originally Posted by green granite
It's about time the passengers started reacting to these totally unacceptable delays. They pay your wages and hopefully make the airline a profit. It's about time they were stopped being treated like cattle and the airlines forced to pay compensation for late departures, after all it's their fault by not having sufficient spares about , both aircraft and liveware.
Its about time passengers stopped shoving used nappies in the seat pockets.
Its about time passengers stopped shoving used sick bags in the seat pockets.
Its about time passengers stopped dropping garbage all over the cabin floor.
Its about time passengers stopped coming on board pissed.
Its about time passengers stopped abusing airline crew.
Its about time passengers took a bath.

Its about time passengers realised that their cheap fares are part funded by eroded pay and conditions of airline staff. They pay cattle truck prices, so they get a cattle truck to travel in.

How about the crew booing and jeering late passengers on board.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:34
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This is all getting a bit heated! I can see both sides here, I think it unlikely that the crew turned up late without good reason, delayed inbound positioning, FTL, lots of possibilities. As for the passengers, they were obviously not kept informed, and showed their frustration, albeit inappropriately and probably aimed at the wrong people (nothing new there, poor old Cabin Crew always get it in the neck).
Were they right to refuse to operate? Unless we were there it is hard to say.
I usually find a few well chosen words of apology/explanation on the PA after boarding calms things down, and I generally ask them not to take out their frustrations on the Cabin Crew. This normally suffices, as people feel better once they know they are actually going somewhere (except for the odd gobby pillock that is too dim to understand the realities of modern air travel), but it does sound like this bunch had been wound up a treat and the mood may have been very ugly.
Don't think we know enough to condemn the crew for this decision.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:35
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I fully understand the sentiments of the crew. Last year I operated back from Milan after arriving more than 3 hours late in the previous evening due to a technical fault at base. Upon arrival the Airport Manager was contact in order to reschedule the departing morning flight so that we could have legal minimum rest (after reducing our time at the hotel to the absolute legal minimum).

The following morning, on a remote stand with buses, the first pax through the door made a sarcastic comment about 'did you sleep well then?'. After further investigation it transpired that the flight had NOT been rescheduled, the gate staff had been told that we overslept and, with great glee, they actually informed the Pax that that was the reason for the delay.

Subsequently we refused to depart until we had briefed the passengers on the real reason for the delay and then we refused to depart until the airport manager came on to the aircraft and apologised to the passengers over the PA for misleading information. After much arguing and a thorough flick through the manuals explaining to this moron that we can't have 6 hours off then fly again with a 1 hour taxi ride each way, he made his PA.

To their credit, at that point the passengers we very understanding. The gate staff had only been doing what they were told it was ultimately the Airport Managers poor communication that caused a possibly explosive situation. If we don't stand up to these to$$ers then we only have ourselves to blame.


It's about time the passengers started reacting to these totally unacceptable delays. They pay your wages and hopefully make the airline a profit. It's about time they were stopped being treated like cattle and the airlines forced to pay compensation for late departures, after all it's their fault by not having sufficient spares about , both aircraft and liveware.
Ironically I think you will find that most flight crew agree wholeheartedly that delays are annoying and a dreadful inconvenience. We try our absolute best every day, every flight to get the flight away on time. Unfortunately this is not like the military where we can fly outside of General Air Traffic rules hence we are dependent upon a vast multitude of factors coming together. Airport space is a costly premium, just about no airline has stores on the field these days, the space is taken up with shops and terminals. Runways are at full to bursting capacities, miss your slot because the tug was late? Back of the queue for the next slot. Short of staff at Brussels? Reroute to avoid horrendous slot delays adding 30 minutes on to the flight time, arrive 35 minutes late but better that 4 hours. Should we still be publicly harangued? These factors are what we juggle EVERY DAY. Not once or twice a week or once or twice a month. So when you take umbridge at staff just remember they have seen your complaints many, many times and, whilst they may be valid to you and to us, there is little we can do about it until our creaking infrastructure is modernised. But of course we can't do that without a 15 year planning application and a war from the Green brigade.

Last edited by wobble2plank; 9th Jul 2008 at 08:52. Reason: Extra rant required
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:36
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I very strongly believe the pax anger these days is in no small portion attributable to the hiding of the management.

Pax already arrive stressed and angered at the gate simply because they travel often and have already been frustrated many time before by delays and cancellations without proper information. So they're anticipating the worst and the adrenalin already starts flowing before they are at the gate....

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
or
flight is due to depart .... min late due to .........

And ensuring through an information SYSTEM that this information is honest and complete and accurate

This nonsensical approach of delaying information to the pax, then providing partial or false information all contributes to pax anger.

I strongly believe it is the bad information that pisses off pax more than the delays
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 08:45
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many years ago, myself and my wife were travelling as SLF man - lca with caledonian airlines. it was july, peak season here in the UK and everywhere was busy. at check-in we were advised that there was going to be a 12 hour delay due to the flight that the aircraft was doing before ours still had to go to greece and back again. they said day hotels would be provided, and to come back to the check in area in about 3 hours to catch the coaches to the airport. being in the travel industry, and knowing that if an aircraft was delayed then there was an obvious reason for it, i just accepted it. hey, i mean, i would rather get on a plane 12 hours late knowing that if there was any problems with it then it had been fixed, rather than getting on the plane on time and hoping for the best. unfortunately, the other passengers were not as considerate, and started screaming and shouting at the ground crew (who from recollection were not employees of the airline, only ground agents). 3 hours later we went to meet the coaches, and were told they thought they had found another aircraft for us, but wouldnt know for 45 mins. we were all given more vouchers for food and told to come back in another hour. when we went back, yes they had found another aircraft but no crew to fly it. we were all then shipped to the hotel for the rest of the day. even at the hotel bar (bearing in mind everyone on the flight was going on a package holiday) where people were starting to get 'tanked up', there was still a lot of bad mouthing of the airline, complaints and groans both to the handling agents who were there and to the hotel staff.

12 hours later, we were all eventually shipped back to manchester and finally boarded the original aircraft we were due to fly on. again, people still up in arms with the ground agents and now the cabin crew. then, the captain came on. he courtiously apologised for the delay, and said it had not been a good weekend for them either. he then went on to explain that a car / minibus carrying caledonian crew had been involved in a very serious accident whilst transferring to gatwick airport (i think) which killed from memory at least 1 crew member, if not more, and the remaining very seriously injured and this resulted in the aircraft being short of crew.

needless to say, the entire aircraft (approx 350 pax - L1011 Tristar) went into an earpiercing silence. i dont think i heard 1 single groan about the delay after that.
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