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United GRU-ORD Divert to MIA to Offload Purser

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United GRU-ORD Divert to MIA to Offload Purser

Old 19th Jul 2009, 21:16
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Thanks didn't realize that - I had taken a flight on an UA Hairbrush down there in May! My statement was true eight weeks ago!
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Old 19th Jul 2009, 21:51
  #82 (permalink)  
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Let's just refresh on the post by The Bartender at the start

The ORD-GRU-ORD trip was the Captain's first trip back to the line after extended sick leave. The Captain has been removed from the remainder of his flying schedule. The Purser who was removed, has NOT been removed from the remainder of her flying schedule.

Draw your own conclusions...
It appears that the airline made its decision. One assumes they knew the facts. No-one has told us he has returned to flying duties.

Command is not about 'just do it because I'm the boss'. This is not about 'challenging' the authority of the Captain. Command is about exercising your authority in a responsible and measured way. It is about leading as a leader and HANDLING situations in a sensible and ratiuonal way. There appears to have been no 'emergency' requiring decisive and dramatic action - a piece of paper, in fact, which is not really required until in Customs at destination, for heaven's sake. By all accounts the purser was acting correctly in terms of company SOPs. On the information I have seen here, the airline's action is indeed correct. This Captain has done a lot of damage to the status of the aircraft commander.

747JJ said
There have been cases that I have been tempted to take similar action with a member of cabin crew.
- I cannot imagine what on earth it could have been to cause you to seriously think about diverting your flights!
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Old 19th Jul 2009, 22:32
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There's not much being said here about the actions (or lack thereof) of the two FOs. Were they fully aware of the situation? And at what point do the experts on here feel they should have become involved?
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Old 19th Jul 2009, 22:42
  #84 (permalink)  
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There's not much being said here about the actions (or lack thereof) of the two FOs. Were they fully aware of the situation? And at what point do the experts on here feel they should have become involved?
I have no knowledge of this incident other than what I've read here. However, assuming they knew what was going on and expressed contrary opinions to the Captain, if he then decided to ignore those opinions, there's not a great deal they could do about it. I would suggest that although the decision which was made may well have been flawed, the course of action taken was safe and to try to prevent that course of action may have jeopardised that. I have no doubt the management will have questioned the FOs in some depth as to their role in the proceedings.

Ultimately though, the commander makes the final decision (right or wrong) and should be able to justify it later. If he can't, he must deal with the consequences.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 00:51
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Pitiful is all I can say. This Captain was lucky the remainder of the crew did not walk off stating lack of duty time. Also, what about minimum FA staffing - one for every fifty paxs? Could have had a real mess, not to mention customs and imigrations.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 00:55
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An update posted today (Sunday, July, 19th) in Kieran Daly's blog on Flight Global:

Unusual Attitude

According to various United sources the captain was on his first trip back after extended sick leave.

About 45min into the flight he asks for a document called the crew declaration. There's a delay because the in-flight service is underway and for various reasons relating to security procedures the female purser eventually ends up pushing it under the door.

Fast forward a bit and the captain apparently ends up yelling at her and still later the cabin crew is suddenly told that the aircraft is about to land at Miami. Nobody really seems to know what is going on and eventually they end up at the gate at Miami with, so I'm told, police, TSA and fire department in attendance.

One way or another the purser ends up on the ground and the aircraft departs for Chicago where it is met by appropriate UAL officials. Captain still off flight duty.

I don't think this has much to do with CRM, though obviously there are some HR and procedural questions that UAL and the FAA will be talking about. But in my view it's just life.
Doesn't really add much, but makes the event even more mysterious.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 03:07
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Taken from another forum:
Given the disruption and cost implications nobody would divert for any other reason than those related to the perception of safety
.
Granted that all the facts aren't known and there may have been extenuating circumstances but on this thread, several seem to be saying or implying that if the Captain diverted to assert his authority, he was justified in doing so.

I understand the Captain's legal and operational authority but it seems obvious that in addition to all his other responsibilities, a Captain is responsible for ensuring crew members do their jobs well. People don't do their best work in an atmosphere of intimidation or feeling that their opinion isn't respected or considered. Megalomaniacs don't make good bosses. A good boss/leader in any field finds a way to bring out the best in people. Expectations of blind obedience (unless it's a safety issue with no time for discussion) don't seem any more reasonable in aviation than they are in any other field.

Although generalizations are dangerous, I suspect that if a poll were taken, a trend might appear based on age and country of origin/culture. However, I don't think many would disagree that an older, experienced Captain with good technical and people skills (along with maturity and common sense) would be the complete package. It seems many PPRuNe contributors would fit that description. Others....not so much.

But I'm just lowly SLF.....so what do I know--just in case anyone wanted to point that out.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 08:54
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The problem is that many people get confused between authority and leadership.


Authority is given to you by your working title of Captain


Leadership are some skills that hopefully your airline would have made sure you had before they upgraded you to Captain. Leadership is the ability to motivate others to follow you towards the achievemt of a goal. Only you can work on your people skills to become a leader.

Obviously this captain lacked leadership this is why he won't fly again.


It is interesting to note that many airlines upgrade FOs to Cpts based on seniority and not on their competence and leadership skills , now they suffer stupid diversions such as this one.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 09:55
  #89 (permalink)  
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It is interesting to note that many airlines upgrade FOs to Cpts based on seniority and not on their competence and leadership skills , now they suffer stupid diversions such as this one.
One would hope in that respect, most airlines follow the example of BA. When you reach the appropriate seniority level, you may apply for a command. If your bid is successful, you do the appropriate courses and if you pass, you get the command.

I hope it isn't automatic anywhere.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 10:19
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Seniority is awful system/process

The whole "seniority" system in Aviation is terrible and should be abolished. Just because someone has been in a particular employer for longer than someone else is no grounds for getting benefits that someone else does not get.
One day I do hope that the Age discrimination police get hold of this and have it abolished.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 10:25
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I'm a senior cabin crew member and have certainly seen a few Captains acting a little irrationally, usually it is about food and drink rather than paperwork though. In the past, I have heard a Captain shouting at a senior (I was guarding the F/D door) because his hot meal wasn't ready yet... But they waited until the duty was finished before they debriefed on the ground.

My question is, though, if a captain begins becoming too irrational (maybe he's been drinking in the toilet, maybe he's having a mild stroke, maybe his wife's in hospital and he's having a breakdown), is there a mechanism in place to stand him down and the F/O take command? I'm not talking mutiny, but perhaps an F/O deciding for 'medical' reasons that the captain is 'incapacitated' and therefore assumes command, even if the Captain feels otherwise?
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 10:59
  #92 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by 747JJ
Cabin crew drinking in the lavatory becoming inebriated and starting a brawl would certainly qualify for considering a diversion rather than continuing. I was there, you where not.
- thanks for your advice - I have only just stopped laughing. I have actually had a 'real life' in which many issues with c/crew have arisen and have been handled in a reasonable and professional manner although I never experienced that - and now I am retired .

The example you quote is ludicrous. Are you suggesting you experienced this and you are putting this forward as an example where you only 'considered' diverting? I see you have no stated flying experience in your profile, so I shall treat your contribution accordingly. Even the newest least experienced airline pilot knows that the example you quoted renders the crew unfit for duty and therefore a landing asap is required.
Originally Posted by 747JJ
There have been cases that I have been tempted to take similar action with a member of cabin crew. Luckily though I've managed to avert such extreme measures but have had some very serious words with these self appointed "Cabin Captains" after and sometimes during the flight.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 11:04
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Originally Posted by boardingpass
My question is, though, if a captain begins becoming too irrational (maybe he's been drinking in the toilet, maybe he's having a mild stroke, maybe his wife's in hospital and he's having a breakdown), is there a mechanism in place to stand him down and the F/O take command? I'm not talking mutiny, but perhaps an F/O deciding for 'medical' reasons that the captain is 'incapacitated' and therefore assumes command, even if the Captain feels otherwise?
Not quite the same, but there was a recent case of a co-pilot needing to be restrained:

Pilot restrained after yelling to God on flight - Telegraph
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 11:23
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As I said, you where not there dear BOAC. Keep laughing, makes you live longer. End of information J.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 12:08
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Uncomfortable image of black and white film.

Having read the whole thread, I am left with an uncomfortable image from a well known movie. It makes me wonder if the Captain in question had any tendency to roll 5/8" ball bearings in one hand and have concerns about ice cream?

As an SLF, I would like to think that is only a movie image. I really do not want someone like that flying my aeroplane.

Roger.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 12:38
  #96 (permalink)  
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It's not for you to decide. You do not know what went on or any of the circumstances. Don't make shoot from the hip judgements. The airline is well able to handle it and will present you with a licensed and proper crew to fly your aeroplanes when you go passenger. It is not for you to presume to chose who is good enough to fly you.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 13:14
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Reply to Rainboe

It's not for you to decide. You do not know what went on or any of the circumstances. Don't make shoot from the hip judgements. The airline is well able to handle it and will present you with a licensed and proper crew to fly your aeroplanes when you go passenger. It is not for you to presume to chose who is good enough to fly you.
I'm not sure that I made a judgement Rainboe - I merely read the thread and many parts of it seem to indicate that the Captain appears to have over reacted somewhat. And I beg to differ - it is for me to presume who is good enough because, if the Captain were to be in the ball rolling, ice cream counting mould, I would be right not to choose such a pilot.

I know airline pilots, I am even related to one of them and they are all strikingly good at dealing with people and reacting with rare prescience. On the evidence presented here, landing that aeroplane other than at its destination does seem a worrying excentricity at the very least. Unless of course the Purser was on fire.

Roger.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 14:07
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There is a website which archives US ATC radio traffic. It would be MOST interesting if someone more techie than I (which is most people) would post a link to the radio traffic which ensued as this event unfolded.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 16:11
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There is a website which archives US ATC radio traffic. It would be MOST interesting if someone more techie than I (which is most people) would post a link to the radio traffic which ensued as this event unfolded.
Here's the site:

ATC Audio Archives | LiveATC.net

However, they do not appear to have a MIA feed at the present time.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 20:17
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finfly, indeed they (the radio transcripts) would.

If this captain materially mis-represented the reason why he was diverting to Miami, then he could be in trouble with the government. (And may already be, if the unverified claim that his pilot's license has been pulled is correct.)

It would seem that explanations of a physically disruptive person interfering or potentially interfering with the crew, or a person exhibiting manifestly suspicious or threatening behavior would warrant the appearance of police and TSA staff (supposedly with guns drawn) at the gate.

An explanation that an insubordinate member of the crew had to be off-loaded in Miami might raise suspicions in ATC that something more sinister was happening on that plane, and this also might warrant police and TSA being at the gate.

Suppose, the captain refused to give a reason, simply stating that he needed to divert to Miami and he would explain when he landed, --would not ATC be suspicious of what was actually happening on this flight and ensure the appearance of police and TSA with guns drawn at the gate?
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