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SWA Captain delays flight for bereaved passenger!

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SWA Captain delays flight for bereaved passenger!

Old 15th Jan 2011, 16:53
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I held a flight for 10 minutes to allow 20 out of 40 school kids to make it and join their group. Fortunately noone wondered why I had a snow delay in August. Luckily we don't use ACARS. Common sense must prevail. Plus, I think the school teacher crying in the forward galley would have passed out if i'd left half her kids in the wrong country. At least that was 1 happy customer.
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Old 15th Jan 2011, 17:13
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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At small airports I've done the same. Agent says everyone is on and we can close the gate and go early. OK. Suddenly there is a cry that 2 of the no-shows have turned up. Can they get on? Of course, they pay my wages. I know what the arrival time will be and it's early, so what's the beef? The pax are more interested in arrival time than departure time. Real world. It's the curse of the web checkin. You do not know if the pax are in the terminal or not, if they've no bags. It is often the same when pax are checked in with bags and not at gate. It can be security check delays. Not their fault. They are in the terminal, so find them. We are the last flight of the day, so no big deal if we are late at destination. It's the end of the day. We are in the customer service industry. Too many of the LoCo's are in the money making business and not the customer service business. It's like the government screwing the voters. They get their money from us; we are the customer. Forget it at your peril. Same with airlines. Our cash comes from the pax and they are voters too. Some managements treat pax like school children and they are the head honchos. It's quite pathetic. You can alwasy put a delay down to congested apron and delayed pushback. It's good to see that some captains are alive and well. It's a shame they are on the way out and tread in fear and become just another 'jobs worth'.
This guy was really lucky he could get to the captain. I saw the orange soap opera where an Italian lady was delayed by M1 traffic and was late at checkin for a flight to her father's funeral. The a/c was still on the ground and well within range for her to board, but the deadline had passed. No discretion from the so called customer service agent. There was no customer service at all. A grieving woman camped in an airport lounge until the next morning. Any of us captains would have taken her. Sadly we are not always asked. Discretion is not in the vocabulary of the ground staff. They live in fear. That is UK: happily on the continent they have a more adult sense of proportion and captains still hold some sway and are consulted. If I say yes or no the onus is on me and they have their backsides covered. In UK it seems even asking the captain is outside the rules. Sad.
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Old 15th Jan 2011, 19:47
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Reminds me of an article I read on t'internet recently regarding good samaritans. It involved a train conductor who held a connecting service that a passenger would have otherwise missed to ensure he could get home to see his dying father.

In the end I believe the connection was delayed for about 25 mins (?) and the only thing that the conductor asked of the passenger was that he do something similar for someone....

This thread has really put a smile on my face!
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Old 15th Jan 2011, 21:04
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I wonder what would the gate agents that are in a hurry to send off a flight would do if they are the ones left behind. Maybe pull their professional ID and ask for a special favor.

Rwy in Sight
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Old 15th Jan 2011, 21:13
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Thanks!

Isn't this what being a Captain is about?
Thank you, Sir, for the reminder.
You have my respect
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Old 15th Jan 2011, 21:38
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Big Fish

You beat me to it and it was his mother and what was also part of the story was the guy had become unhinged due to grief / stress and struggled to believe someone would do that for a complete stranger.

Funny thing is that IF asked most people will happily help out a stranger.
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Old 15th Jan 2011, 22:26
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Given a case like this I'd think that most people would delay their flight. The problem comes when you have connecting passengers or an inflexible slot. Waiting for a late passenger may mean that nobody goes anywhere or that people who have saved for months for a holiday miss their connection and have their holiday ruined. I'll run it to wire if I have to (leaving late, quick taxiing, flying fast etc.) but unless I'm told otherwise, I'll fly to make every connection.

PM
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Old 15th Jan 2011, 22:26
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Not quite the same situation, but eight years ago QANTAS staff went out of their way to make sure that, if it were possible, I would get to my mum in Perth before she died. A ticket was made available for the next day's flight. Amongst other things an inflight message was passed to me by the CSD telling me who was going to be meeting me at the airport (a very good friend of the family) and I was first off the aircraft, escorted through Immigration and Quarantine and my baggage was fetched for me. I was treated with great care, consideration and kindness. They could not have done more to help but sadly, mum died two hours before I landed.
You might imagine that the return trip would be routine, not so. I was booked to return on QF5 via Singapore and Frankfurt. The flight hadn't even left Australia when I landed in Singapore so everyone was being sent to hotels for the night. I remembered a snippet of information from when I had been planning my next trip, which was that I thought the BA flight from Frankfurt to Manchester was the last one until Monday (I was flying to Manchester on Saturday.) The Ground crew checked for me, found this was correct, and promptly started searching for a seat for me to get me home earlier. They also provided me with a phone card so I could let the necessary people at home know. I discovered during the course of my conversation that they felt I had had enough to cope with over the previous week. The staff went out of their way and I found myself on a QF flight to Charles de Gaulle followed by a BA Fruitbat, sorry, BAe 146, to Manchester where I arrived a mere two hours later than scheduled.
As I said, this isn't the same as delaying a flight, BUT, as someone who had had a lot of sadness and stress over the previous few days, it was much appreciated. Please continue to do what you can for those in genuine need, they might not be able to tell you at the time, but it will be appreciated. yes, I did send a letter of appreciation to QANTAS, it was the least I could do.
Speaking as a passenger, I would happily wait for someone who genuinely needed to get somewhere for similar reasons.
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Old 15th Jan 2011, 23:23
  #29 (permalink)  
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PM

No slot times in "The Land of the Free, Home of the Brave". . Except for some hubs, of course.

GF

Last edited by galaxy flyer; 15th Jan 2011 at 23:36.
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 07:33
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There is a small paradox - airlines are interesting in "on-time departure", but the PAX are interesting in "on-time ARRIVAL"!!!
So, if there is no SLOT - in my airline I can delay the flight by not more than 15 min if I can arrive on-time... quite "human friendly"
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 13:30
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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4 yrs back I lost my nephew when he drowned at the family camp. His post mortem, and cremation was in YVR, I immediately contacted the local airline "Air North" due to the large number of family members coming. I was told that anybody coming for the funeral would get a 2 week advance rate. My brother was picking up the Ashes, they held the airplane for 20 minutes. I can't say we would expect anything from the Only other Airline servicing Whitehorse. Given a choice, I always travel on them.
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 17:34
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I too was the beneficiary of outstanding service from Qantas when my terminally ill dad had a turn for the worse, forcing me to get to get from Orlando to Brisbane ASAP. Similarly to DX Wombat numerous staff went out of their way to help me. Their efforts meant I got to spend a few precious hours with him while he was still conscious and be with him when he died that night.
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 17:38
  #33 (permalink)  
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People I know were taking a holiday in NZ and were booked to return to the UK with Air NZ in C. She was already poorly with a terminal condition but then declined unexpectedly quickly and rather dramatically. I'm told the handling was SUPERB and they got seat changes and high quality but 'no-fuss' cabin service to get home.

A few weeks later, the airline enquired after her. On being told that she had died, they sent flowers and card of sympathy hand signed by the Chairman. The family made a donation to a cancer charity in NZ.

Old fashioned service, it can be beaten on price - but on no other level.
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 20:25
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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In this case, and in some of the others that have been written about in this thread, it's clear what the "right" thing to do is.

The problem is, where do you draw the line?

Isn't it possible that someone else who had an emergency at home and was unable to get on a flight because of one delay or another and arrived 5 minutes before the "departure time", and the gate was closed and the plane was backing out, and no-one waited for them, so they got home to their emergency too late, and who knows, their emergency could have been just as important to them as this was to these people?

I am proud to be a human being when other human beings stand up for and do things to help other human beings.

I just wonder how do you know where to draw the line? How much is enough?
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 21:47
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I think this is the "good samaritan" article that "bigfish" is referring to upthread

BBC News - A real Good Samaritan
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 22:29
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Good question, DRS. The best I can offer in response is that people who in their heart know to do the right thing, will instinctively know when the time is right to do so, and how far to take it. As others have said, one needs to be prepared to take the consequences, though that does not generally take priority in the decision-making process.
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 22:34
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This was worth millions in positive publicity and the flight most likely landed on time at destination anyway!
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 22:50
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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I think thats the key, if the flight will still arrive on time, connections arn't missed etc.. Every situation is different but sometimes you know when its right to hang on just that bit longer.

Good thread, human decency is still alive.
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Old 16th Jan 2011, 23:05
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Pilots step up in various ways, all the time. Same for other employee groups.

Next time I'm at the security line, looking for late passengers, maybe I should see if someone will publicize my efforts - "will the Captain for Flight 123 please return to the gate. We have found the passengers."

This sort of stuff happens almost every day. It just doesn't make the news.
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Old 17th Jan 2011, 03:29
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Your call......skipper

I used to ALWAYS say to my crew in situations that needed a little "adjustment" to make em right for gate, passengers, crew, maintenance, schedule....etc..etc...etc.... The job you SAVE, may one day be your own. Everybody seemed to be on the same page after that sunk in.

Back in my days of steam powered airliners, we were ALWAYS doing something that was never discussed outside of the family and everyone (well, most everyone) did what it took to accommodate the situation. I once had 8 jumpseaters stowed in various places on the A/C on christmas eve.

As a matter of fact, I recall many instance during those holidays that stuff like this was done.

the consequences for doing that were just as serious then, but back then pilots were very ballsy and got fired at least once per week from the base chief pilot. Rarely did we take any undeserved **** from anyone.
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