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Captain UA455 removed from flight for "emotional meltdown"

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Captain UA455 removed from flight for "emotional meltdown"

Old 13th Feb 2017, 15:08
  #61 (permalink)  

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Divorce after any length of marriage is a huge stressor.
Yep. My first was after 18 years, and as someone said earlier, the job helped keep my sanity. Not so lucky with the second. The absolute is imminent, after 26 years, and with no job to take the strain, it's not easy. Good luck to the lady, and any others of you out there who are stressing.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 15:54
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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It was being lax about security on domestic flights that lead to 9-11
I would dispute that tbh. Certain items were not restricted at that time, nor were FD doors required to be locked. I may be wrong, but no regulations at that time would have prevented 911. Much changed after that event.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 16:26
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Deep and fast View Post
Companies are heartless bar stardians that why I made this comment.
If more compassion existed in business there would be less fatigue, less mental health issues, less divorce, less etc etc.
But the heartless kings, the accountants are running the show now.
What do you want the companies to do? Have an annual psych eval for pilots? The unions would be up in arms. This issue is combination of protectionism from the unions where their mantra is "no pilot needs to be psych tested regularly " to the companies not wanting to push the issues lest we find out publicly that a large % of pilots have been flying with mental issues bad enough to ground them. That would look smashing the Daily Mail and New York Post headlines.

I have sat next to guys that would keep a team of psychiatrists busy for a week. Ask them if they've considered getting help and they insist they don't have a problem, everyone else in the world is the problem. Have a quick chat with the office and while they know very well the person in question they don't want to take the first step to intervene. Pro standards sees the same people over and over,yet they only want a group hug. It is the elephant in the room up until they show up in civvies and flip flops and crater their career.

The Southwest Captain that took the plane from the FO below 200' and collapsed the nose gear was reported in the NTSB investigation to have been one of the most highly "avoid pairing with" Captains at Southwest. The company had the data but chose not to engage. Her peers were speaking with their bids and directly to the office but it fell on deaf ears.

Unions and management need to advocate adding psychological screening added to the medical. There are far too many future cases out there to keep sweeping mental health under the rug.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 16:31
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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Some of the comments in this thread show a lack of understanding of how stress and a lack of sleep can effect normal people like you. You don't have to have a permanent mental illness to have an episode like this, it can happen to anyone.

I worked with someone for several years who appeared very much in control of their lives and was an outstanding employee. Then one day someone said something relatively harmless and their world fell in. It turned out that they had more going on in their lives then we knew about. A sympathetic employer, a bit of counselling and a break from work and they were back to normal again.

The professionals were keen to point out that the person was no more prone to a recurrence than any other employee. They pointed out that if employers fire people that have such an event then others are less likely to seek help when they find themselves in a similar situation.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 16:31
  #65 (permalink)  
 
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a lot of UA Capt's have had multiple divorces and have never done anything like this. Rule #1 is that when a pilot is under severe stress it is their professional responsibility to walk away from the flight. Your personal life takes a back seat to your responsibility that you have towards the pax. This incident puts a black stain on the profession.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 17:03
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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How would they know she is the "working" captain? She could be dead heading on the jump seat for all they know. Crews are dead heading all the time in the USA.
As a retired major US passenger airline Captain, I know a couple of things about USA airline procedures.... The agent knows if there's a jumpseat rider. The agent has to assign all seats (including the jumpseats) in the computer, for weight and balance if nothing else. Even presuming that the FO pulled up the paperwork, the agent(s) know who is working the flight. Regardless of whether the captain showed up and boarded with the rest of the crew, or boarded late, the agent knows who's going down the jetbridge and where they're sitting... including the Captain's chair.

Last edited by Murexway; 14th Feb 2017 at 00:47.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 17:13
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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Jolly good Murexway. If you're sure that's the case then the question asked of how the Hell did she get that far becomes valid.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 17:32
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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Well, I'm not saying that agents are infallible. They're "supposed" to know who's in which seats and have some idea of who's going down the jetbridge, including crewmembers. But I noticed that United has a current opening for a part-time customer service rep in AUS. The agents are certainly overworked and underpaid. That opening specifies that the agent must be capable of lifting boxes, etc weighing 70 pounds. It's not unheard of that a single agent might be working a narrowbody flight, and if the door was open, this captain could have simply walked down the jetbridge without the agent noticing. So I'm not trying to blame the agent; just saying that the agent should have had some clue that the captain didn't look like a "normal" captain (no pun).

Last edited by Murexway; 14th Feb 2017 at 00:58.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 18:09
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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Apparently the agent tried to stop her from boarding:

The pilot boarded the afternoon flight at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport a bit late — wearing a ball cap and casual clothes.

Straight away, she appeared to get into an argument with crew members at the front of the plane.

From his seat near the back, Chris Moore figured at first that she was just another San Francisco-bound flier. “I thought she was a first-class passenger, complaining,” he told The Washington Post. “Then she grabs the mic.”

Another passenger told Reuters that the pilot asked for a vote on “whether we should have her change into her uniform.”

The passengers gave her a pass. Many found her request endearing, at first.
Randy Reiss, on his way home to San Francisco after a family funeral, was one of them.

“United has always, for me, been a very straight, corporate airline,” he said. “It seemed very friendly, nice, cutesy.”
“Then she said, ‘Sorry, I’m late. I’m going through a divorce.’ And I thought: Uh oh.”

Standing in front of the cockpit, the pilot kept talking over the intercom. Her speech veered into a string of non-sequiturs, and the mood in the cabin turned from cozy to uncomfortable, to worse.

The pilot pointed out two passengers at the front of the plane and noted their race — one black, one white — for reasons that were clear to no one.

The pilot touched on recent politics.
“She’s like ‘I don’t care if you voted for Trump or Clinton. They’re both [expletive],”

“Okay, if you don’t feel safe, get off the airplane, but otherwise we can go,” the pilot said, still sounding cheerful in the video as the first of her passengers began to revolt.

“Disarm the doors,” a flight attendant said.

“She’s not mentally fit to fly,” Reiss remembered telling an attendant as he waited for the door to open, he said. The attendant gave him a knowing look, he recalled, but replied, “She’s been cleared to fly.”

Still watching the drama from his seat, Moore told The Post, he saw an off-duty pilot call the pilot over and try to calm her down — to no avail.

She returned to the microphone and “did more talking,” Moore said. “I think she went into the cockpit.”

He decided to follow Reese toward the exit. So did many other passengers — at least 50, Moore

When she changed the subject to the plane’s imminent takeoff, Reiss began to shake, and another passenger began videotaping the drama.

Reiss was the first to evacuate. He got out of his seat, collected his bag and asked the flight crew to let him off.

He heard one flier yell “Stop!” at the pilot. Others were crying as they streamed back to the terminal.

When he cleared the jet, Moore said, even a gate agent was crying.
The agent told him that she had tried to stop the pilot from boarding, he said, quickly realizing that “the lady was unstable.”

“People were pleading … ‘Please call security,'” he said. “I’m wondering, if we didn’t do something, if the plane was going to take off.”

United Airlines did not respond when The Post asked that question. Nor did the airline say who the pilot was, what became of her, or what policies were in place that had cleared her to fly.

Reiss confirmed that a new pilot took the jet to San Francisco — about 90 minutes behind schedule, though other passengers rebooked through Houston.

Before he re-boarded, Reiss said, he watched police walk the pilot back through the airport. The pilot apologized and hugged him before they parted, he said. She offered to write a book with him.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 18:24
  #70 (permalink)  
 
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uplinker,
Couldn't agree more and perhaps couldn't even talk to her family.

I'd also ask if the Continental merge is a contributor. I've heard a number of UAL crew openly complaining about having to adjust to the Continental culture which they entirely dislike.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 19:49
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by pax britanica View Post
It was being lax about security on domestic flights that lead to 9-11 ,
Originally Posted by Hotel Tango View Post
I would dispute that tbh. Certain items were not restricted at that time, nor were FD doors required to be locked.
Actually, cockpit doors were locked in the U.S. for years before the 9-11 attacks.

Originally Posted by stilton View Post
Divorcing after 28 years is brutal, I know from personal experience.
Originally Posted by tsgas View Post
a lot of UA Capt's have had multiple divorces and have never done anything like this.
Originally Posted by b1lanc View Post
I'd also ask if the Continental merge is a contributor. I've heard a number of UAL crew openly complaining about having to adjust to the Continental culture which they entirely dislike.
I think one or two of us here have experienced divorce, airline mergers and airline bankruptcy. And other life events like the death of a family member.

Like other crewmembers who show up unfit for duty, she is one of us and she needs help. And we must continue to make sure that these colleagues don't fly the plane when they are unwell.

I can think of maybe three cases of these 'emotional outbursts' from coworkers over the years but none were in public. All three pilots kept their jobs as far as I know.

I'm not sure how the Continental culture could be blamed, change is part of any job I would think. And we all talk here and elsewhere about the good old days and how we did it at Brand X. A friend from Continental moans about what a good airline they had until United came along and messed everything up. And, the perfect merged seniority list is the one where everybody is unhappy.

And, if this woman never flies again she's had a better career than many of us. She was hired by United in her 20's as a 747 flight engineer, went to right seat on the 737 and DC-10 and has been in the left seat most of her career on the 727 and A320.

A year ago she tweeted:
May quit [flying] for real job (comedian). No joke.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 19:55
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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Has anybody considered the chance that she boarded in uniform (and maybe even flew a leg) only to land, turn on her phone and see a series of messages from her Husband (or from friends showing evidence of infidelity) in which case she offloaded herself, got changed in the toilet so as not to be seen crying walking throgh the terminal in uniform and as she passed the intercom she snapped? Is that realitic? Seems more likely than making it through security dressed as she is. Baseball haps are good for hiding tears
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 20:03
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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Poor thing.

Divorce isn't that devastating - and certainly not something a SANE pilot should get into meltdown over.

If she can't take the strain she should be nowhere near a commercial aircraft - and that's for her to determine as we all have to day-to-day.

I visit to a shrink is definitely required, rest, and maybe a rethink of her career options.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 20:13
  #74 (permalink)  

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Divorce isn't that devastating - and certainly not something a SANE pilot should get into meltdown over.
Can I take it from that, you have never been divorced? I didn't get into meltdown, but that doesn't prove I'm sane.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 20:13
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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Has anybody considered the chance that she boarded in uniform (and maybe even flew a leg) only to land, turn on her phone and see a series of messages from her Husband (or from friends showing evidence of infidelity) in which case she offloaded herself, got changed in the toilet so as not to be seen crying walking throgh the terminal in uniform and as she passed the intercom she snapped? Is that realitic?
About as realistic as little green men invading her mind and making her do weird things. Supposedly, she divorced in 2015.
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Old 13th Feb 2017, 21:36
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JumpJumpJump View Post
Has anybody considered the chance that she boarded in uniform (and maybe even flew a leg) only to land, turn on her phone and see a series of messages from her Husband (or from friends showing evidence of infidelity) in which case she offloaded herself, got changed in the toilet so as not to be seen crying walking throgh the terminal in uniform and as she passed the intercom she snapped? Is that realitic? Seems more likely than making it through security dressed as she is. Baseball haps are good for hiding tears
To help dispel this "thought". It was the first leg after an overnight in AUS. She flew three legs the day prior.
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Old 14th Feb 2017, 01:02
  #77 (permalink)  
 
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Thought dispelled, I read the rest of page four.
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Old 14th Feb 2017, 01:05
  #78 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Yep. My first was after 18 years, and as someone said earlier, the job helped keep my sanity. Not so lucky with the second. The absolute is imminent, after 26 years, and with no job to take the strain, it's not easy. Good luck to the lady, and any others of you out there who are stressing.
Not any more fun the second time.... Good Luck
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Old 14th Feb 2017, 01:27
  #79 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
She's been with United since the late 1980's according to my sources. That would put her in the early EEOC hires with the Frasca trainer interview at Stapleton.
Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
And, if this woman never flies again she's had a better career than many of us. She was hired by United in her 20's as a 747 flight engineer, went to right seat on the 737 and DC-10 and has been in the left seat most of her career on the 727 and A320.
Sounds like another affirmitive action winning hire.

Remember the Fedex DC-10 crash with their equivalent hire.

I know...I'm the bad person.
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Old 14th Feb 2017, 02:47
  #80 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JammedStab View Post
Sounds like another affirmitive action winning hire.
Well, she was hired at a time when United was under the gun from a 1976 court decree in a case filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a 'diversity' agency of the federal government.

United had committed to a 'double quota' hiring strategy to increase diversity and was sued in 1988 by the EEOC for not being compliant with the earlier ruling:

In a motion filed with Senior U.S. District Court Judge Hubert F. Will, the EEOC charged that United failed to hire minority and female pilots at twice the percentage of qualified applicants, as it had agreed to do in 1976.

An EEOC spokesman said that if 10 percent of pilot applicants in a given year were women, United had agreed that 20 percent of the applicants hired would be women.

The agency contends that the selection criteria that United used discriminated against blacks, other minorities and women.

The EEOC is asking for job offers, back pay and retroactive seniority for those not hired, said the spokesman. In addition, it wants sanctions to force the airline to comply with the decree in the future.
Eeoc Hits United Hiring Plan - Chicago Tribune

As a result of the 1988 suit, United accelerated diversity hiring and adjusted requirements to more aggressively promote inclusivity. Separate interview programs were set up at the old Stapleton airport offices for so called 'EEOC' class (a legal term from an earlier lawsuit) applicants.

Technical knowledge tests were abandoned since some groups did poorly due to cultural bias and lack of educational opportunities.

The skills evaluation ride was no longer given in an airliner sim because that gave people with large plane flying experience an unfair advantage. Instead a little Frasca trainer desktop box with a Cessna type panel was used for the evaluation.

Pilot hiring manager Nancy Stuke published separate sets of average experience levels of successful EEOC and non-EEOC applicants.

Inevitably, some folks with very low experience levels were hired in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Of course, we all started somewhere and after a few thousand hours, you either get it or you don't.

I believe the captain in this incident probably had at least a few hundred hours of flight time, much of it in the family's 1947 Luscombe, and a commercial license when she was hired circa 1989. Also, quite possibly her father knew UAL V.P. of Flight Ops Hart Langer from the Pan Am days which may have helped.
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