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USA Today: UA forcibly remove random pax from flight

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USA Today: UA forcibly remove random pax from flight

Old 13th Apr 2017, 08:15
  #741 (permalink)  
 
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Although ground staff and Police are usually quite good at their jobs, if a passenger is to be removed the Captain should hold a two minute meeting with those involved to set expectations about how the removal will be conducted and set a clear expectation that another meeting will be held prior to using any form of physical coercion.
I imagine the Captain involved just assumed everyone would do their job in a professional manner and it didn't turn out that way.
I'll take a punt that the Captain was occupied doing the job that he is primarily employed for, pre-departure checks, maybe ground staff in the flight deck with LMC's to the loadsheet, minus 4 punters, plus 4 of god's gift plus 4 bags etc. etc. etc.

I'll take another punt that the punters selected to be kicked off were hand baggage only and didn't have any bags in the hold!
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 08:57
  #742 (permalink)  
 
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How is it plausible that the E170's CVR from the 9th could have been over-written already ... ?

I find this claim from a less reputable forum a little hard to believe, but will stand corrected.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 09:02
  #743 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by framer View Post
if a passenger is to be removed the Captain should hold a two minute meeting with those involved to set expectations about how the removal will be conducted and set a clear expectation that another meeting will be held prior to using any form of physical coercion.
Nice in theory but certainly in my experience it doesn't generally work like that, even outside the states. I've had a few incidents onboard where UK police have had to meet the aircraft on arrival and I also have a colleague who was caught up in a sit-in/demo....again in the UK. In all cases the police arrived, wanted a brief brief as to WTF was going on, and most definitely didn't want a brief as to how to handle it..... they basically then ordered the captain and crew to keep out of the way ........ IMHO best you can do in those circumstances is then act as a witness.

I imagine the Captain involved just assumed everyone would do their job in a professional manner and it didn't turn out that way.
Agreed.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 09:04
  #744 (permalink)  
 
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Why weren't the gate agents empowered to offer a better deal?
Some are blaming it on Smisek and the Continental merger.

Many times someone has said that this will be a "classic Harvard Business School Case Study". Of course, that's how we got here in the first place. Revenue can be quantified. One pissed-off passenger? Not quantifiable.
Control everything that you can quantify, and you'll get the best economic performance. You'll also have flight crews that are fatigued and underpaid, and subject to last-minute disruptions of their life and health, inflexible union regulations (because, if allowed to bend, they'd only ever bend one way), demoralized gate agents with no incentive to go out of their way, and airport security officers who aren't paid enough to care.
Not quantifiable, and if there were a way to quantify it, it wouldn't be done, since nobody gets a bonus for showing the hidden costs of business as usual, and someone might even be held liable for knowingly abusing people that way.

Why are US airlines turning a massive profit? It ain't from flying planes; it's the loyalty programs. Now, there are many reasons for this, but for many people, if they can choose an airline, being treated with respect matters a lot more than the absolute lowest price.

Incidentally, my understanding was that this is the problem that Mr. Muñoz was brought in to solve: consumer dissatisfaction with United is extremely high. A lot of hate has been rained on his second statement, the one addressed to United employees in which he said that he stood by them. He's supposed to do that. He's also supposed to fix a system where management has nickle-and-dimed everyone's discretionary margin to the point that employees are enslaved to procedure and clients revolt.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 09:28
  #745 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by robdean View Post
There are a few captains on this thread whose approach is 'the captain has absolute authority, all must obey instantly and if failure to obey gets you a blooded face, so be it'. There are excellent operational reasons for captains' authority, and the last thing they need is regulation or statute which complicates or curtails it.
Well that raises an interesting question. There have been a few cases well-reported in the press where pax have been removed for - bluntly - 'flying while Muslim'. "A passenger saw someone sitting near them reading something in Arabic and became concerned..." - and the upshot on a few occasions has been a captain requiring the Muslim passenger to disembark.

I think the authority of the captain when the doors are open at the gate is far from absolute. Indeed as an employee of the airline they are obliged to follow and enforce the airline's conditions of carriage. Those of United are here; I've linked directly to the section which lists permissible grounds for offloading.

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...age.aspx#sec21

I see nothing in the relevant section (21) which lists "passenger who someone else is concerned about on entirely specious ground" as being a permissible reason for offloading. So a captain who tried that could well receive a metaphorical slap in the face from a well-informed passenger armed with a copy of the conditions of carriage.

And also be in noted there is nothing there permitting the offloading of ticketed and confirmed passenger in order to accommodate someone - such as an employee - who is neither ticketed nor confirmed.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 09:59
  #746 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by unworry View Post
How is it plausible that the E170's CVR from the 9th could have been over-written already ... ?

I find this claim from a less reputable forum a little hard to believe, but will stand corrected.
Most modern solid-state CVRs store 2 hours of recording.

Given that the aircraft in question flew (eventually) to Louisville, and then the following day operated 4 sectors with a total scheduled block time of over 8 hours, it seems perfectly reasonable to expect it to have been long since overwritten.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 11:02
  #747 (permalink)  
 
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The interesting question appears to be whether an instruction from the aircraft crew not related to safety or other requirements in the CoC is legal if it involves a breach of contract?

I was once bumped off a flight from LAX to LHR after I had sat down in Business with a glass of champagne. Given $250 cash, a voucher for meal in a posh restaurant in LA, a First Class ticket on a redeye to New York and a First Class from JFK to LHR on the morning flight, free telephone calls, and got home 12 hours later than I would have done. Plus F class frequent flyer miles......

That was back in the mid 1990's though, on American.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 11:13
  #748 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by radeng View Post
The interesting question appears to be whether an instruction from the aircraft crew not related to safety or other requirements in the CoC is legal if it involves a breach of contract?
Agreed.

This is why you absolutely buy pax out of the contract using cash.

This could silence captains authority in non-safety related matters, create some case law, change policies etc.

(I think this would be a good thing, as it would mean an airline ticket is worth more than 'we'll get you there, we just don't guarantee when')
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 11:23
  #749 (permalink)  
 
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I'll take a punt that the Captain was occupied doing the job that he is primarily employed for, pre-departure checks, maybe ground staff in the flight deck with LMC's to the loadsheet, minus 4 punters, plus 4 of god's gift plus 4 bags etc. etc. etc
I've got a reeaal simple view of what I'm primarily employed for, to do what is necessary to keep my crew, passengers, aircraft and cargo from coming to any harm. If I can fly them efficiently and on time to their preferred destination then that's great, if not, no problem as long as I achieve the primary goal.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 11:25
  #750 (permalink)  
 
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Unworry

There is nothing on the CVR after two hrs.
It designed to erase after 2 hrs, always.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 11:44
  #751 (permalink)  
 
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This didn't occur by accident, force was called for and applied to a contractual partner of UA, subsequent to a contract dispute.

Captain's mistake was calling/authorizing call for law enforcement - ie. calling for force. He had other options among which refusing the United deadheaders, or calling a mech malfunction and reboarding after emptying the plane. Ultimately the Captain is the authority who demanded that force be applied to this passenger.

The rent-a-cops may get fired because they stepped into a civil dispute outside their remit, although their job profile should allow them to say "we followed orders". The Captain is supposed to be smart enough to understand the consequences of unleashing gorillas on a physician - he deserves to be blacklisted by all US hospitals, exactly like a dsiruptive passnger would be placed on a no-fly list.

As for United's President, he certainly made a case for most jobs being done equally well -equally badly- by robots
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 11:47
  #752 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
This is the USA. There are a number of such executive charter operators operating out of O'Hare itself.
Yes, I appreciate that. But I was allowing for the possibility that a short-nitice charter flight couldn't go directly from O'Hare to Louisville because the runway slots weren't available (I don't actually know, but I doubt you could get a light twin slot out of LHR at 20 mins notice). So I was suggesting that a better contingency plan would be to have call-off contracts with charter operators at the many far less busy GA airports in both areas.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 11:48
  #753 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DingerX View Post
(..) You'll also have flight crews that are fatigued and underpaid, and subject to last-minute disruptions of their life and health, inflexible union regulations (because, if allowed to bend, they'd only ever bend one way), demoralized gate agents with no incentive to go out of their way, and airport security officers who aren't paid enough to care. (..)
That's exactly what we've seen stated here by some of the more "assertive" posters: they appear to lack the energy to bend the rulebook, even though it all points to nonsensical way of solving an unattended problem thrown at them.
They are so tired at the end of the day, that they couldn’t care less, and take refuge in the standard way of doing business. “TERRAIN TERRAIN - PULL UP!”
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 11:52
  #754 (permalink)  
 
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Why would you bother with call-off contracts ( you'd have to audit them regularly as well) when the whole thing can be fixed by offering a few hundred bucks to the pax to voluntarily disembark? It's cheap.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 12:01
  #755 (permalink)  
 
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What evidence is there that the crew of the contract flight was complicit in all this?

I would have expected the United gate agents made most decisions and called for help from the Airport Police.

any confirmed facts on this ?
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 12:08
  #756 (permalink)  
 
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@ Claybird

That also means that the matter can - and should, in my humble opinion - be pursued (on different level, that of passenger liability) based on federal statutes involving disregarding commands by federal officers, declining to act upon crew instructions and disrupting interstate commerce by keeping the aircraft on the ground because of said actions.
Now that's funny. Have you had a few drinks tonight?


@ Airbubba

Looks like the attorneys are going after the CVR on the plane. Remember the naïve days when we were told that it could only be used for safety purposes?
Maybe moot in this case since the plane has probably operated several sectors since Sunday.
So a pax injured to the point of requiring hospital treatment while on board a flight - albeit plane parked at gate. If the CVR could shed any light on the events leading up to the incident, should not the CVR have been quarantined?
I'm pretty sure his aviation lawyers will know the 2 hour limit. But this "discovery" will add a bit more intrigue and public interest.


@ Gauges and Dials

Particularly with regard to the belligerent attitude we now seem to encourage in everybody from shopping mall parking attendants to airline gate agents, all in the name of "security" of course.
Exactly. All sorts of people all round the world have been tramping on the memory of the 9/11 victims by citing "security" to win petty arguments. That is an abuse to the memory of the victims.
We all understand the need for security - frustrating though it can be at times. We all accept that someone who genuinely tries to antagonise or avoid legitimate security measures deserves to be denied passage. If you don't want to be screened, then walk.
However we all know that this has become a frequent, simple and all-too convenient out for people trying to defend an otherwise indefensible and arbitrary position. We have all met this aviation employee. Critically, the defendants lawyers will be well aware that every judge and every juror has also met this employee.


@ rotornut

Statement of Claim:
Pilot in Command of Aircraft; United Airlines; Oscar Munzos CEO of United Holdings Inc.; Chicago Airport Police.
Yep, everyone was going to be joined in this action.

You want to have ultimate authority and "nothing happens without my approval" and "my word is law".... Thats fine. But responsibility always goes hand in hand with authority.

The PIC does have substantial power and authority. No question. The PIC also enjoys the respect of 99% of pax - thats still true even today. But this power and authority does really relate to safe operation of aircraft, comfort and safety of pax..... And I think some pax would be concerned about some of the attitudes displayed here.
In all walks of life, there are limits to power and authority. And you can always be called to account if someone thinks there has been an abuse of this.
Look at LEO. They have authority to use "reasonable force", and are frequently called to account over whether force used was reasonable or excessive.


@ b1lanc

It was reported that some passengers with small children refused to re-board the flight, and took travel vouchers from United for a later flight. Thus the flight 3411 departed two hours later, with EMPTY SEATS.
Class action coming from other pax on the flight.
You just couldn't make this up could you? Yep there will be a large class action over this event.


@ piper driver

"This can happen very easily in large organizations. The process becomes the proxy for the result you want. You stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you're doing the process right.”
Yep. Always follow process and present a small target. If the outcome is bad, then the process or system (designed by someone else) is wrong and you can't be blamed.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 12:11
  #757 (permalink)  
 
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IMHO pilots and gate agents don't get along too well, and if the gate agents were in fact responsible for this event (and having the authority to do so), what can the PIC do if not to step aside and let them have it their own way.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 12:27
  #758 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Ranger One View Post
Additionally this won't just be a civil suit. See my post up the page; they're likely to face regulatory/criminal action for their breach of CFRs. They're unlikely to be able to pay that away.
In the UK the actions of the police would be independently investigated outside of any civil law suit. When law enforcement resolve situations by force and people get hurt they should have to account. It is the part of the contract with the public that supports them when they do have to legitimately hurt people.

It is hard to see anyway that Chicago Police or UAL are going to escape this especially with the publicity hungry reptiles on The Hill
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 12:37
  #759 (permalink)  
 
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On the CVR discussion I don't think they could use it and not because of the 2 hour loop.

I don't know how it works on this type of aircraft but if it is sitting at the gate, door opened is the CVR actually recording?

On some aircraft I have flown for the CVR to start recording the door must be closed and the beacon to be "ON", on some others it starts recording only on engine start up.
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Old 13th Apr 2017, 12:43
  #760 (permalink)  
 
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Captain's mistake was calling/authorizing call for law enforcement
Have I missed something ... Where has it been quoted that it was the Captain that called the cops?

In my experience when there has been trouble down the back, and "yes" I have been involved in overpowering a disruptive passenger on board an in-flight DC10, the flight crew have well and truly locked themselves in the flight deck even if they are peeping through the peep hole to find out what the **** is going on down the back.
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