Air Rage in the (Un)Friendly Skies—What’s Going On?

Air Rage in the (Un)Friendly Skies—What’s Going On?

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Many of you have been asking for my take on the whole United debacle. I’ve spoken a bit about it on our sister channels (Facebook at and Twitter at, and I’ll keep my thoughts brief here, as I’m sure we’re all getting a bit of United-bashing-burnout.

While mistakes were certainly made all around, I do want to emphasize a couple items:

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  • The actual carrier was Republic Airlines, a United affiliate (a regional feeder bearing the United name).
  • The parties that actually performed the “forced re-accommodation” were members of the Chicago Police Department, and are now on suspension pending investigation.
  • The plane was apparently not overbooked, but full. At the last minute, another crew was needed to deadhead (fly in the back) in order to pick up another flight that would have otherwise go un-crewed and cancel. This sometimes happens at the last minute due to another crew “timing out,” re-routes for weather, mechanicals…any kind of issue that might necessitate such a deadhead—and not necessarily due to “poor planning.”
  • Crews deadheading to further an airline schedule are in fact allowed by law to bump paying passengers.
  • The opposite is true for crews simply commuting to/from work, or for pleasure. They fly “standby,” and ONLY get on if there is an empty seat AFTER all paying passengers have been accommodated.
  • 18010051_10212969116249694_7920268657433567387_nAll airlines tend to “overbook,” because there is always a “no-show” factor; and an empty seat is lost revenue. It is simply sound business practice.
  • While Dr. Dao may be looking at a mighty golden payoff from United (or perhaps Republic), it’s always best to adhere to a crewmember’s instructions, as is required by law. And, when it comes to Law Enforcement, disobeying an order is downright foolish. Comply first, complain and sue later.
  • Dr. Dao was taken forcibly off the plane, but somehow escaped authorities and ran back down the jetway and onto the plane. This is a serious breach of aviation safety, akin to rushing the TSA checkpoint. If so, authorities would have all kinds of justification to take him into custody, one way or another. While the violent “re-accommodation” incident apparently happened before this, it may damage his case, as he may face Federal felony charges.
  • By some reports, the deadheading crew that eventually replaced the re-accommodated passengers were harassed and verbally abused by the passengers around them. While everyone on board would be understandably upset by the ordeal, it’s important to note that none of the crew had anything to do with the debacle. They were merely doing their job, going where their company told them to go. Completely innocent…

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I’d like to end by reminding everyone to TREAT YOUR CREW WITH COMMON COURTESY. They are not out to get you. They are merely doing their job, which is to get you to Point B as safely and pleasantly as possible. They don’t want trouble any more than you do, but they are REQUIRED BY LAW to enforce FAA safety regulations. While they may sometimes seem like “gestapo,” they are simply enforcing those rules—lest THEY get fined for allowing an infraction. They are decent people simply doing their job and wanting to go home, just like you.

Air Rage in the (Un)Friendly Skies—What’s Going On?

UA meme 1 Blogs, Blog Buddies...and United's (Un)Friendly Skies?Oh, and, while were at it, remember United’s “LeggingsGate” the week before? To refresh the memory, a couple of gals were denied boarding for wearing leggings—while another was allowed aboard. Social media anger ensued, perhaps stoking the embers for the Dr. Dao conflagration.

Well, here’s the rest of the story: the gals denied were “nonrev” passengers flying on a Buddy Pass (an employee’s pass privilege), which requires a strict dress code, as the nonrev is considered to be a representative of the airline. The gal allowed on was a paying passenger—i.e., no dress code, other than “decent.” By the way, a similar incident had happened on American Airlines a couple years earlier, to two nonrevs wearing hoodies in First Class; it was quickly turned into a race issue, which couldn’t be farther from the truth: Nonrevs in First Class must wear Business attire.

Air Rage in the (Un)Friendly Skies—What’s Going On?

Late Addendum

This just in on 4/22.

Of course, Common Courtesy works both ways . . . 

AA confrontation

Apparently another altercation, this time on American, involving a Flight Attendant and several upset passengers, including a mother holding a baby.

According to a passenger who videoed the incident, the flight attendant “violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby,” Adyanthaya posted to Facebook. “Then he tried to fight a passenger who stood up for her.”

Again, the video shown does not show the original issue that created the altercations, but several parties are obviously upset. American Airlines was quick to react, hoping to avoid another United-like PR nightmare. Apparently, the upset mother was politely “reaccommodated” on another flight, including being moved up to First Class. The Flight Attendant was removed from duty pending investigation.


Facts are too sketchy to comment on this quite yet, as we don’t know what happened before the video. But something upsetting obviously took place, and it doesn’t look like the Flight Attendant is exactly doling out any “American hospitality.”

More on this incident as it develops . . .

Baby Stroller-Gate Update

Submitted April 23

As we often learn in retrospect, there is ALWAYS more to a story, but social media is spring-loaded to play insta-Judge/ Jury/ Executioner. Here’s testimony from another passenger who claims he saw it all. This was in the Comment section on Yahoo News


  • I was on this flight directly across the isle from the woman filming the video. This is what I observed: 1.) woman gets on the plane pushing a car seat type stroller with one child in it, carrying a second child on her hip and dragging behind a very large folded stroller that was too big for the overhead bin or to go under a seat. 2.) the flight attendant shown in the video approached from the back of the plane and informed her in a calm manner that there was nowhere to store the stroller. The woman immediately escalated the situation and within about 30 seconds was screaming at him at the top of her lungs. 3.) the flight attendant evidently decided she was not fit to be on the flight (in my opinion the correct decision) and started to move her and her children towards the front of the plane. 4.) when they got to the from of the plane the woman decided she was not going any further. The flight attendant picked up the stroller and lifted it over his head to try and move past the woman. As he was doing this she pushed him and the stroller fell a bit and struck her in the face. She began crying loudly and dramatically. Shortly after this is where the video begins. 5.) The first class passenger then inserts himself into the drama with his faux chivalry but clearly has no idea what has transpired in the back of the plane since he was in a window seat in the first class section of the plane and could not have viewed the incident from his seat. 6.) after another 10 minutes or so the woman exits the plane only to be returned about 5 minutes later and taken to her seat. We wait another 30-40 minutes while various flight and ground crew come and go speaking to the woman. After about 40 minutes she deplanes again this time telling all of the passengers, who are now becoming vocal in support of the flight crew, that all she wanted was an apology from the flight attendant. Evidently that’s what the 40 minute delay was all about. Then we waited another 10 minutes for the ground crew to find and remove her luggage from the belly of the plane. 7.) the flight finally leaves and arrives in Dallas an hour or so late. American representatives are waiting at the gate to speak with the first class passenger who made the threats. What I heard was a very apologetic tone coming from two American employees, as if the airline had done something to upset the first class passenger. 8.) when I entered the bag claim area the first class passenger was right in front of me and as soon as he made it through the revolving door there was a camera crew waiting for him on the other side to interview him. That’s about as factual of an account as I can provide and I realize there may be other parts of this story that I do not know about or did not witness. From what I saw: a.) if anyone from American should have been punished it should be the ground crew who somehow letting this woman on board with a full size stroller. The flight attendant was put in a horrible situation by a passenger that most passengers in my immediate area thought seemed unstable. She escalated the situation, not him. b.) in my opinion, the first class passenger should have been removed. Had the flight been in progress he might very well have been arrested upon landing for threatening a crew member. Additionally, he could not have seen any of the back of the plane antics of the woman based on where he was seated. c.) I agree the flight attendant may have reacted too harshly in responding to the threatening customer in first class, but his actions with the woman in question were professional throughout the ordeal. I am disappointed American has chosen to punish him.

I do not want to “take sides” per se at this point, as we DON’T know all the facts of the case yet. However, as the above witness testimony demonstrates, there is ALWAYS two sides to a story, and we need to refrain from jumping to conclusions without all the facts. Frankly, that is the goal of the court system—to discover the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—and mete out proper justice.

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Air Rage in the (Un)Friendly Skies—What’s Going On?

Shared by People of the Sky’s Jean Denis Marcellin

This just in: a passenger attacks a pilot while deplaning.

What would you do?

Pilot Shoved


The man follows the pilot off the plane and shoves him, not once, but twice. To the pilot’s credit, he continues to walk away. The man will face serious assault charges. But, frankly, I would not be turning my back on someone who’s attempting to assault me. Who’s to say he doesn’t have a smuggled knife in his hand? Again, I have no idea how the altercation started, but once someone touches you with the intent to harm,  you are legitimately “fearing for your life” and have the right to defend yourself.

Air Rage in the (Un)Friendly Skies—What’s Going On?

What’s Going On?

It seems like these incidents are on the rise. Could be, but with the thousands of flights that depart daily, most likely an occasional incident such as these probably happen fairly regularly; what’s changed is social media, and our attention to it. Now, each formerly “isolated” incident has the potential to go viral, perhaps painting an unfair picture of airlines and flight attendants, and perhaps stoking the fire for more incidents.

Studies have constantly shown that passengers demand lower fares. With it comes an inevitable degradation in service, which further stokes the flames.

Personally, I know flight attendants are reporting more and more belligerent and misbehaving passengers, making crowd control more difficult . . . leading to a degradation in air safety.

It all goes back to Common Courtesy!

Let’s all strive to be, not be the Problem, but the Solution!

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Not All Sux (Sax?) in the Sky . . .

Just to prove that not every flight is a flight from hell, here’s Kenny G playing an impromptu concert on a flight after raising $2,000 from the passengers for charity!

Direct Link:

Air Rage in the (Un)Friendly Skies—What’s Going On?

More Fun Memes

While I never want to bash an airline here, I can’t help but post a few of the choice memes, already in wide circulation, inspired by the United debacle. Enjoy!

This is Cap’n Aux . . .


Reaccommodating Off!

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Touching down next week

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