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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:52 pm   #1
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Disruptive Passenger / Safety Issue - worth reporting?

I had an interesting flight recently, where a intoxicated lady was all over the first class cabin (with her dog), ignoring instructions for most of the flight. The cabin crew didn't intervene or control the cabin.

TL;DR, am I over-reacting, or is this an actual safety and passenger experience issue that I should be reporting?


===== The Flight, As I have written in a *yet undelivered* letter to United =====

There were a series of serious incidents on my flight involving a female passenger (XXX, X) in seat XX (First Class) who was flying on an upgraded ticket. This passenger was clearly inebriated (and admitted to being both drunk and on Xanax), and was being loud, vulgar, inappropriate (nudity), and was repeatedly ignoring crew member instructions and was out of her seat during multiple critical phases of flight (turbulence, approach, final approach, landing, taxiing). These are serious and dangerous violations that were not dealt with by the cabin crew.

This passenger had a service animal which was not properly controlled during the flight after several crew member instructions. (14 CFR 121.317 (k) )
The passenger was loud, and continued to speak profanity and sexual explicit language to two passengers behind her, audible from at least 4 rows away.
The passenger left her seat during turbulence (seatbelt sign on) to attempt to give a lap dance to the customer in XX. (14 CFR 91.107 (3), 14 CFR 121.317 (f) ).
The passenger removed her seatbelt multiple times during descent, and during final approach (the literal final leg to RWY 16L, after the left-traffic base leg was completed) stood up, and while straddling both seats (the next seat - which was empty, and hers) proceeded to flash the passengers behind her. The plane included children so I consider this a sex-offender worthy offense. (14 CFR 91.107 (3) ). The cabin crew reminded all passengers via the PA system to stay in their seat and the passenger did not comply (14 CFR 121.317 (k) ).

The entire time, the flight attendant crew (there was one trainee) was unwilling to confront or control this passenger. The flight crew did serve this passenger two “alcoholic” drinks, however the passenger in XX (Nearby) said that she overheard that they were without alcohol. If the drinks did contain alcohol, this is a clear violation of 14 CFR 121.575 b.1 .

The cabin was not under control, and had we encountered wind shear or any issues on final approach for Denver Runway 16L, there would have been serious bodily injury to the passenger in XX as well as any nearby passengers. This lack of control is completely unacceptable - especially for a cabin crew training flight. At a minimum, the following should be required:
- A review of the failed procedures on this flight.
- Additional flight crew training to handle situations like this for the specific flight crew.
- The disruptive passenger in XX (XXX, X) being barred from all future United or United Express Flights.
- Apologies sent to the passengers in the first class cabin and Economy Plus for the complete disregard for their safety and civility of the aircraft cabin.

This incident has left me fearful that United does not control the safety of their aircraft. I am incredibly concerned that after the April 9th 2017 incident, United may be too cautious when dealing with passengers. For the sake of crew and passenger safety, United Airlines and operators (including SkyWest) are required - by law - to maintain control of the passengers in the aircraft cabin.

I expect and demand better and safer flight operations from United and United Express. With the appropriate attention to this issue, I’m sure we can together keep flying the safest that it has ever been.



===== My Question =====
I sent an abbreviated version to United via united.com/feedback and have yet to hear an answer (2 days later). I was considering mailing this writeup to the following:

- Customer Care, United Airlines, Inc.
- Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, Aviation Consumer Protection Division
- SkyWest Airlines

Any thoughts? Other than being an entirely embarrassing and awkward flight for everyone (I hope none of the kids were up in E+), nobody was injured. I'm just pretty upset that the crew did nothing and let this unacceptable behavior continue for the entire flight, including while we were touching down.

Last edited by embe; Apr 20, 17 at 4:59 pm
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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:58 pm   #2
  
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I'd fix the spelling: There was a series of serious
and send it in
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Old Apr 20, 17, 5:01 pm   #3
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Thanks Plane-is-home - Good typo catch and even better singular/plural grammar catch
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Old Apr 20, 17, 5:04 pm   #4
  
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If possible, I would trim down the letter significantly. Focus succinctly on the most serious issues (in my opinion, what sounds like sexual harassment and indecent behavior, and being out of her seat during final approach and landing) and the fact that the crew did not do anything about it. I don't think there's any real need to cite CFR - any sane person should know that her actions are not acceptable on an aircraft.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 5:04 pm   #5
  
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that's pretty wild. wow. please send this in.

i think this would normally be considered "too long" by FT standards, but the sheer outrageousness of this case warrants the length.

be sure to note that you've CC'd DOT on the letter that goes to UA. i'm sure it was in your subject line, but of course note the flight number/date/route.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 5:10 pm   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by embe View Post
....
I sent an abbreviated version to United via united.com/feedback and have yet to hear an answer (2 days later).....
Expecting a response in 2 days is perhaps unrealistic. At a minimum, this would have to be routed to the proper departments and some level of investigation under taken. Crews travel and could be out of reach for significant periods of time

Quoting CFRs --- I am sure airlines have an initial (negative) reaction to passengers quoting CFRs -- they know the CFRs. It is like bring a stack of research papers and drug studies when you visit your doctor. State what you observe and why you felt in danger, let them decide what rules apply.

Don't expect anything more than thanks for making us aware of the situation and an apology for the unfortunate events. UA will not provide a resolution report. It will be handled as an internal matter (as any company would, airline or not).

And drop the required actions, again that will be completely ignored.

Keep the letter short and reporting what happened to you and why you felt necessary to write. The rest will be ignored.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 5:14 pm   #7
  
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Where was this flight going? Sounds like you landed in Denver. Wondering how long the hysterics went on.

Were any other passengers encouraging this? Overall, sounds terrible.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 5:55 pm   #8
  
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Nudity on a UA flight? That's unheard of.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 6:02 pm   #9
  
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No need to state that she was on an "upgraded" ticket. Not relevant
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Old Apr 20, 17, 6:26 pm   #10
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Quoting CFRs --- I am sure airlines have an initial (negative) reaction to passengers quoting CFRs -- they know the CFRs. It is like bring a stack of research papers and drug studies when you visit your doctor. State what you observe and why you felt in danger, let them decide what rules apply.
Especially when OP gets them wrong.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 20, 17 at 6:43 pm Reason: repaired quote
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Old Apr 20, 17, 6:50 pm   #11
  
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I'm guessing the crew is hesitant to do anything to avoid more Dao incidents.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 8:08 pm   #12
  
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Even if you allow for some minor exaggeration, there's enough detail in OP's post to make it credible. Clearly, SOMETHING happened, and clearly the passenger'x behavior was a classic example of "Politically Incorrect" behavior. It's also my impression that the OP was upset by the incident. What did the crew do when OP brought it to their attention?

Regardless of whether or not it affected safety of the flight, shouldn't we be allowed to fly in peace and not be offended by someone else?

And, of course the bottom line question is what should the airline's restitution for the affair actually be? Is it enough to just pass out some FF miles, or a voucher or two? Or maybe a free drink?

Last edited by Allan38103; Apr 20, 17 at 8:14 pm
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Old Apr 20, 17, 8:17 pm   #13
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How do you know she was on a upgraded ticket?

Did she flash her rack on a 5 mile final?

Children around so it's "sex offender worthy"? Lol good lord
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Old Apr 20, 17, 8:24 pm   #14
  
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Are you sure this was a "service animal" as opposed to an "emotional support animal" or a run-of-the-mill dog?

Nothing pi$$e$ me off more than someone fraudulently putting a "service animal" vest on a regular dog in order to avoid paying surcharges or getting access that a normal animal would never have (inside of a restaurant, etc.). If that were the case, I hope United charged the maximum fee possible to this woman.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 8:48 pm   #15
  
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Seems like wild ride! As others have said, I would reccomend cutting out a lot of the editorializing and rule citing. Also irrelevant details such as her being upgraded can probably fall by the wayside.

I sat next to an incredibly attractive woman once who had clearly drank her way through the airport and wouldn't stop touching my arm and knee as she was trying to tell me some story she thought was hilarious. The devil on my shoulder was grinning at me and telling to just roll with it....my wife and mother in law across the aisle had what I would describe as a different perspective.
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