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Old May 31, 11, 2:13 pm   #1
 
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IAD-ACC aborted because of seat squabble

A common airplane annoyance leads to a costly brouhaha in the skies over D.C.

By Ashley Halsey III, Tuesday, May 31, 2:35 PM

Before things got out of hand it was a typical annoyance that happens once a flight gets airborne: A passenger hit the recline button and sent his seat intimately close to the lap of the guy sitting behind him.

...

It happened late Sunday just after a United Airlines Boeing 767 bound for Ghana with 144 passengers took off from Dulles International Airport.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...y.html?hpid=z2
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Old May 31, 11, 2:20 pm   #2
 
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Interesting story. I wonder if the seat was defective: the very limited recline of a seat in Y should not be sufficient to really start a fight...
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Old May 31, 11, 2:37 pm   #3
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With only 144 seats occupied on a 767, one would think the aggrieved party could simply find a comfortable seat somewhere else.....
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Old May 31, 11, 8:54 pm   #4
 
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Originally Posted by fzwinter View Post
With only 144 seats occupied on a 767, one would think the aggrieved party could simply find a comfortable seat somewhere else.....
Or the aggrieving party. And maybe they couldn't agree on that either.

Really sad how much time/money was wasted here. And we all are going to ultimately pay for it.
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Old May 31, 11, 9:10 pm   #5
 
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The irony is that it might actually save UA some money since that flight is never even close to full anyways. They certainly didn't dump anywhere near all of the fuel, plus there's no return flight fuel.

I assume they were under some kind of federal martime type of law...are there even federal statutes against slapping? Maybe that's why there are no charges.
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Old May 31, 11, 9:16 pm   #6
 
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I worry/wonder about this route. I've flown it to/from ACC/LOS a number of times and it's hardly close to full. A few months ago, I was the only rev pax in FC. Two employees and two marshalls. and me.
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Old May 31, 11, 9:22 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by TheBagman View Post
The irony is that it might actually save UA some money since that flight is never even close to full anyways. They certainly didn't dump anywhere near all of the fuel, plus there's no return flight fuel.
Except that it seems they operated the flight on Monday when there usually isn't a flight to ACC. So what did they save?
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Old May 31, 11, 10:08 pm   #8
 
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I wouldn't question the PIC's call to return, but I sure as hell would press charges if I did make that call. IMHO, one should back up their decisions with actions, and if there was a charge that the crew could have filled (even if UA didn't file them as a company) I would have. I am 98% sure there was at least a single charge out there that could have been pressed by the crew, even if it was obscure and had little penalty.


I have filled charges against a passenger when UA chose not to. They backed me up (covering their bases, asking if I needed counciling...) to a point (mostly likely becuase it happened right in front of a city of Chicago surveilence camera,) but I turned over the police report to them for their records, and when I went to get it back, they stalled in getting it to me, and then "lost it." By then I didn't want to go thru the trouble of taking a day off to go downtown to get a copy of it, only to then appear again in court on another day on "my time", and I regret this decision of mine. Stand behind your actions as a person and make the sysytem work by pressing charges! Even if the penalty is not severe, it gets it on record and if there ever is a next time, then it may be used then.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 3:10 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by TheBagman View Post
The irony is that it might actually save UA some money since that flight is never even close to full anyways. They certainly didn't dump anywhere near all of the fuel, plus there's no return flight fuel.

I assume they were under some kind of federal martime type of law...are there even federal statutes against slapping? Maybe that's why there are no charges.
Didn't I read a story here somewhere about an IAD pilot assaulting a C passenger with no UA repercussions? Apparently the IAD cops don't charge anyone for anything.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 5:28 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
if there was a charge that the crew could have filled (even if UA didn't file them as a company) I would have. I am 98% sure there was at least a single charge out there that could have been pressed by the crew, even if it was obscure and had little penalty.
The crew has no standing to press charges. If two idiots hit each other that's their deal to press charges against each other. In any case the DC police aren't going to do anything about an event outside of their jurisdiction. I'm surprised the FBI didn't show up, but I guess they can just flag these guys as denied for future Visas to the US.

It is a judgement call on whether to return the flight...sometimes people judge well, sometimes poorly. Based on the outcome, I believe the crew as a whole judged wrong here to return the flight...

On the other hand, the new norm of when to return seems to be "if the rest of the sheep are too panic'ed to continued". UA should bill the fuel to the mass media for years of stoking everyone's fears over every minor anomaly that happens in the air.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 5:34 am   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CASAFlyer View Post
Interesting story. I wonder if the seat was defective: the very limited recline of a seat in Y should not be sufficient to really start a fight...
People complain about others reclining in Y all the time. I once had some jerk actually press his legs into the back of my seat as hard as he could to prevent recline. It sucks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmc66 View Post
Didn't I read a story here somewhere about an IAD pilot assaulting a C passenger with no UA repercussions? Apparently the IAD cops don't charge anyone for anything.
IAD cops are abusive jerks.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 7:38 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by TheBagman View Post
I'm surprised the FBI didn't show up, but I guess they can just flag these guys as denied for future Visas to the US.
Do we know they aren't AMCITs?
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Old Jun 1, 11, 7:39 am   #13
 
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IAD cops are abusive jerks.
??? care to expand on this?
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Old Jun 1, 11, 8:18 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBagman View Post
The crew has no standing to press charges. If two idiots hit each other that's their deal to press charges against each other. In any case the DC police aren't going to do anything about an event outside of their jurisdiction. I'm surprised the FBI didn't show up, but I guess they can just flag these guys as denied for future Visas to the US.
Did I miss the part of the story where the two fighters are identified as foreign nationals?

Since this happened very shortly after departure, I wonder if the seat belt sign was still on, and if they could have used that to file charges. Or if they didn't immediately stop fighting when a crew member told them so, that would seem to be another possible reason.
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Old Jun 1, 11, 9:51 am   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBagman View Post
The crew has no standing to press charges. If two idiots hit each other that's their deal to press charges against each other. In any case the DC police aren't going to do anything about an event outside of their jurisdiction. I'm surprised the FBI didn't show up, but I guess they can just flag these guys as denied for future Visas to the US.
I agree with this analysis.

In addition, I think United could sue the disruptive passenger(s) for the company's losses (e.g. in rebooking/refunding tickets for the other passengers), but the crew would not be able to file those charges personally because they didn't pay for the company's losses in those areas.

The crew can probably file a report with the FBI or TSA (?) or some other federal agency that can file criminal charges (but probably not the D.C. local police). But if that agency doesn't feel like investigating (which may be the case, especially if United doesn't want to cooperate with the investigation), the crew cannot press the agency to do so.
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