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Ryanair Pilot Refused to Fly Bag of Undocumented Company Cash

Ryanair pilot claims he refused to carry company cash aboard his flight because documentation was not available prior to departure.

A former Ryanair captain is fighting with his former employer over his termination, claiming he was within his rights to refuse a parcel of company cash in 2014. The Irish Times reports former pilot Mark Christensen is taking his former employer before the Irish government after losing his job over confusion about the supposedly undocumented parcel.

According to Christensen’s testimony to an Irish Employment Appeals Tribunal, the captain was going through his pre-flight checks when a Ryanair ground crew member dropped the bag of company cash in the cockpit. When Christensen enquired about the paperwork for the delivery, the ground crew member revealed a number of smaller sealed bags. The ground crew member then allegedly informed the captain that there was no paperwork for the cash delivery and the smaller bags could not be opened.

The first officer aboard the aircraft supposedly suggested the bag be transferred to the cargo hold, but Christensen says he decided against it. In his testimony, he claimed that if he accepted the bag without paperwork or knowing its contents, he could have faced penalties from the Irish Civil Aviation Authority.

The bag contained company cash collected from across the airline and ultimately bound for a Ryanair counting house in Dublin. Attorneys for the low-cost carrier say the bag was loaded per normal airline protocol. When the incident happened in 2014, the airline accused Christensen of insubordination for not accepting the cash, as well as keeping the aircraft on the ground past it’s scheduled departure time. As a result, the captain was ultimately demoted to first officer before later resigning.

If Christensen wins his claim, the airline could be required to pay the pilot for lost wages due to unfair dismissal. Attorneys for Ryanair claim the proper paperwork was included in the delivery and because Christensen is now working for a Chinese airline, the airline is not responsible for lost wages. The case is pending an official decision.

[Photo: Ryanair]

Comments are Closed.
Lakeviewsteve March 3, 2016

I think the pilot was correct and I'm thrilled he did what he did. If those small bags could not be opened, who knows what was inside. Cash needs to be accounted for. If they give the pilots responsibility for cash, they need to ensure there are proper internal controls surrounding it. What a stupid policy it is to have cash flown around. Is Ryan air that cheap? Why can't they deposit it in bank accounts and leave the pilots out of it?

Cedarglen January 21, 2016

I sure hope the gentleman wins this case! I too would instantly REFUSE a bag of obvious high value cargo brought aboard my airplane without the proper documents. That he is now forced to work elsewhere is not relevant. Only a genuine fool would accept a bag of 'packets of cash' on his own responsibility, without proper bills a lading. We simply do NOT Do That. The administrators at Ryan are idiots and should not impose tis responsibility on their flight officer. My dime bet says that their policy has already changed.

dliesse January 15, 2016

Although there are details missing from the article, I'm inclined to agree with the captain on this one. If you want me to carry a large amount of cash, damn right I want documentation! Negotiable instruments should always have a chain of custody receipt. Was this an international flight? The money was headed for Dublin, but we have no idea where the flight was originating. If this was an international flight, the captain was being set up for a charge of carrying cash above the appropriate Customs limit. Again, there are too many unanswered questions to have an informed opinion. This is simply my perception.

flyerCO January 14, 2016

Actually sounds like proper procedure was followed, but captain had never had to do it before. This was not a cargo shipment thus there was no need for cargo paperwork. Does he get paperwork for his company equipment when he brings it aboard? No. This sounds like someone who never had to handle the cash before, didn't know company policy, and refused to do their job because they hadn't learned it. Bottom line as he found other work there's no case for wages, those are only given in cases where a person can't find other work. He doesn't get to make double wages that he wouldn't have been able to, to begin with. Also he resigned and wasn't fired, thus that also takes away from his case. He could have continued to work there but choose to quit and go somewhere else. Legally that makes it his choice not theirs for him leaving the company.

drvannostren January 7, 2016

The pilot is 100% in the right here. The captain is responsable for everything and everyone on board. He/she receives documentation for everything. If I tell him there's 15 bags (Beech 1900D for example) and he says he's got room for 14, based on weight. I take one out. Even if it's a hockey stick that weighs 300grams, because it's based on averages. If our load stipulates 100 bags (737) 2 pieces of cargo at 50kgs and 1 avi (animal) and I call in that there's 2, the load planner will immediately question it, and odds are the pilot will come down to verify it himself. If this flight was supposed to have no cargo, and they tried to sneak it on, he has no idea what it is. Even if he's told what it is, it's not certified, it's not manifested, not planned for. DENIED. The agent working cargo or trying to put this shipment on is the one who should've gotten in trouble. They could've done this properly, not last minute without the right paperwork and put it on the next flight. Shame on Ryanair for their actions in this matter.