Assaulted by Air France Pilot...looking for advice & suggestions

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Old Feb 17, 19, 9:18 am
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Thumbs down Assaulted by Air France Pilot...looking for advice & suggestions

Yes, the title is correct: I was physically attacked by an AF pilot the other day and I am trying to determine how to best deal with the situation. And I have part of the attack on video. Here is what happened: Overhead bin latch broke (not by me) and we could not open it. Flight attendant could not open it so the pilot came back. He launched into a verbal attack, yelling that "You broke it, it is very expensive" along with other invective in French. It was embarrassing, disrespectful, and very unprofessional. When I asked his name, telling him that his behavior was inappropriate, he refused, so i tried to take his picture. The Pilot then lunged at me, trying to grab my phone, and in doing so my camera shifted to video mode briefly. It captured him striking me repeatedly and paying hands on me while I repeated "why are you assaulting me?" I never struck him back as he repeatedly layed hands on me, striking my chest, arms and shoulders. I was not badly injured but was profoundly humiliated and in a state of shock.

I am a Delta DM, FC, and 2M (not far off from 3M). This flight was a codeshare connecting to a DL flgiht from CDG to JFK. I have written to both DL & AF, but I am shocked that given the serious nature of what happened, I have not yet received any response. I sent the video, which is pretty shocking (not as bad as the infamous UAL video of the man dragged off of the plane but pretty bad.

Any thoughts or recommendations on what my next steps should be? The AF agent at CDG suggested posting it on social media "to get the bosses off their asses," but not my style. I want to see this properly addressed and I want to be comfortable in flying AF again, as with Delta shifting so much to their (crappy) alliance partners, it is hard to avoid AF.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Old Feb 19, 19, 10:45 am
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The correct authority to report criminal offences is the police. If you believe you were the victim of a crime, this is who you should complain to.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 1:06 pm
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
The correct authority to report criminal offences is the police. If you believe you were the victim of a crime, this is who you should complain to.
My plan is to file a police report when back in Paris next month. Unfortunately there was no time when I was in transit without missing my connection I am shocked, however, that Air France has yet to respond, despite the video.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 1:34 pm
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Good afternoon,
You should report that behavior immediately to the police.
Depending on their reaction, you might still want to consider social media.
It globally questions the ability of such a pilot to be in command, if he cannot control his nerves for such a small issue.
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Last edited by olivedel; Feb 19, 19 at 2:25 pm
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Old Feb 19, 19, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by olivedel View Post
Good afternoon,
You should report that behavior immediately to the police.
Depending on their reaction, you might still want to consider social media.
It globally questions the ability of such a pilot to be in command, if he cannot control his nerves for such a small issue.

I actually mentioned this in my many unanswered letters to Air France, that this unstable pilot could be another Lubitz, the Germanwings pilot. This adds to my surprise at the deafening silence.

i wish I had been able to file a police report, but I needed to get home. It was impossible to find a proper Air France manager that day, let alone a police officer!

I see social media as the "nuclear option" but it is looking like it may be the only option. I do not want to see myself on TV like the doctor dragged off a plane by United!

i was curious if anybody else had similar experiences with Air France, or had good contacts in customer care.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by JP10533 View Post
I actually mentioned this in my many unanswered letters to Air France, that this unstable pilot could be another Lubitz, the Germanwings pilot. This adds to my surprise at the deafening silence.

i wish I had been able to file a police report, but I needed to get home. It was impossible to find a proper Air France manager that day, let alone a police officer!

I see social media as the "nuclear option" but it is looking like it may be the only option. I do not want to see myself on TV like the doctor dragged off a plane by United!

i was curious if anybody else had similar experiences with Air France, or had good contacts in customer care.
If it is an assault, it is neither a customer relations nor a social media matter. It is a policing matter.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 6:55 pm
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Assault is police matter. Writing to AF comes after that.
You seem to be based in US, so immediately report to US police. I assume that you have taken names of witnesses.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 3:48 am
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What do you expect from AF customer care? A "oh sorry to hear about this, customer satisfaction is our top priority, here are 5,000 miles"-message?
Can you precisely describe what kind of "invective" yelled the pilot? Sometimes in a different language/cultural environment, it is difficult to really assess whether a speech is violent or not.

I personnally do not find it very smart to take a picture of someone without his consent, even though you are totally right in the fact it does not justify any form of violent response. Be careful though, posting the video of this person (if he is clearly identifiable) on the Internet may be considered an offense.

Last but not least, you may have eventually collected the name of this pilot as it is usually given by the captain himself during its welcome speech after boarding (and sometimes repeated by the purser).

PS: I would not expect too much from the French police as well, especially if I'd come to see them a month after, but once again no one is a judge on this forum and it is just personal valueless opinion.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 6:49 pm
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Originally Posted by JP10533 View Post
Any thoughts or recommendations on what my next steps should be? The AF agent at CDG suggested posting it on social media "to get the bosses off their asses," but not my style. I want to see this properly addressed and I want to be comfortable in flying AF again, as with Delta shifting so much to their (crappy) alliance partners, it is hard to avoid AF.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
What exactly are you looking for.?

If AF takes action with their employee, I can guarantee you that they will not share that information with you, as it is an internal matter.
If you want to see it treated as a criminal matter, then you'll definitely need to contact the police.

Are you looking to be compensated somehow (damages, pain & suffering, etc.)? These allegations are not something that's going to be addressed by customer service (for one, it could open them up to liability if they compensate you, sort of an admission of guilt). You could file a lawsuit I guess, not sure if your video clip would be enough to move things forward, or whether a police report would be needed. But obviously you'll need a lawyer.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 7:52 pm
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If the captain is not happy being asked for his name, or being filmed, he has rights to offload OP under such circumstance. It is not a smart move to do it by his hands.

AF is a company severely syndicated and AF itself may choose to do nothing. I am surprised to see how the AF ground agent reacts as well, report it to their PR department and say if not properly handled you will have further moves. So if OP has eyewitnesses, plus the footage, you can then report it to the police, DOT and French authority.

The longer it waits, the less effective your report can become. So either act quickly, either forget about that and move forward.

That captain needs emotion control though, he could have just walked back, make a call and ask ground to remove the pax. And even after the assault, he allowed OP to stay, that seems weird.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 1:13 am
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I always take any posted story with a pinch of salt. You mention that the pilot "struck you repeatedly". That is a grave offense. I would have expected nearby passengers to jump defending you. Other would have captured the fight, or rather the repeated punches,you received, on their phone.

Anyway, it is hard to see what "compensation" you expect or are likely to receive. Clearly this incident took place some time ago. If your claim to Air France is that you got physically assaulted, it is unlikely that they will respond in any meaningful way as these words you used in you complaint make it a serious criminal matter. It becomes a legal matter and any airline would be careful in exchanging mails that could be interpreted as admission of liability.
Your only road is legal and that would have required some police declaration and involving lawyers.

The "nuclear option" of posting the video can backfire. It might get initial traction. But you would hope that some pax on your flight corroborate your story..

Actually, it is surprising that you did not even mention the flight/date when that happened.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 3:28 pm
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Delete this thread and go speak to a competent attorney.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
I always take any posted story with a pinch of salt. You mention that the pilot "struck you repeatedly". That is a grave offense. I would have expected nearby passengers to jump defending you. Other would have captured the fight, or rather the repeated punches,you received, on their phone.

Anyway, it is hard to see what "compensation" you expect or are likely to receive. Clearly this incident took place some time ago. If your claim to Air France is that you got physically assaulted, it is unlikely that they will respond in any meaningful way as these words you used in you complaint make it a serious criminal matter. It becomes a legal matter and any airline would be careful in exchanging mails that could be interpreted as admission of liability.
Your only road is legal and that would have required some police declaration and involving lawyers.

The "nuclear option" of posting the video can backfire. It might get initial traction. But you would hope that some pax on your flight corroborate your story..

Actually, it is surprising that you did not even mention the flight/date when that happened.
I feel the same as you. Also, if this was so bad, I wonder why no other pax filmed the scene and posted it on YouTube or any social media. It should have already become viral.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 5:41 pm
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The passage of time does not help this. Forget about writing to AF, forget about social media, and forget about asking a lawyer what to do.

Pick up the phone and call the police. They have phones in France. While it would be better if you were there to report in person, not everyone can. French police may ask for assistance from local police wherever you are in the US, to obtain a statement.

In the meantime, you may be assured that the Captain has written this up himself and likely has backup from other crew on the aircraft. Time is not on your side.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 5:46 pm
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Call or e-mail the cops in France
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