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Biggest Whopper you've heard from a UA Pilot, Flight Attendant, Gate or Ticket Agent?

Biggest Whopper you've heard from a UA Pilot, Flight Attendant, Gate or Ticket Agent?

Old Oct 6, 12, 10:39 pm
  #151  
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Originally Posted by freshairborne View Post
Honestly, reading about all the mistrust our passengers have for their pilots is pretty discouraging. A quick unofficial observation of posts on FlyerTalk tell me that as I stand at the door and bid farewell to my passengers as they deplane, 7 of 10 of them believe that their pilots are untrustworthy.

Actually, by the time I make it back to door 2L (757) all the "elitists" have gone, and its just the "kettles" still deplaning.

I'm a "kettle" myself, given that I don't fly as a passenger all that often, nor do I ever ride anywhere other than "steerage" when I do.

What's the derogatory term-of-the-day for pilots these days, anyway?

A load off my chest, rant over, flame away.

FAB
I for one trust the pilots. If I didn't I would not be on a plane. So count me as one of the 3 in 10. What would a pilot have to gain by not being truthful to the passengers. The only time I would not want the whole truth is if would cause mass hysteria on the plane. Sometimes you need to sugar coat things. But honesty is good and I for one appreciate it. I have never knowingly heard a pilot lie about something. Sometimes you just don't know how long the delay will be or give the info you were given and when it turns out to be wrong the 7 in 10 blame you, the pilot when it is not your fault. I APPRECIATE and RESPECT the pilots the fly the planes I am on.
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Old Oct 6, 12, 11:28 pm
  #152  
 
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
Originally Posted by freshairborne View Post
Honestly, reading about all the mistrust our passengers have for their pilots is pretty discouraging. A quick unofficial observation of posts on FlyerTalk tell me that as I stand at the door and bid farewell to my passengers as they deplane, 7 of 10 of them believe that their pilots are untrustworthy.

Actually, by the time I make it back to door 2L (757) all the "elitists" have gone, and its just the "kettles" still deplaning.

I'm a "kettle" myself, given that I don't fly as a passenger all that often, nor do I ever ride anywhere other than "steerage" when I do.

What's the derogatory term-of-the-day for pilots these days, anyway?

A load off my chest, rant over, flame away.

FAB
I for one trust the pilots. If I didn't I would not be on a plane. So count me as one of the 3 in 10. What would a pilot have to gain by not being truthful to the passengers. The only time I would not want the whole truth is if would cause mass hysteria on the plane. Sometimes you need to sugar coat things. But honesty is good and I for one appreciate it. I have never knowingly heard a pilot lie about something. Sometimes you just don't know how long the delay will be or give the info you were given and when it turns out to be wrong the 7 in 10 blame you, the pilot when it is not your fault. I APPRECIATE and RESPECT the pilots the fly the planes I am on.
I appreciate that. I try and be as honest and forthcoming as I can with my passengers. Sometimes, what I say is contrary to what they might have been told by an FA, GA, CSR, or other PWJDIAA (people whose job description is an acronym). And some times I really don't know if a plane is going flying or to the hangar, if a flight will fly or cancel, or how long it takes to fix. But I always say what I think. Jeff, et al, may not appreciate my delivery, but then, its my delivery.

I can't understand that people will get on a plane that's being piloted by us deceptive individuals. I recently had a starter malfunction while starting an engine in LAS. No big, we just used a ground cart air start, but some lady was deathly afraid that it might not start when airborne. She'd been gambling for a week in Vegas, but didn't want to chance the judgment of her captain. We let her off the plane.

Moral: trust your pilots. They want to go as bad as you do, and they're in the part that hits first.

FAB
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Old Oct 7, 12, 3:31 am
  #153  
 
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Originally Posted by freshairborne View Post
I appreciate that. I try and be as honest and forthcoming as I can with my passengers. Sometimes, what I say is contrary to what they might have been told by an FA, GA, CSR, or other PWJDIAA (people whose job description is an acronym). And some times I really don't know if a plane is going flying or to the hangar, if a flight will fly or cancel, or how long it takes to fix. But I always say what I think. Jeff, et al, may not appreciate my delivery, but then, its my delivery.

I can't understand that people will get on a plane that's being piloted by us deceptive individuals. I recently had a starter malfunction while starting an engine in LAS. No big, we just used a ground cart air start, but some lady was deathly afraid that it might not start when airborne. She'd been gambling for a week in Vegas, but didn't want to chance the judgment of her captain. We let her off the plane.

Moral: trust your pilots. They want to go as bad as you do, and they're in the part that hits first.

FAB
FAB,

You do have the confidence of your passengers, certainly me. But you should look at the way the situation at AA is being reported in the media (pilots making decisions that keep a plane from flying to send a message to AA management, not because it's the right decision) to see the concern those actions can cause even passengers of other airlines about pilot credibility.

You've earned your place on the flight deck, and you didn't get those stipes out of a cereal box.

Anyone who feels you're not communicating enough should tune to Channel 9 to hear how busy it can get for you, especially close to landing.

Thanks for all you do....
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Old Oct 7, 12, 9:06 am
  #154  
 
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Originally Posted by freshairborne View Post
Why would a pilot lie about flight planning at 18,000'? Actually, it's called Flight Level 180.

Because 1) we just tell lies arbitrarily, or 2)...dang...I can't even come up with another good reason to lie about something like that. Must be that we just lie arbitrarily.

Really?????

FAB
FAB,

I did start off saying I don't know if its a whopper or not. I really wanted to find out. Would a pilot actually fly BOS-DEN at 18,000 feet? As on most of my flights they say they are going to a higher altitude to make up time, and/or to avoid chop. I don't think we have ever been under 30,000 feet on that route. I ended saying we actually did make up time.

I trust pilots and have the upmost respect for pilots. Don't get me wrong. But I have heard some pretty fishy stories from them as well. That doesn't mean I don't trust them. My neighbor is a pilot and he said they have to makeup stores sometimes or the passengers would be in mass panic. I have also heard pilots announce things such as " the cell phone detector is induction X# of cell phones are still turned on." When I get together with my neighbor and his friends, one of them who flys for US Airways said they try to come up with the funniest stories to tell passengers they can as a game.
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Old Oct 7, 12, 9:14 am
  #155  
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
FAB,

I did start off saying I don't know if its a whopper or not. I really wanted to find out. Would a pilot actually fly BOS-DEN at 18,000 feet? As on most of my flights they say they are going to a higher altitude to make up time, and/or to avoid chop. I don't think we have ever been under 30,000 feet on that route. I ended saying we actually did make up time.

I trust pilots and have the upmost respect for pilots. Don't get me wrong. But I have heard some pretty fishy stories from them as well. That doesn't mean I don't trust them. My neighbor is a pilot and he said they have to makeup stores sometimes or the passengers would be in mass panic. I have also heard pilots announce things such as " the cell phone detector is induction X# of cell phones are still turned on." When I get together with my neighbor and his friends, one of them who flys for US Airways said they try to come up with the funniest stories to tell passengers they can as a game.
Short of a jamming signal, what else can they do?

I still like the "we can sense seat belts are not clicked in" one.
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Old Oct 7, 12, 10:26 am
  #156  
 
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
FAB,

I did start off saying I don't know if its a whopper or not. I really wanted to find out. Would a pilot actually fly BOS-DEN at 18,000 feet? As on most of my flights they say they are going to a higher altitude to make up time, and/or to avoid chop. I don't think we have ever been under 30,000 feet on that route. I ended saying we actually did make up time.

I trust pilots and have the upmost respect for pilots. Don't get me wrong. But I have heard some pretty fishy stories from them as well. That doesn't mean I don't trust them. My neighbor is a pilot and he said they have to makeup stores sometimes or the passengers would be in mass panic. I have also heard pilots announce things such as " the cell phone detector is induction X# of cell phones are still turned on." When I get together with my neighbor and his friends, one of them who flys for US Airways said they try to come up with the funniest stories to tell passengers they can as a game.
Fair 'nuff. But if you say you don't know if it's a whopper or not, that implies that you don't necessarily believe them. Fishy stories, or trust? I doubt I'd try to second-guess you in your job. As far as flying at 18,000', it's rare, but it's been done. I've done it a few times. I might not even mention it. When I have done it, I've had good reasons, none of which are likely to be fully understood by my passengers.

I haven't tried the "cell phone detector" announcement. I prefer to use the "amnesty" announcement. When I'm about to conduct a Category II or III approach in low visibility, which is followed by an autoland, I want all electronic devices off. OFF. OFF! There are always a those whom believe that they know more about electronics and interference on aircraft, and leave their junk on. Not even in "airplane" mode,which shows their ignorance even more, since ON just grinds the battery faster with zero gain. These geniuses have more inside knowledge than the FCC, the airlines, and the FAA, it seems. And since they never see the occasional adverse result of it in our cockpits, they assume it's all crap, someone exercising their authority for the sake of exercising authority.

I have deadheaded next to these ignorami, and they think it's pretty funny to blatantly leave their junk on. I just stay zipped unless there's some nasty weather at the other end, knowing that it most likely won't be a big deal.

When I'm flying the plane and will be doing a low-viz approach, however, I make the following PA: "Folks, it's amnesty time. For those of you who have your computers and phones, etc, not fully shut off, please do it now, no foul. Just do it. We are about to make a very electronics-intensive procedure, and given that I'm not a Boeing engineer nor test pilot, I would like full compliance with the federal law that says that these devices be off".

The flight attendants get a kick out of seeing a bunch of scofflaw elites and even a few "kettles" (I truly hate the way FTers use that term) turning off their smartphones.

I have always told my passengers exactly what is going on in irregular ops as well as in general. It has landed me at the Mahogany Table more than once, but I've never lied to my passengers. three weeks ago, during a very AA-esqe creeping delay that involved an airplane fresh out of a TIMCO Heavy Maintenance Visit, we tool delays for 1) the wrong safety briefing cards in ALL the seat backs, 2) an instrument screen going belly-up at engine start, a fuel leak, a passenger who's cabin boarded kennel dog had to go Tee-Tee..outside of security (during the briefing card delay) and subsequent timing-out of our duty limits. Our operations controller implored me to NOT make a PA announcement as to the reasons for all the delays, and ESPECIALLY (which I take to mean "double-don't-say") about the possibility of the pilots timing-out if they couldn't find another plane, swap people, cargo, and catering in 45 minutes.

The flight cancelled, and I just stood there and endured the stink-eye from the passengers. Not a lot of trust among them.

Can't wait to quit this gig. We used to call it "retiring" but now we either turn 65, lose our medial certificate, get fired, or die. Gotta take it for a while, though, because my wife's job just got outsourced.

FAB
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Old Oct 7, 12, 10:46 am
  #157  
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After UA 4900 cos to den mostly boards, I inquire about going standby. GA shakes her head, "I am full, but I do have two pax who have yet to board". After the no shows, she hands me and another pax each a BP. We board. Not including the three seats in F on the Q400 that are taped off, there are ten empty seats. This matched what the mobile app said.

Last edited by mre5765; Oct 7, 12 at 10:22 pm
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Old Oct 7, 12, 11:43 am
  #158  
 
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Originally Posted by freshairborne View Post
Fair 'nuff. But if you say you don't know if it's a whopper or not, that implies that you don't necessarily believe them. Fishy stories, or trust? I doubt I'd try to second-guess you in your job. As far as flying at 18,000', it's rare, but it's been done. I've done it a few times. I might not even mention it. When I have done it, I've had good reasons, none of which are likely to be fully understood by my passengers.

I haven't tried the "cell phone detector" announcement. I prefer to use the "amnesty" announcement. When I'm about to conduct a Category II or III approach in low visibility, which is followed by an autoland, I want all electronic devices off. OFF. OFF! There are always a those whom believe that they know more about electronics and interference on aircraft, and leave their junk on. Not even in "airplane" mode,which shows their ignorance even more, since ON just grinds the battery faster with zero gain. These geniuses have more inside knowledge than the FCC, the airlines, and the FAA, it seems. And since they never see the occasional adverse result of it in our cockpits, they assume it's all crap, someone exercising their authority for the sake of exercising authority.

I have deadheaded next to these ignorami, and they think it's pretty funny to blatantly leave their junk on. I just stay zipped unless there's some nasty weather at the other end, knowing that it most likely won't be a big deal.

When I'm flying the plane and will be doing a low-viz approach, however, I make the following PA: "Folks, it's amnesty time. For those of you who have your computers and phones, etc, not fully shut off, please do it now, no foul. Just do it. We are about to make a very electronics-intensive procedure, and given that I'm not a Boeing engineer nor test pilot, I would like full compliance with the federal law that says that these devices be off".

The flight attendants get a kick out of seeing a bunch of scofflaw elites and even a few "kettles" (I truly hate the way FTers use that term) turning off their smartphones.

I have always told my passengers exactly what is going on in irregular ops as well as in general. It has landed me at the Mahogany Table more than once, but I've never lied to my passengers. three weeks ago, during a very AA-esqe creeping delay that involved an airplane fresh out of a TIMCO Heavy Maintenance Visit, we tool delays for 1) the wrong safety briefing cards in ALL the seat backs, 2) an instrument screen going belly-up at engine start, a fuel leak, a passenger who's cabin boarded kennel dog had to go Tee-Tee..outside of security (during the briefing card delay) and subsequent timing-out of our duty limits. Our operations controller implored me to NOT make a PA announcement as to the reasons for all the delays, and ESPECIALLY (which I take to mean "double-don't-say") about the possibility of the pilots timing-out if they couldn't find another plane, swap people, cargo, and catering in 45 minutes.

The flight cancelled, and I just stood there and endured the stink-eye from the passengers. Not a lot of trust among them.

Can't wait to quit this gig. We used to call it "retiring" but now we either turn 65, lose our medial certificate, get fired, or die. Gotta take it for a while, though, because my wife's job just got outsourced.

FAB
FAB and the other UA pilot contributors to FT...Let me first say thank you for getting me from A to B thousands of times! I come from an airline family and served in the Air Force as a flight pilot/flight surgeon and I have implicit trust in your and your colleague 's abilities.

I believe that most of the negative feeling you are getting from "some" frequent flyers is misdirected anger which would be more accurately aimed at the corporate suite... I truly believe...with significant empirical evidence...that most Frequent Flyers are supportive of the pilots and the difficult job you do...and are sympathetic to all of the corporate BS you have to put up with!

As for the idiots that refuse to turn off their electronic devices...well, they are just self centered "idiots"...and your "amnesty speech" is, IMHO, too generous! As someone who has spent a lot of his life dealing with in-flight safety, if there is a one chance in a million that someone's personal electronics will affect aircraft electronics in a negative way...well, I know I have been known to tell other passengers to turn the "d**n" things off as it influences my well being and stop being so selfish!

I have two cousins who are currently pilots with UA and they express the same feelings that you do...both are in their late 50s and wish they could leave the "family business"...yesterday! I am the only one in my family who did not go into the "family business" or more accurately was prevented by my dad (a TWA pilot) from following the rest...There is not a day that goes by that I don't thank him in my thoughts (he went West ten years ago on this date)...but I still get to fly the family Howard and Stearman (at least when they finish their MOHs)
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Old Oct 7, 12, 12:11 pm
  #159  
 
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FAB, there are 2 different levels of trust involved here. Do I trust my pilots to insist on a safe aircraft and then to fly safely to our destination? Absolutely! Do I believe 100% of what they say during irrops? Not necessarily.
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Old Oct 7, 12, 12:46 pm
  #160  
 
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Originally Posted by last2board View Post
FAB, there are 2 different levels of trust involved here. Do I trust my pilots to insist on a safe aircraft and then to fly safely to our destination? Absolutely! Do I believe 100% of what they say during irrops? Not necessarily.
I feel the same way. I know that no pilot will fly a questionable plane or fly in questionable conditions because ultimately they would be putting their own lives in danger. But I sometimes wonder when a pilot says one thing and it turns out to be something completely different (we'll have you off the ground in 15 minutes which turns out to be 1-2 hrs).
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Old Oct 7, 12, 3:15 pm
  #161  
 
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Originally Posted by freshairborne View Post
Honestly, reading about all the mistrust our passengers have for their pilots is pretty discouraging. A quick unofficial observation of posts on FlyerTalk tell me that as I stand at the door and bid farewell to my passengers as they deplane, 7 of 10 of them believe that their pilots are untrustworthy.

Actually, by the time I make it back to door 2L (757) all the "elitists" have gone, and its just the "kettles" still deplaning.

I'm a "kettle" myself, given that I don't fly as a passenger all that often, nor do I ever ride anywhere other than "steerage" when I do.

What's the derogatory term-of-the-day for pilots these days, anyway?

A load off my chest, rant over, flame away.

FAB
Fortunately your statistics are based on a biased sample. In my teaching and research on technical safety I have interviewed United pilots both formally and informally. They are a dedicated professional and careful group. They are even sometimes funny. We had a flight delayed because captain's chair malfunctioned. He came into the cabin to apologize and he must have been 6 foot 6. He said the first officer was 5 foot 4 and someone had just averaged their heights .
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Old Oct 7, 12, 8:26 pm
  #162  
 
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Originally Posted by freshairborne View Post
I have deadheaded next to these ignorami, and they think it's pretty funny to blatantly leave their junk on. I just stay zipped unless there's some nasty weather at the other end, knowing that it most likely won't be a big deal.

When I'm flying the plane and will be doing a low-viz approach, however, I make the following PA: "Folks, it's amnesty time. For those of you who have your computers and phones, etc, not fully shut off, please do it now, no foul. Just do it. We are about to make a very electronics-intensive procedure, and given that I'm not a Boeing engineer nor test pilot, I would like full compliance with the federal law that says that these devices be off".
I think it's awesome you make this PA and I wish more pilots would do the same. And I also behave like you do when flying as pax. I won't bother saying anything if we're conducting an approach in VMC, but in IMC, I'm always ready to say something.

Not willing to risk a LOC or GS deviation during an autoland. That SQ 773 at MUC showed what the result could be - though in that case the deviation was due to lack of protection.
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Old Oct 8, 12, 5:06 am
  #163  
 
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Originally Posted by freshairborne View Post

Moral: trust your pilots. They want to go as bad as you do, and they're in the part that hits first.

FAB
well said. The pilots certainly have a vested interest in landing safely, plus probably do not want to extend their working shift any longer than the rest of us with our own jobs.
I'll take a safe landing over any perceived b.s. the pilots may choose to announce.

Anyway, had a decent crew a few weeks ago (ORD-EWR) explain the additional delays we had to endure on the ground before take off. First, boarding took too long so we missed our window, plus the expected ORD traffic put us back more once we "got in line".

Have not had any odd-ball announcements from a UA/CO crew in awhile...
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Old Oct 8, 12, 4:06 pm
  #164  
 
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Baze, tarheelnj, emanon256, 1KPath, last2board, njcommodore, morelgroom, ULMFlyer, sgbani, et al

Thank you all for your votes of confidence. I understand that there are those of you whom do trust us, some who have the Reagan-Gorbachev style of "trust but verify", and then the rest whom have no trust whatsoever. I understand that because I'm a cynic myself. When I get an answer that I suspect, I get a second opinion. It's the way of the world. It was not my intention to get your reassurances, but thanks just the same.

My frustration comes from reading these posts and seeing examples that have no basis in fact, from my professional point of view.

Examples are, someone suspected that a pilot was lying about flying a flight at 18,000', or lying about the airplane being overfueled, or the creeping delay syndrome. I have said almost countless times to myself, "How am I going to say this; they'll never believe it!". The latest one was when we had a minor mechanical issue, and I wanted the gate agents to keep the door open in case a mechanic had to come up to the cockpit. A few minutes pass, and a United pilot, in uniform, who had just landed from his last flight of a trip, sees our plane still at the gate. Our destination is his home, so he takes a chance and asks the gate agent to let him on the jumpseat since we're still there. On he gets, and shortly thereafter, the mechanics fix the problem and don't need to come up to the cockpit. Agent shuts the door, we get our paperwork over the cockpit printer, and we're on our way.

This requires no explanation to the passengers beyond the mechanical issue, but now everyone on the plane suspects that the jumpseater called me on the radio and asked me to fake a mechanical issue so he could get on the plane. I'm not going to lower myself to explaining to my passengers that we really had an issue, and the pilot getting on the jumpseat was purely circumstantial.

I suppose I just need to quit worrying about what my passengers think, but I'd have to quit worrying about both the negative and positive aspects. So how am I going to explain it? Nobody was going to believe that one. I'd like to say that I'd have a hard time believing it, but then, I have seen some crazy stuff over the past years.

FAB
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Old Oct 8, 12, 7:11 pm
  #165  
 
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Originally Posted by JC5280 View Post
Both of these are legitimate. I have flown in to hubs where virtually everything has been delayed. But yes, airlines will sometimes hold aircraft for connecting passengers. Depends on the circumstances and downline situation and impact.
Sometimes a creative GA can really save the day. A buddy of mine used to be a GA and he told me of a pickle he managed to swim out of. He was working a flight to MCO that somehow got way oversold because IM mistakenly allocated a 757 worth of seats when the plane was only an A319. Even worse, it was a spring break flight that was filled with families going to DisneyWorld.

Since the 319 was scheduled to come back to the hub, he went through the computer looking for a 757 that was also scheduled to come back to the hub around the same time, and had a load light enough both ways to fly a 319 and found one. He then called in a favor to a buddy of his at dispatch and they did the tail swap. No one got bumped off of either flight. They don't teach you this stuff in GA school.
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