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United Flight Attendants Blackmail Flight 49 BOM->EWR!

United Flight Attendants Blackmail Flight 49 BOM->EWR!

Old May 17, 12, 5:51 pm
  #1  
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United Flight Attendants Blackmail Flight 49 BOM->EWR!

Tonight on the UA flight 49 from Bombay to EWR a group of 5 flight attendants refused to board after a 3 hour repair delay unless they received guaranteed overtime pay and other benefits including additional days off from UA.

I personally witnessed the entire showdown which lasted an additional 2 hours. The captain, passengers, and even the other flight attendants were in shock at what was happening. These 5 ladies decided they wouldn't board unless they received their list of demands hostage style!

They knew there was a cutoff time afterwards they legally could not fly and so they held out the 2 hours making all kinds of demands to UA head office. When the 2 hours expired the captain was forced to cancel the flight! But even he didn't have the heart to announce it and some poor local Bombay ground crew had to break the news and deal with the aftermath.

I have approx 700,000 lifetime miles and I've NEVER seen anything like this. Is this blackmail? Can they be fired?

Thanks to them I'm missing my surgery tomorrow.

[Moderator edit per FT Rules.]

Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; May 18, 12 at 12:29 am Reason: Please see above.
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Old May 17, 12, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by spiceflyer View Post
These 5 ladies decided they wouldn't board unless they received their list of demands hostage style!
Welcome to FlyerTalk Hopefully a moderator will be along shortly to move this to the UA forum.

I'd be curious what the F/A contract says on these situations. Maybe they didn't need to fly at all with the delay and had to waive some contract items which they would not do.

Any UA flight attendants able to shed light on the working hours?
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Old May 17, 12, 6:30 pm
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All five f/a should be immediately terminated and forced to pay their own way back to the US.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; May 18, 12 at 4:46 am
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Old May 17, 12, 6:33 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
All five f/a should be immediately terminated and forced to pay their own way back to the US.
Even if they're working within the terms of their contract? I'm not sure the F/A's are the bad guys here if they're within their contract rules.
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Old May 17, 12, 6:34 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
All five f/a should be immediately terminated and forced to pay their own way back to the US.
Their union will protect them.
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Old May 17, 12, 6:39 pm
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It is possible the OP only has one side of the story . . .

. . . but if they're simply refusing to work until they're paid more/get more benefits that is indeed a fireable offence. If you want a raise there are the proper ways to get it.
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Old May 17, 12, 7:12 pm
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What's the flight time from Bombay to India?

You waited until the day before surgery to take a trans-Atlantic flight? I hope it was cosmetic/optional. Even so, very odd planning.

Let say I'm a bit skeptical. UA "head office" negotiating with employees disrupting their business? Hmmm.
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Old May 17, 12, 8:50 pm
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Although I did once fly on a UA plane that we were waiting for to arrive at LGA and they said it had just taken off and would be there in 15 minutes or so. Puzzled I asked where it was coming from and the answer was Kennedy. That is sort of like flying Bombay to India I suppose.

FL49 is BOM-EWR. Possibly an editorial judgement on Newark.

Last edited by J.Edward; May 18, 12 at 1:59 am Reason: update VBB/quote
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Old May 17, 12, 8:58 pm
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well the flight was cancelled for whatever reason.
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Old May 17, 12, 9:03 pm
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http://www.flightstats.com/go/Flight...lightNumber=49

All times BOM:
10:17pm: Estimated Gate Departure Changed From 05/17/12 11:10 PM To 05/17/12 11:54 PM

12:31am: Estimated Gate Departure Changed From 05/17/12 11:54 PM To 05/18/12 12:45 AM

12:42am: Estimated Gate Departure Changed From 05/18/12 12:45 AM To 05/18/12 12:55 AM

1:02am: Estimated Gate Departure Changed From 05/18/12 12:55 AM To 05/18/12 01:15 AM

1:31am: Estimated Gate Departure Changed From 05/18/12 01:15 AM To 05/18/12 01:30 AM

2:01am: Status Changed From Scheduled To Cancelled

Looks to be like a 3 hour delay total before cancellation ?
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Old May 17, 12, 9:42 pm
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This is a very interesting story, I think it would not be hard to check the flight record and even ask UA for comments, if the OP can provide the flight number and date as well as something clearer than "Bombay to India".

We can't pass judgement on the FAs without knowing the full story and knowing the legislation governing strikes in the US (at least I don't know it). Strike is a right. Someone would have to see whether the strike was in conformity with legislation, and what their trade union thinks about it.

Once I was in Italy and the train stopped at a mid-way station as there was a strike. The train people were so kind to drive me and my former girlfriend to another town to help us make our way. They were very apologetic and took the opportunity to explain why they were striking. They were within their full right to strike, even though it really f--ed up our plan, but still, it was an interesting experience and I don't blame them for striking within their right.

Airline staff get paid far too little in most countries. It's good to travel the world, have a nice lifestyle, and that's why it attracts good people and you have so many good people in the airline business. But the salary is not enough... So I don't blame them for striking especially if they do it according to the rules (which may or may not have been the case), although it's extremely annoying for passengers -- just like volcanic ash or terrorism threats are also annoying.
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Old May 17, 12, 10:03 pm
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Originally Posted by welltravelled88 View Post
We can't pass judgement on the FAs without knowing the full story and knowing the legislation governing strikes in the US (at least I don't know it). Strike is a right. Someone would have to see whether the strike was in conformity with legislation, and what their trade union thinks about it.
The UA flight attendants union has not called for a strike vote or approved a strike. In fact, they just signed a new contract with UA a few weeks ago. They are negotiating right now for a blended contract with the CO flight attendants which will ultimately have both sets of flight attendants flying under one contract.

This flight was probably operated with a Continental crew, though, so the contract in play is the one signed with Continental flight attendants.

This is all about the flight attendants contract and working hours/conditions in that contract.

Originally Posted by GadgetFreak View Post

FL49 is BOM-EWR. Possibly an editorial judgement on Newark.
That's listed as a 15 hr 40 min flight. Add on 3 hours and it becomes 18 hrs 40 min. There has to be a cap somewhere as to how long a flight attendant duty day can last and where they waive applicable sections of the contract or additional benefits come into play for a longer duty day.

The OP said there was a 3 hour repair (18 hr 40 min duty day) followed by 2 hours negotiation (20 hr 40 min duty day). There has to be a cap somewhere where the flight attendants say "enough".

Last edited by tom911; May 17, 12 at 10:50 pm
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Old May 18, 12, 12:10 am
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sorry i wrote this at 4am there were a few typos...

flight was bombay to newark.

passengars arrive at 9pm as it takes 2 hours to get through the mumbai labyrinth. 5 hours later it was cancelled at 2am

crew did great job to fix plane... the 5 holdout flight attendants were UA people. the continental crew and pilots boarded and pleaded with them to get on the plane.

they should be terminated in my opinion.

flight is UA 49 on May 17th which was scheduled to depart at 11.10pm.

for anyone who has flown mumbai/newark you know the hassle it takes to even get to the gate.

we were stuck at the gate beyond the last security check from 10pm to 2am.

again the ground crew, pilots, and staff all did an incredible job to get the plane operational after a long delay due to battery failure. finally at about 1am the plane was fixed the crew and pilots and marshals boarded to prep the aircraft but these 5 UA flight attendants held out in the gate hallway calling the home office demanding pay raise, extra days off, and other stuff.

i'm sorry i'm biased obviously but c'mon this is a very dangerous precedent if these ladies actually get away with this.

Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; May 18, 12 at 12:25 am Reason: Merge consecutive posts of same member.
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Old May 18, 12, 12:31 am
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As this is a specific UA incident, please follow as the thread moves to the Consolidated United Forum. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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Old May 18, 12, 12:39 am
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I didn't think there was any crew mixing yet. In fact, I've not heard of it. So saying they're UA people is likely not correct. Since they haven't worked a joint contract, I'm guessing they can't work together.
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