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-   -   UA Pilot Diverts to Remove Autistic Child From Plane for Safety Reasons (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/1678775-ua-pilot-diverts-remove-autistic-child-plane-safety-reasons.html)

pruss2ny May 11, 15 8:32 pm


Originally Posted by dutyfree (Post 24801464)
According to the passengers on the plane (including one on this thread), the girl never threatened anyone. What happened, in fact, was a miscommunication between the FA and the pilot. This was apparent when the paramedics boarded the plane and asked who had been scratched. A over-the-top reaction according to multiple witnesses.

a number of anti-UA posts (in regards to this issue) refer to other passengers' opinions as proof that UA over-reacted

again i think many pro-UA comments all agree on the same thing: this ceased being a cust service issue the moment the mom threatened a meltdown with assault/scratching (if u didnt see that, pls spend 2 seconds researching the issue...the mom's own words)
that other passengers defended the girl (altho some didnt) is irrelevant. play make believe...imagine there was a whispered threat of more specific/credible violence....wud we be arguing about the feelings of the other passengers if they werent privvy to the specific threat?

there is no common sense in a tube at 35k feet...just rules and protocol...and there are clear rules/protocol when even a whisper of a threat is made....liability trumps common sense

(and w/ the emergency responders comments...their hope in that scenario is to diffuse any potential situation which is accomplished most efficiently by making the target feel as tho they are sympathetic)

Analise May 11, 15 8:34 pm


Originally Posted by MatthewLAX (Post 24791941)
Difficult issue, but I would not be so quick to slam UA...

Couldn't agree more. I'd like to learn United's side of this including the timeline of deciding to make the emergency landing. The mother admitted that her child could indeed harm other passengers by scratching them if she doesn't eat a hot meal. The mother's threat of the physical harm her child could incur on others right there makes me side more with United as they can't risk having their passengers or crew harmed.

JakiChan May 11, 15 8:39 pm


Originally Posted by mduell (Post 24801584)
Would they be hot enough for the autist's preferences? Is it even a food the autist would consider consuming? It's all speculation.

The mother made it clear any hot food would do.

tom77346 May 11, 15 8:39 pm


Originally Posted by MikeMpls (Post 24800370)
Ja, the nuclear-tipped daughter was a real threat, I'm sure.

There's just not a heck of a lot a 15-year-old autistic girl can do that would actually endanger anyone.

You obviously have never been around a 15 year old autistic girl who has gone ballistic...My autistic granddaughter who is 11 can kick her father and my collective behinds when she is "unhappy". FWIW she can go from 0 to 60 and back in 5 minutes...appear to be happy and then go ballistic all over.

I don't see how UA could have done anything differently.

invisible May 11, 15 8:46 pm

I think one of the issue which was never discussed in this 12 pages is that today (in US) once one gets into airport and beyond, rules and logic applicable to normal life stops there and you enter into very special world where anything and anybody is considered as a threat.

cerealmarketer May 11, 15 9:05 pm

That meal they gave her was probably the pilots meal. And that brought the situation home for the cockpit.

Strange they didn't just try to heat the sandwich in the first class oven.

PMUA plane so no ovens in the rear galley yet? I thought i asked that in a prior thread and they had actually installed them.

Weatherboy May 11, 15 9:05 pm

Title is Wrong
 
The mods should fix the title to this thread from
"UA Pilot Diverts to Remove Autistic Child From Plane for Safety Reasons"

to

"A Pilot Diverts to Remove Mother-of-Autistic Child From Plane for Safety Reasons"

halls120 May 11, 15 9:09 pm


Originally Posted by drowelf (Post 24800988)
This incident made the ABC World News tonight. No real details in the 45 second story, but they did have a statement from the mother and some footage of the police on the plane and a few seconds of passenger comments from someones cell phone video. Apparently she is now suing United.

The story slant was not favorable to United.

Of course it isn't. Poor parent vs. big corporation, you know how the story is going to be played.

But in this case, UA doesn't deserve the blame some want to bestow.


Originally Posted by mrboom (Post 24801135)
The FA's primary responsibility is the safety of the passengers. I do not care of the FA did not cater to the mother in a manner acceptable to her or other ignorant passengers.

I am pleased the FA focused on the needs of the many over the selfish mother.

The mother's lack of planning should not become anyone's emergency.

^^


Originally Posted by DL2SXM (Post 24801449)
it seems that UA's answer is always to divert and let someone else deal with the issue at hand. UA needs to better train its flight attendants and pilots. Apparently Delta had no problem flying the young girl and her family back home, shame on UA. United definitely could have done more to comfort this family and to ensure they made it home...with this, they epically failed. Shame on this UA flight crew.

I disagree entirely. Shame on mom for not being better prepared, and not making advance arrangements with United.

twb3 May 11, 15 9:10 pm

Having read the mother's account from her own Facebook page, I think she made the decision to be removed from the flight the instant she told the FA that her daughter would start scratching (a physical assault) if she were denied the hot food that her parents had neglected to provide for her. The UAL cabin crew and Captain made the only decision possible after being threatened (and it was a threat) with violence.

I am also unmoved by her complaint that the Captain made the decision to divert and remove the possibly disruptive passenger without entering the passenger cabin. The place for the Captain is on the flight deck.

Pilot in command authority (14 CFR Sec. 91.3) isn't an abstract concept - it's the law.

TWB

saneman May 11, 15 9:11 pm


Originally Posted by mrboom (Post 24800453)
UA has to act on all threats, real or perceived, to protect the safety of the crew and passengers.

End of story. Again, safety trumps all.

Again, if not for the mother's threats....

The mother should learn to keep her pie hole shut and learn better parenting skills for the sake of her child.

Again, we have become a nation of cowards if FAs can't handle a situation like this. Once again, if you make the girl sit between the parents with a seatbelt, how the hell is she going to scratch another passenger? Hell, if it imeans, one of the FAs have to be close by for the remaining hour of the flight, so be it to avoid inconveniencing the other passengers with a detour.

I get annoyed when some people keep talking about "threats" and "safety" for such minor stuff. Get up on a greyhound one of these days and your head will explode if this minor stuff scares you so much.

I agree the mom should do a better job of prep work before the flight asking the staff for advice and giving them a heads up. But this wouldn't make me fear for anyone's safety.

leonidas May 11, 15 9:12 pm

Pilot probably got mad that the girl ate his meal, and diverted the plane.

I think that lack of common sense is the biggest threat to flyers today. Every person is seen as a potential hijacker/ terrorist/ troublemaker. Airline staff have zero compassion now. They are just doing their job mindlessly.

MSPeconomist May 11, 15 9:15 pm

If I were sitting in front of a fifteen year old autistic girl on a DL or UA flight, I wouldn't want to listen to howling during the flight, not would I want to assume the risk that she would lose control and scratch my face badly (or bite me, pull my hair hard, etc.). She just needs to unbuckle her seat belt and stand up to attack me. A fifteen year old kid can be strong physically, especially if she's out of control.

ADDED: It's not the FAs job to sit next to the kid to try to keep her under control, even if that would be better than her sitting next to or between her parents.

saneman May 11, 15 9:19 pm

The key thing is the passengers in the vicinity seemed fine with tolerating the girl the rest of the way. So any fear that the person in front of her could get scratched was minimal. The mother was indeed kind of dumb for mentioning that. The only dissenting opinion came from a drama queen who didn't have a good view of what was going on and decided to inject herself to get some excitement in her life. How the hell would this girl even be allowed to in an exit row? So why would she be a danger to open the exit door?
And yes, I do know it's not the FA's job to stay near the girl, but if she or he is so paranoid that this girl might not just scratch herself, but someone else in another row, then it may be worth it to avoid inconveniencing the other passengers who certainly don't appreciate having their journey delayed.


Originally Posted by mrboom
I am pleased the FA focused on the needs of the many over the selfish mother.

Mr. Boom, Judging by the reaction of passengers, it looks like more preferred to get to their destination faster and put up with the girl. So much for the needs of the many. And nowhere did the mom say the girl was going to scratch strangers. You never heard of such kids scratching themselves when nervous or out of their element?

Again, I agree with those that say the mother seems a little too entitled. She should have used a more apologetic tone when requesting hot food instead of acting like it is a regular request. Sheshould have said something like she was sorry for imposing this on them in the spur of the moment but sometimes despite their best efforts, things dont' get accounted for with such kids and could they help out with some hot food. "

cerealmarketer May 11, 15 9:24 pm

Here is the Facebook account from the mother

https://www.facebook.com/donna.m.bee...16056981803855

Interesting she says she is a Platinum.

She also claims to have asked for more basic things like chips for sale before mentioning the scratching reaction. How those weren't available is puzzling.

Odd situation all around. Experienced flyer - and child who is also no stranger to travel.


Originally Posted by twb3 (Post 24801727)
Having read the mother's account from her own Facebook page, I think she made the decision to be removed from the flight the instant she told the FA that her daughter would start scratching (a physical assault) if she were denied the hot food that her parents had neglected to provide for her. The UAL cabin crew and Captain made the only decision possible after being threatened (and it was a threat) with violence.

I am also unmoved by her complaint that the Captain made the decision to divert and remove the possibly disruptive passenger without entering the passenger cabin. The place for the Captain is on the flight deck.

Pilot in command authority (14 CFR Sec. 91.3) isn't an abstract concept - it's the law.

TWB


HeatSeeker May 11, 15 9:31 pm

I ultimately think everyone overacted - with the exception of the child that was deemed a threat.


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