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-   -   UA Pilot Diverts to Remove Autistic Child From Plane for Safety Reasons (

NewportGuy May 11, 15 9:35 pm

Originally Posted by HeatSeeker (Post 24801813)
I ultimately think everyone overacted - with the exception of the child that was deemed a threat.

If you saw the video of how the girl acts if she doesn't get the hot meal (or perhaps other things too?), and keep in mind this is at 35,000 feet in a sealed tube with 150 crammed in on top of each other with no way to escape, I'm not sure you can call much here an overreaction.

SPLITTERZ May 11, 15 9:36 pm

Originally Posted by leonidas (Post 24801744)
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.

I don't think I have seen such an ignorant post.

MSPeconomist May 11, 15 9:42 pm

The Facebook essay doesn't seem very literate. For something so important that will obviously be read by many people, it's not prepared very carefully in terms of punctuation, etc.

I googled to find her bio and according to what's posted on her consulting firm website, she's "a highly experienced National (sic) public speaker" with a Ed.D. degree from Portland State University.

Miles Ahead May 11, 15 9:49 pm

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist (Post 24801844)
I googled to find her bio

She says she's the only member of her family who hasn't been incarcerated.

At least up to now.

KRSW May 11, 15 11:43 pm

What!?!?! No hot meals in Y? The girl's 15 years old! It's been well over 15 years since a hot meal was served in domestic Y. And what did these parents expect the plane to do if there wasn't hot food on board? Pull over at the nearest McDonald's?

I'm 100% with United on this. Hell, they even UPGRADED the family to a Delta flight!

I'm sorry, but if you have special needs, you need to make the special accommodations for it. You can't expect anyone else to. I've traveled while pretty damn (months-to-live) sick, and you better believe special diets were part of it. I made my own accommodations for it and managed.

relangford May 12, 15 12:48 am

Seems like both sides erred. The mother said IF (repeat, IF) her daughter could not have some (ANY) hot food, she MIGHT (repeat, MIGHT; rerepeat, MIGHT) act up. An intelligent/conpassionate/thoughtful FA would have at least considered getting some (ANY) hot food rather than "NO!". OTOH, the mother escalated the situation by being overly dramatic (never a good thing when FAs and pilots are involved). It seems at least some of the co-passengers felt UA seriously over-reacted when there was only 1/3 of the flight left and they would have been home. Apparently, there were no problems on the DL flight (maybe they had some hot food on board), just as there had been no problems from PDX to MCO and from MCO to IAH.

FireEmblemPride May 12, 15 1:13 am

Sounds like the overreaction of the century by UA.

Steve_19 May 12, 15 2:19 am

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.

I've seen several posts saying the girl could not endanger anyone....not sure what this means...does she have the strength to kill an adult (who in theory is stronger, has more height, weight advantage)? Most likely not.

Does she as out of control teenager have the ability to scratch, claw, punch, kick, bite? I would say so.

Some of the posters here seem to thing because the girl cannot strike a fatal blow it's all fine.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist (Post 24801844)
The Facebook essay doesn't seem very literate. For something so important that will obviously be read by many people, it's not prepared very carefully in terms of punctuation, etc.

I googled to find her bio and according to what's posted on her consulting firm website, she's "a highly experienced National (sic) public speaker" with a Ed.D. degree from Portland State University.

liars figures, figures lie.

I have led numerous meetings at my work to colleagues across the globe. I guess I am a highly experienced International public speaker :)

mrboom May 12, 15 3:42 am

Originally Posted by saneman (Post 24801766)

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. "

The other passengers that sided with the mother are likely not frequent travelers, did not hear the threats from the mother and are ignorant of FAA and airline rules and regulations. So their opinion weighs little since this was a matter of safety, which is always black and white

kmersh May 12, 15 5:54 am

I had dinner last night with one of my best buds and golf partner who as his day job is an airport police officer.

He says all the time that Gate Agents/Flight Attendants/Captains and the TSA all too easily call the police over matters that could be handled without the intervention of the Police. He says all the time the he is called to situations which are silly and do not in anyway represent a security risk and most times he tells everyone to just calm down and get over it.

In this case he felt United decided to divert due to fear of what this girl might do and the Parents who know her best and might be able to explain to the crew what if anything the girl could do became no longer reliable when Mom made the threat. Would he take an enforcement approach absolutely not and when he wrote up his after action report he would write it up as a Medical Issue, NOT A SECURITY one.

That is his opinion and he feels Airline Employees and the TSA find it easier to call the Police rather than attempt to handle issues themselves. Whether he is right or wrong, I honestly do not know, but wanted to share an Airport Law Enforcement Employees point of view.

JVPhoto May 12, 15 6:06 am

Originally Posted by saneman (Post 24801766)
The key thing is the passengers in the vicinity seemed fine with tolerating the girl the rest of the way. . "

An airplane is not a democracy with universal suffrage.

hopingtofly May 12, 15 6:31 am

Sounds like the FAs were annoyed with the mother and overreacted by having the flight diverted. However, I think the mother needs shoulder some of the blame. My impression is that she threatened a meltdown to get what she wanted, which worked but ultimately backfired. I have a 16 year old with Asperger's so I'm not entirely unsympathetic, but hopefully she'll think twice before implying her daughter could become violent in the future.

wolf72 May 12, 15 6:37 am

Look, the captain made the right call. It seems things were not good between parents and crew and it was wrong for the mother to make a statement that her daughter might go into meltdown and might start scratching.

But why do american flight crews have to be so rigid in how they treat people and how they handle these situations? It's a small to microwave the meal at least.

The attitude of some, and I say, SOME, not all, flight attendants sometimes leaves a lot to be designed on UA. The amount of attitude you get from's just really disappointing.

This should not have become an issue but if the FA had been a little bit more helpful and also a little bit more graceful, this would not have happened.

I think UA made the right call on this..but this should not have escalated the way it did.

Batfink2001 May 12, 15 6:48 am

Good to see most sensible people are supporting UA here - It seems very clear that the parents were in the wrong and are now looking for a payout - disgraceful, really.

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