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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)

Martina70 May 17, 15 11:58 pm


Originally Posted by greg99 (Post 24831207)
That being said, the parents and what seems to be a substantial portion of the Autism community are claiming that this was somehow a situation that was entirely of UA's making (see., e.g., from Mom's FB post):


They are choosing to completely disregard any possibility of comparative negligence on the part of the parents for the situation that ultimately led to the diversion.

This is the part of the situation that troubles me.

*All* of us on this board (at least any of us who actually fly UA on a regular basis) know that UA customer service can be atrocious and that there are offensive UA employees whose primary skill seems to be taking a bad situation and making it worse. It's entirely possible (perhaps even likely) that this is the case here.

BUT - to disregard the parents' clear responsibility (at least in part) for what happened on that flight on the basis of some imagined conspiracy against people with a medical condition is offensive.

Greg

This mother really offends me for a couple of reasons...that even if she was given 'bad service' (and no. I don't think being refused the availability of first class offerings as bad service)

a) she has taken the position that it was because her child is autistic, they were denied service -despite that no one else in coach was given the 'privilege' of which she was denied

b) that she should have been given this opportunity to order from first class because her child is autistic

c) that eccomy passengers being refused first class service is a crime against poverty

d) the poverty activist had no issues of pulling the DYKWIA card and informing the FA of her platinum status in the hope that it would get them to yield to her demand for first class amenities

e) the poverty activist who just took her family on what has to be a costly excursion to Disneyworld and claims that her and her daughter are well travelled is also claiming systematic discrimination and classism.

spin88 May 18, 15 12:10 am


Originally Posted by Martina70 (Post 24831433)
This mother really offends me for a couple of reasons...that even if she was given 'bad service' (and no. I don't think being refused the availability of first class offerings as bad service)

a) she has taken the position that it was because her child is autistic, they were denied service -despite that no one else in coach was given the 'privilege' of which she was denied

b) that she should have been given this opportunity to order from first class because her child is autistic

c) that eccomy passengers being refused first class service is a crime against poverty

d) the poverty activist had no issues of pulling the DYKWIA card and informing the FA of her platinum status in the hope that it would get them to yield to her demand for first class amenities

e) the poverty activist who just took her family on what has to be a costly excursion to Disneyworld and claims that her and her daughter are well travelled is also claiming systematic discrimination and classism.

I have no idea where you are getting any of this from, certainly not any article who quoted her. If ABC is to be believed, she bought a warm BOB sandwich to try to address the issue, it arrived cold. FA was not helpful, then and only then she asked to "buy" a FC meal. I provided the link above, if I am incorrect in my summary of the situation, please explain how.

I can recall several years ago on a lunch flight, FA asked us if anyone was not eating or would give us their meal as there was a elderly person who they were afraid was having a diabetic issue, and they wanted to give them a meal. Several of us volunteered. Generally in my experience people are nice, ok most people are nice. Its sad to me that rather than trying to fix difficult situations some people use them as an opportunity to let their inner scrudge out, try to show how much smarter they are.

I will leave responding to your effort to equate this mother to the Bolsheviks to others. :o

greg99 May 18, 15 12:15 am


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24831395)
I strongly disagree that there is any evidence in the ABC piece or otherwise that the mom did a bad job of prepairing.

Since you're responding only selectively to other posters' comments and ignoring others (including mine), let me ask you these two questions specifically:

Did the mother say in her FB post (https://www.facebook.com/donna.m.bee...16056981803855) that "Juliette will not eat cold food"?

Did the mother pack warm food?

If the answer to the first question is "yes" and the second question is "no," (by the way, those *are* the answers) then I'm comfortable saying that the mother did not do a good job of preparing to travel with her daughter.

If you think that the mother failing to pack warm food when she knew her daughter hadn't eaten and wouldn't eat cold food constitutes good preparation, then we're never going to come to a common ground as to how this should have been resolved.


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24831395)
I'll let this piece speak for my view, it says it better than I could: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...autistic-child

...

I ask you to read the Psch Today piece and ask is what that author talks about is partially driving your views.

I'll spare you the effort and quote what I'm guessing you would think are relevant passages from that article:


There is always a peanut gallery of harpies who are ready to pounce on victims and lecture them about how they have to take responsibility for all the many, many rules they broke and all the things they woulda-coulda-shoulda done differently. Rarely do they find fault with powerful people in positions of authority, no matter how out of line those authorities behave.

They blame the victim in order to make themselves feel safer: That bad thing happened to that person because that person did this and this and this wrong. I, on the other hand, would never make those mistakes, and so "that bad thing" will never happen to me. This is sometimes referred to as false empowermentódeluding yourself into believing you are more powerful and infallible than you really are.
The answer is, no, I don't identify with that, and I think the article is pablum.

It's not blaming the victim when the "victim" takes to the public press claiming effectively that (a) UA hates children with autism disorder, (b) that UA was somehow obligated to provide her daughter with warm food, and (c) that UA had acted illegally, and (d) suggesting that this is somehow akin to class warfare against the poor, without (e) acknowledging any form of responsibility for her daughter's situation.

The article of your pop psych article is correct that we all make mistakes, especially as parents. What we don't all do is go to the media and point fingers at other parties in hopes of making a political statement, all the while trying to avoid any semblance of parental responsibility.

Greg

fastair May 18, 15 1:28 am


Originally Posted by greg99 (Post 24831207)
The one person who is blameless in this situation is the daughter. It was clearly a horrible experience for her, and I'm saddened by the thought that she went through what was an incredibly uncomfortable experience.

I wasn't there, but just reading mom's FB post, it didn't sound like it was a horrible experience for the daughter, far less clearly horrible. It appeared from mom's own post that daughter was fine, watching a Disney flick with no knowledge of the battle her mother was fighting. Remember, this is a professional activist. look at her FB posts on other things. It's nothing against her, but she is an activist who tries to sway people's opinions by ostracising them or giving them a guilt trip. I take everything with a grain of salt when dealing with any activist as they will try to make most little things into big things. I mean how long did she say she kept trying to get the flight attendants to do what she asked? I think it was 40 min before she then made a threatening statement about her daughter assaulting other passengers.

The world needs activists. Aircraft in flight don't. Back on the ground at the gate with the door open, be an activist, at 30,000 feet, wrong place to try to make a point. Unfortunately, she is being rewarded for doing so. Not quite the level of MSbP, but not far from it either, especially if her daughter did nothing disruptive but mom made it out to be as if she was going to.

Unfortunately, none of us really know the daughter, none of us know what she is likely to do or is capable of. The crew didn't know either, mom said that she might commit assault against other passengers, maybe that was a realistic outcome, maybe it wasn't, but unless it was realistic, it was the wrong card to play (unless of course you wanted to make an issue for your cause, which she has now done) if it was realistic, then who could fault the airline from diverting. Disability or not, go onboard a plane, fly away, and tell the crew that there is a very realistic possibility that your family will start assaulting other passengers. Make no mention of a disability. Most likely, they will divert. So a claim of discrimination is off base. When they treat people the same regardless of protected characteristic, it is not discrimination, but equal treatment. Equal treatment is the absence of discrimination, not the presence of it, so she needs to throw that word out and find a different avenue.

spin88 May 18, 15 1:45 am


Originally Posted by greg99 (Post 24831465)
Since you're responding only selectively to other posters' comments and ignoring others (including mine), let me ask you these two questions specifically:

Did the mother say in her FB post (https://www.facebook.com/donna.m.bee...16056981803855) that "Juliette will not eat cold food"?

Did the mother pack warm food?

If the answer to the first question is "yes" and the second question is "no," (by the way, those *are* the answers) then I'm comfortable saying that the mother did not do a good job of preparing to travel with her daughter.

Yes, and she also says that she would not eat any of the food they had brought, which is internally inconsistent, otherwise they would not have brought it. Mom bought a chicken sandwich (per multiple reports) which turned out to be not hot and FA would not warm it. The sandwich is designed to be served warm:

"Chicken & Swiss Focaccia $9.49

Tomato focaccia with chicken breast, Swiss cheese, arugula and roasted tomatoes

May be served warm on select aircraft"

That would have been a quick fix, but evidently the FA was not going to do this to fix the situation.

But my real question is - given that I have kids - how exactly was the mom supposed to keep the food warm. Was she supposed to being a microwave, plug it in? Perhaps the oven? How about a MSR stove? :o

As the article I cited to suggests, you are simply Monday morning quarterbacking. This was an issue that any good FA would have quickly solved, and it appears (from the overreaction) that this FA did not want to help solve it, then went on a power trip.

When the DOT raises a stink (they will per the ADA), and no passengers support UAs view - BTB, I'm still waiting for all of those links to the legions of folks on the plane who heard/saw a threat - I've not seen them in any report I have run across, United will fold like a cheap suit.

And the really funny thing that United in the past has trumpeted its work to help autistic kids fly:

https://hub.united.com/en-us/news/co...th-autism.aspx

Guess that good PR is sort-o-shot-to-hell... ;)


BTB, for the many posters who keep insisting that on her FB page the mom said her daughter would scratch "someone" well that - and the news reports saying that, is flat out wrong. Here is exactly what the mom said: "Frustrated I said, after she has a melt down and tries to scratch in frustration, will you help her then?" https://www.facebook.com/donna.m.bee...16056981803855

BTB (again) - and so far not one has posted a link to any passenger hearing/seeing a threat - not a single one.

pruss2ny May 18, 15 7:01 am


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24831300)
If she was a danger or made a threat, she is removed, and finds her own way home. .. It is very clear that United put her on a DL flight, signed over her ticket. They could only do that if they decided she was not a threat. I seriously doubt that if United had concluded she was a threat that they could legally just dump her on DL.

p.s. this being FT, home of the pedantic, AS also flies it....

1. touche on flight schedules SLC/PDX but in fairness AS has 1 codeshare on a cr700 + 1 other nonstop v 5 nonstops/day on Delta .... so i think u are allowing that it makes sense if she gets dropped on another flight, its likely Delta

2. i think i get where u are coming from now (altho still disagree)...u seem fixated on whether or not the girl was a threat. "the legions" of evil posters (myself included) who align w/ UA are focused on whether or not a threat was made.

think alot of us "siding" w/ UA feel the mom's statement (to the effect of 'if she doesn't get a hot meal, will u help me once she has a meltdown and starts scratching') is simply defined a threat of potential violence against the girl and/or other passengers safety.

> since the mom is quoted as having allowed she said it in numerous interviews, i don't think there is any reason to respond to the request to prove that a threat was made
> if u don't view that statement as a threatening statement, then i think thats where we go off the rails

JBord May 18, 15 7:38 am


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24831699)
BTB (again) - and so far not one has posted a link to any passenger hearing/seeing a threat - not a single one. Oh well.


After reading all your posts, it seems to me the only new argument you're introducing to this thread is whether or not the mother's statement can be interpreted as a threat.

It's a valid point. If she didn't make a threat, I would be much less sure of UA's action and position. We read the statement, which the mother said she made, but we don't have the context. Was she crying hopelessly or was she snarling angrily? I might not consider the former as a threat. Words can mean different things.

Based on what I've seen, I interpret it as a threat, however small and unlikely it may have been. So did the FA, and reported it to the captain. As much as we can all agree that UA's customer service could use improvement, I don't think that a decision to divert is something flight crews easily arrive at. I typically fly ~90 segments a year and have been lucky enough to have only diversions for weather. I've seen medical problems on board, I've seen disruptive passengers (obviously not the cockpit-rushers, but more similar to the "howling" autistic child in this case), and I've seen people argue with a flight attendant. But never a diversion for any of those situations.

The pilot thought in this case a diversion was appropriate, based on the FA interpreting the threat.

I'm just not ready to jump to the position that a threat was not made, when in my experience, it takes a lot to cause a diversion.

You can believe the "witnesses" who stuck around to support the mother and give their quotes, as the mother asked them to (as seen on video), while the UA supporters likely just left the situation alone and went to their next flight. I suspect that if this ever gets to the stage of sworn affidavits/testimony, we'll see a much different story from passengers.

So, was it a threat or not? That's really all that's left to discuss at this point, and I don't know that we'll arrive at a definitive answer here. The other stuff doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if the mother was prepared, if the daughter ate a meal at IAH, if the flight attendant was polite or snarky about the meal he brought, if the daughter was really going to have a meltdown or what that would consist of. All that matters is was a threat made or not. After that, the captain has to make a decision on how to best respond.

weero May 18, 15 8:49 am


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24831101)
..I do put stock into what at this point multiple witnesses who were in earshot have said..

Any source that they were close enough and could assert that the mother positively made no threat? That all sounds intriguing.
Nothing else matters and no one, not even the UA employees claim that the daughter posed a threat.

I don't see that as a threat, perhaps you do, [B]but not a single passenger has come forward to back up the FA's version
It is not so much just a version. So you are certain that the FA lied and no threat was made? Do you have a an idea what the motive was given the major inconvenience of a diversion? Qui bono?

But not a single poster on this thread has bothered to address the fact that - having interviewed people - UA then put her on a DL flight! No way they would do this if they did not think the FA overracted.
Later. That was after the situation was assessed on the ground. I see not the slightest conflict or contradiction there. Also do not forget that UA could not have taken them themselves, so they had to find alternative transport.

.. I can tell you, the airlines don't pass on dangerous passengers to other airlines.
Of course they do. Even real threats. The BNC guy who beat up an entire SQ crew on the way here also was handed to QF.

United's actions speak louder than any words their PR department can invent.
I agree. And I applaud this crew for seeing thing through. Well done UA.

LaserSailor May 18, 15 9:38 am


Originally Posted by JBord (Post 24832548)
So, was it a threat or not? That's really all that's left to discuss at this point, and I don't know that we'll arrive at a definitive answer here. ....



...... After that, the captain has to make a decision on how to best respond.

The only thing that matters was did the FA perceive it as a threat. We will never reach understanding of that here.

Once the FAs are calling the front cabin on any passenger conduct issue, a diversion is imminent if you aren't close to destination.

MSPeconomist May 18, 15 9:42 am

With all the current hysteria about exposure to the blood of strangers, someone could interpret a statement even that one will make oneself bleed as a threat to others. Blood could also put an aircraft out of service for a while.

mduell May 18, 15 11:08 am


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24831699)
Yes, and she also says that she would not eat any of the food they had brought, which is internally inconsistent, otherwise they would not have brought it. Mom bought a chicken sandwich (per multiple reports) which turned out to be not hot and FA would not warm it. The sandwich is designed to be served warm:

"Chicken & Swiss Focaccia $9.49

Tomato focaccia with chicken breast, Swiss cheese, arugula and roasted tomatoes

May be served warm on select aircraft"

That would have been a quick fix, but evidently the FA was not going to do this to fix the situation.

Did this flight have the appropriate equipment and was it operable at the time? I think there's a reason they stuck the "May"/"select" in there.


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24831699)
When the DOT raises a stink (they will per the ADA)

I suspect the DOT is well aware the ADA doesn't apply to air transportation, per the statutory text.

theddo May 18, 15 11:31 am


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24831699)
The sandwich is designed to be served warm:

"Chicken & Swiss Focaccia $9.49

Tomato focaccia with chicken breast, Swiss cheese, arugula and roasted tomatoes

May be served warm on select aircraft"

That would have been a quick fix, but evidently the FA was not going to do this to fix the situation.

So she purchased something which may be served hot. Perhaps she should've asked the FAs first.

phltraveler May 18, 15 4:31 pm


Originally Posted by theddo (Post 24833759)
So she purchased something which may be served hot. Perhaps she should've asked the FAs first.

From an ABC article:


Beegle said Juliette wanted a hot meal, so Beegle bought a chicken sandwich on the plane and asked the flight crew to warm it in a microwave. The crew refused, she said, telling her the sandwich would get soggy.
It seems like the most probable reason the sandwich was not warmed was that the aircraft did not have sufficient equipment to properly warm it...

Additionally, via another article:

“I asked the flight attendant if they had anything hot, because Juliette is very particular about her food,” said Beegle. “If it's warm she won't eat it, if it's cold she won't eat it, it has to have steam rolling off of it.
So the sandwich merely being warmed per the description in Hemispheres magazine (again, which "may" be "warmed" on "select" aircraft) isn't sufficient apparently, per the mother.

greg99 May 18, 15 4:38 pm


Originally Posted by phltraveler (Post 24835311)

“I asked the flight attendant if they had anything hot, because Juliette is very particular about her food,” said Beegle. “If it's warm she won't eat it, if it's cold she won't eat it, it has to have steam rolling off of it.”

So the sandwich merely being warmed per the description in Hemispheres magazine (again, which "may" be "warmed" on "select" aircraft) isn't sufficient apparently, per the mother.

How has the family successfully flown in the past?

Even when I fly intercontinental F on good airlines (i.e., not a US carrier), I still don't get food with steam rolling off of it.

How can it possibly be UA's fault that they didn't have steaming hot food in Y on a domestic flight?

Greg

LAXOGG May 18, 15 4:45 pm


Originally Posted by LaserSailor (Post 24833133)
The only thing that matters was did the FA perceive it as a threat. We will never reach understanding of that here.

Once the FAs are calling the front cabin on any passenger conduct issue, a diversion is imminent if you aren't close to destination.

Agree......end of story. This is clearly not another OJGate


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