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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)

jhayes_1780 May 20, 15 1:43 pm


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24844929)
It made the national news and was in the major papers (NYT, W Post, WSJ) and travel bloggers have covered it. ABC broke this story. It has gotten wide coverage (more so than some other UA joys like bumping pearl harbor survivors). 200M eyeballs have not seen it, but a lot (particularly on ABC) have. Those stories are favorable to the mom, not so much for our "flier-friendly" friends. UA's media operation is piss poor to let stories like this continue to happen.

IMhO, its not that the story didn't get widely reported (quite the contrary, as you cite... it had some legs). But everyone's 15min are up on the story.

The moment WN had the lady who's husband sent the suicide text.... the media has moved on to that "soup du jour", and the autistic passenger/grizzly mamma is all but forgotten.

You want to go where? May 20, 15 1:52 pm


Originally Posted by jhayes_1780 (Post 24845337)
IMhO, its not that the story didn't get widely reported (quite the contrary, as you cite... it had some legs). But everyone's 15min are up on the story.

The moment WN had the lady who's husband sent the suicide text.... the media has moved on to that "soup du jour", and the autistic passenger/grizzly mamma is all but forgotten.

Thanks. This was really my point. If someone wasn't paying attention during those '15 minutes', ythen they missed it like I did. I really don't think any one of these 'airline done me wrong' stories really influences the public, especially since they happen to all the airlines. People just shake their heads and tut,tut, but when they log on to ExpeKayaPricewire, they just select the cheapest flight that meets their needs. They may be influenced by their own recent good or bad experience, but they aren't likely to be influenced by those reported in the media.

spin88 May 20, 15 2:19 pm


Originally Posted by Miles Ahead (Post 24845331)
According to KOIN, the mother told them that Juliette might "scratch someone". It is not inaccurate just because it doesn't fit your preferred narrative.

Read it more carefully. the worse "someone" is found in some reports, but its not in quotes, and its not what the interviews show her saying.

sloppy reporters (often just copying other reports) change/modify things, which is why one can't rely upon things not in quotes.

The NYT (which actually fact checks things) has what the mom actually said in quotes: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/tr...hild.html?_r=0

As I have noted, from context, i take the mom as saying her daughter would scratch at herself, which is common for autistic kids. I'm not saying the FA did not hear it differently, or take a different meaning, but I see nothing that actually suggests a threat to harm "someone" which would - had it been made - have been more than a little different.

tuolumne May 20, 15 2:28 pm


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24845545)
Read it more carefully. the worse "someone" is found in some reports, but its not in quotes, and its not what the interviews show her saying.

sloppy reporters (often just copying other reports) change/modify things, which is why one can't rely upon things not in quotes.

The NYT (which actually fact checks things) has what the mom actually said in quotes: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/tr...hild.html?_r=0

As I have noted, from context, i take the mom as saying her daughter would scratch at herself, which is common for autistic kids. I'm not saying the FA did not hear it differently, or take a different meaning, but I see nothing that actually suggests a threat to harm "someone" which would - had it been made - have been more than a little different.

From what I've heard, there's a lot more information that hasn't been released in the public domain due to the ongoing investigation / pending-lawsuit. I don't know what it is, but I've been told it doesn't bolster the mothers position.

You want to go where? May 20, 15 2:59 pm


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24845545)
I'm not saying the FA did not hear it differently, or take a different meaning, but I see nothing that actually suggests a threat to harm "someone" which would - had it been made - have been more than a little different.

At this point, we only have the mother stating her recollection of what she said. Absent a recording from the time, we can only speculate what was actually said, what was heard, and how it was interpreted.

To my mind, all the FA has to demonstrate is that based on his/her perception, the decision to go to the captain was reasonable, whether that decision was prompted by was concern for others in the cabin or concern for the child.

The FA does not have to prove that it was the same decision that another person would make, just that it isn't so out in left field that the only conclusion you can draw is vindictive behavior. The captain again only has to prove that the decision from their perspective was reasonable based on what was reported.

dutyfree May 20, 15 3:35 pm


Originally Posted by You want to go where? (Post 24844825)
Frankly, UA is not being 'killed' in the media on this. it was a 24 hour news blip.

In fact, UA has been decimated on the disability rights forums, as well as on the legal blogs and on Twitter, with thousands of tweets calling for a UA boycott. Pundits view the incident as blatant discrimination because the request for a hot meal was reasonable as per the ACAA, which requires accommodations for those with special needs.

There are also multiple witnesses who stated the FA had an attitude problem (which probably led to miscommunication with the pilot). The paramedics left the plane because no medical services were needed. And a witness said the police told the girl's family that she was not perceived as a threat.

As spinn88 points out, it is significant that nobody who was there has come forward to say the mom was out of line, yet several stated that the FA's behavior was "ridiculous." Yes, there is a lot of online banter blaming the victims, but all in all, not a pretty PR picture for UA.

spin88 May 20, 15 3:51 pm


Originally Posted by dutyfree (Post 24845940)
In fact, UA has been decimated on the disability rights forums, as well as on the legal blogs and on Twitter, with thousands of tweets calling for a UA boycott. Pundits view the incident as blatant discrimination because the request for a hot meal was reasonable as per the ACAA, which requires accommodations for those with special needs.

There are also multiple witnesses who stated the FA had an attitude problem (which probably led to miscommunication with the pilot). The paramedics left the plane because no medical services were needed. And a witness said the police told the girl's family that she was not perceived as a threat.

As spinn88 points out, it is significant that nobody who was there has come forward to say the mom was out of line. Yes, there is a lot of online banter blaming the victims, but all in all, not a pretty PR picture for UA.

Thanks for the support, I've been fighting a lonely fight (other than the FTer who was actually on the flight :D). I don't know what the outcome will be, but its not cut and dry, and all of the witnesses in a position to know have said the FA was out of line.

On the accommodation point (which I think is important, if only for optics) here is what AP said:

"The girl had refused to eat at a layover in Houston and had turned down nuts, raisins, a granola bar and Juliette's favorite blue Jolly Ranchers that the family had packed, Beegle said.

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."


That does sound like the UA we know. @:-) And how dare someone every ask United for help, the horror, the horror!

MSPeconomist May 20, 15 3:56 pm


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24845282)
Again, I don't blame the pilot, he is locked in the pointy end, and what he knows is what the FA tells him. Had he not had the passengers removed he would have looked silly, that does not help UA here. Every report says that police and paramedics came on board, found no issue, and were leaving, when the pilot insisted the family leave. Those reports may be wrong, but if they are not, the judgement of the EMTs and police (that there was no threat posed by this family) will be very hard for UAL to overcome if this goes to a jury.

The police and EMTs saw the family briefly and long after the decision to divert. What they observed might not have much relation to what happened earlier in the flight.

beachmouse May 20, 15 4:20 pm


Originally Posted by dutyfree (Post 24845940)
In fact, UA has been decimated on the disability rights forums, as well as on the legal blogs and on Twitter, with thousands of tweets calling for a UA boycott. Pundits view the incident as blatant discrimination because the request for a hot meal was reasonable as per the ACAA, which requires accommodations for those with special needs.

For those not in the disability rights realm the narrative has gone differently. The typical discussion on social media I saw was that the first 15-20% was mostly 'oh the poor family' followed by 'hey, mom may not be the most reliable narrator, read more on the story beyond the 30 second news clip' then a majority of 'well Mom sounds like a nightmare to deal with, and while I think airlines are generally pretty evil, I'm kind of seeing United's point here.'

Often1 May 20, 15 4:57 pm

There is absolutely no requirement that a carrier provide meals for free because some person thinks that hot meals are what make her kid calm down. No different than demanding a free seat in F because your leg is in a cast and doesn't bend.

The FA's and Captain do the best they can with the information they have at hand. They get backed up by the carrier, the carrier gets pilloried a bit and the public moves on to the next story about how insensitive air carriers are, e.g., the diabetic who ddn't get breakfast on the TATL because UA ran out of food before they got to him, but he also never said anything because he didn't make a duss.

cruisr May 20, 15 5:00 pm

First, without going all OMNI, based on some of the stuff I read in the NYT they don't fact check,

Secnd, I was listening to a radio show earlier today that had an appellate court judge as a guest and the host and he were discussing this case. Hopefully his opinion is a majority legal opinion and he said UA did the right thing.

weero May 20, 15 7:34 pm


Originally Posted by rufflesinc (Post 24840934)
Sure, then that person shouldn't even indicated they knew anything.

Entirely agree. What childish attention whoring and then claiming to be 'professional' by not providing anything tangible - that's just wasting the media's and the readers' time.

Originally Posted by greg99 (Post 24841073)
Even your grammar is perfect.

Respect!

:D

In the Age of WhatsApp and FarceBook, I too expected something akin "Ur and mine" ....

Tchiowa May 20, 15 7:47 pm


Originally Posted by cruisr (Post 24846421)
First, without going all OMNI, based on some of the stuff I read in the NYT they don't fact check,

Secnd, I was listening to a radio show earlier today that had an appellate court judge as a guest and the host and he were discussing this case. Hopefully his opinion is a majority legal opinion and he said UA did the right thing.

I agree wholeheartedly on both points.

mduell May 20, 15 7:54 pm


Originally Posted by phltraveler (Post 24843758)
The mom is taking full advantage of her fifteen minutes of fame for sure, but I think a lot of the capability to mitigate was failed on the parents part by failing to inform UA before flight time of their daughter's condition, failing to prepare or otherwise accommodate (e.g. rebooking) when their daughter refused to eat in Houston, failing to fly in a class of service that would ordinarily provide a hot meal, using the threat of scratching (whether in a self-injurious fashion or threat against the passengers), etc...

The failure to advance notify has been mentioned a few times in this thread, but what would the airline do about it? They're not going to change their catering plan based on it.


Originally Posted by spin88 (Post 24844929)
Refusing to warm the chicken sandwich for the family (the one UA sells Hot on "selected flights") is what gets me. Yes, it was not "required" but it was certainly possible. The FA did not want to do something to help, and when the mom explaining the situation did not get the FA to relent.

The one UA "may" deliver hot on "select" flights... odd they instead gave her hot food from a different cabin instead of warming the already purchased sandwich... perhaps warming of the sandwich was not available? Not installed or inoperative equipment? You still haven't posted any confirmation that an appropriate oven (or microwave per your latest posts) was available and operative on the flight. Or it could not be warmed hot enough for the autist's preferences (previously referred to as steaming)?

Hadrian35 May 20, 15 8:14 pm


Originally Posted by cruisr (Post 24846421)
First, without going all OMNI, based on some of the stuff I read in the NYT they don't fact check,

Secnd, I was listening to a radio show earlier today that had an appellate court judge as a guest and the host and he were discussing this case. Hopefully his opinion is a majority legal opinion and he said UA did the right thing.

They haven't reviewed a case (let alone one that's been tried, which is what appellate courts do), so who cares what judge radio personality has to say. Besides all that, a sitting appellate court judge on the radio giving opinions is pretty inappropriate.


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