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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)

Miles Ahead May 11, 15 2:25 pm


Originally Posted by JakiChan (Post 24798894)
The parents threatened an emergency.

And they got one.

sakuraboy May 11, 15 2:30 pm

If the child needed a hot meal why didn't they book a first class ticket that would provide that? Even if only for the daughter and mother.

If the child always needs hot food that family needs to travel with a Dominos Pizza Bag or more realistically a thermos type lunch box. Those will keep food warm for hours.

To me the family seems extremely unprepared.

Tchiowa May 11, 15 2:50 pm


Originally Posted by mrboom (Post 24799853)
This is great PR for United. They kept the plane and passengers safe and they did not bow down to a self entitled mother with piss poor parenting skills.

I am going to fly UA more often now.

I agree. But the media is presenting this as solely a "United discriminates against autistic children" story and ignoring the mother's behavior.

JBord May 11, 15 2:53 pm


Originally Posted by mrboom (Post 24799853)
This is great PR for United. They kept the plane and passengers safe and they did not bow down to a self entitled mother with piss poor parenting skills.

I am going to fly UA more often now.

I think it's more bad PR right now. The articles I've read seem to be slightly more slanted in the family's favor. But I honestly clicked on the link and read the story with an open mind, and my first thought was that UA did the right thing.

The problem now is that UA can't really create good publicity. If they reach out to do something nice for the family, it looks like an admission of guilt. If, after they win the lawsuit, they issue a press release, it looks extremely insensitive. And it's unlikely any media outlet will carry the story when the lawsuit is tossed out, it's not sensational enough.

It's really a no-win situation for UA. UA has terrible customer service, and that's well known. On the surface, many people will read only the headline and think UA is just being UA. The best thing UA can do is try to deal with it quietly.

mrboom May 11, 15 3:03 pm


Originally Posted by JBord (Post 24800033)
I think it's more bad PR right now. The articles I've read seem to be slightly more slanted in the family's favor. But I honestly clicked on the link and read the story with an open mind, and my first thought was that UA did the right thing.

The problem now is that UA can't really create good publicity. If they reach out to do something nice for the family, it looks like an admission of guilt. If, after they win the lawsuit, they issue a press release, it looks extremely insensitive. And it's unlikely any media outlet will carry the story when the lawsuit is tossed out, it's not sensational enough.

It's really a no-win situation for UA. UA has terrible customer service, and that's well known. On the surface, many people will read only the headline and think UA is just being UA. The best thing UA can do is try to deal with it quietly.

Any decent lawyer can paint the mother as her true self and prove that UA followed the safest course of action under the circumstances.

UA should go on a pro safety campaign, although they have had some mechanical incidents recently.

I think UA should ban the mother for life and give the daughter enough miles to be able to travel without her mother when she turns 18. The best thing for the daughter is to get some distance from the mother.

PV_Premier May 11, 15 3:11 pm

Mother needs to pay a visit to channa's "VP of Entitlement Control"

Not enough info to judge about daughter's behavior and UA's decision to divert

Don't care if UA did or did not give her food from F

Find it marginally hilarious that UA pawned this group off onto DL to become "their problem"

MikeMpls May 11, 15 3:32 pm

It's 1196 miles for IAH-SLC, another 629 on to PDX.

So after 2.5 hours with the kid on board & no damage to the aircraft (2/3 there), they diverted 75 minutes short of PDX.

Don't blame the pilot, he relied on his cabin crew for info, but they should fire a few of these idiot flight attendants who cause these diversions. If they don't have the people skills to finesse these situations, they need to find a new line of work.

mrboom May 11, 15 3:44 pm


Originally Posted by MikeMpls (Post 24800247)
It's 1196 miles for IAH-SLC, another 629 on to PDX.

So after 2.5 hours with the kid on board & no damage to the aircraft (2/3 there), they diverted 75 minutes short of PDX.

Don't blame the pilot, he relied on his cabin crew for info, but they should fire a few of these idiot flight attendants who cause these diversions. If they don't have the people skills to finesse these situations, they need to find a new line of work.

When passengers threaten FA's, people skills are not the proper course of action. Policies and procedures to keep the entire flight safe are.

If not for the mother's threats, the outcome may have been avoided.

MikeMpls May 11, 15 3:53 pm


Originally Posted by mrboom (Post 24800314)
When passengers threaten FA's, people skills are not the proper course of action. Policies and procedures to keep the entire flight safe are.

If not for the mother's threats, the outcome may have been avoided.

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.

JVPhoto May 11, 15 4:03 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.

What about the lawsuit to UA and the Mom from the passenger she scratched after UA was negligent in preventing it after the mother made the threat on behalf of the daughter?

mrboom May 11, 15 4:06 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.

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.

DelrayChris May 11, 15 4:09 pm

Piss poor preparation and handling of the situation on the part of the mom. Sorry.

Did she expect anything positive to come out of the, "How about we wait for her to have a meltdown" comment? Autistic meltdowns can be serious.

waxearwings May 11, 15 4:11 pm

The comments on this point have become progressively more insane (but more entertaining!).

I'm sure the next poster will propose burning the mother at the stake to kickoff the additional IAD-CDG route this summer.

For all those angrily and absolutely defending UA, I'm curious about something: Suppose the family had been thoroughly prepared with a hot meal in an insulated bag, and some terrible thief had surreptitiously stolen it from them prior to boarding. If all the other facts alleged by Mom were the same (i.e. family notices no meal, panics, asks to buy hot meal, gets cold sandwich, asks to buy hot F meal, gets rejected, then tells FA daughter might scratch if doesn't get hot meal, gets meal, everyone is calm and happy, plane diverts to SLC), would UA still be justified in diverting?

Diversions aren't supposed to be morality plays. If you think that a mother telling the FA her perceived consequences of what happens when her disabled child cannot eat hot food constitutes a threat (akin to a terrorist demanding something under the threat of violence to those in the aircraft) sufficiently grave to require the pilot to land IMMEDIATELY, then I suppose your perception of risk must substantially differ from mine (and the other passengers aboard the aircraft).

It seems sympathy for UA here has more to do with enthusiasm for punishing a perceived parental failing as it does with identifying a problem the diversion solved.

hiima May 11, 15 4:20 pm

Just read the article and the lady saying "what if she opened an exit door at 36,000 feet" that part made me laugh so hard. I don't think she understands how air pressure works.
If the parents basically made a quiet threat of scratching, then that girl needed to get off. If she scratched another pax, this would've been a whole different story.

mrboom May 11, 15 4:22 pm


Originally Posted by waxearwings (Post 24800477)
The comments on this point have become progressively more insane (but more entertaining!).

I'm sure the next poster will propose burning the mother at the stake to kickoff the additional IAD-CDG route this summer.

For all those angrily and absolutely defending UA, I'm curious about something: Suppose the family had been thoroughly prepared with a hot meal in an insulated bag, and some terrible thief had surreptitiously stolen it from them prior to boarding. If all the other facts alleged by Mom were the same (i.e. family notices no meal, panics, asks to buy hot meal, gets cold sandwich, asks to buy hot F meal, gets rejected, then tells FA daughter might scratch if doesn't get hot meal, gets meal, everyone is calm and happy, plane diverts to SLC), would UA still be justified in diverting?

Diversions aren't supposed to be morality plays. If you think that a mother telling the FA her perceived consequences of what happens when her disabled child cannot eat hot food constitutes a threat (akin to a terrorist demanding something under the threat of violence to those in the aircraft) sufficiently grave to require the pilot to land IMMEDIATELY, then I suppose your perception of risk must substantially differ from mine (and the other passengers aboard the aircraft).

It seems sympathy for UA here has more to do with enthusiasm for punishing a perceived parental failing as it does with identifying a problem the diversion solved.

But that is not what happened. She threatened that her child would become a danger.

The diversion was for the sake of safety, not morality. I applaud safe operations and deplore parents that lack skills and feel it is everyone else's fault for their short comings.

Had the mother properly prepared for the trip or kept her threats to herself and tried to find solutions with the FA's, the outcome may have been different.

The mother's actions are the cause of the incident.


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