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Repeated waves of passengers wanting to abandon delayed flight ---> crew time-out

Repeated waves of passengers wanting to abandon delayed flight ---> crew time-out

Old Feb 7, 20, 9:41 am
  #1  
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Repeated waves of passengers wanting to abandon delayed flight ---> crew time-out

Thursday’s 999 EWR-BRU had the perfect storm
of “...”

first the initial plane had a mechanical issue causing us to need to swap planes with a delay until after midnight.

then when midnight came around there was still no sign of catering.

we finally boarded the plane closed the door and did the safety speech. This is where it goes from “normal” annoyances to “what just happened”

doors are closed and a passenger rushes up and demands to be let off the plane. After a bit of back and forth they bring the jet bridge off and let him off.

they close the door again and go through their checks. Then another group of 4-5 demand to be let off.

so again we go back. Captain makes an announcement that if we have to do it again the crew will time out so leave the plane if you want.

they get off the plane we close the door. Jet bridge goes back. Another 5-6 people decide they want off.

crew timed out. The entire plane is up in arms and angry at the disembarking passengers. The whole thing was just so surreal.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 9:48 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by jp12687 View Post
Thursday’s 999 EWR-BRU had the perfect storm
of “...”

first the initial plane had a mechanical issue causing us to need to swap planes with a delay until after midnight.

then when midnight came around there was still no sign of catering.

we finally boarded the plane closed the door and did the safety speech. This is where it goes from “normal” annoyances to “what just happened”

doors are closed and a passenger rushes up and demands to be let off the plane. After a bit of back and forth they bring the jet bridge off and let him off.

they close the door again and go through their checks. Then another group of 4-5 demand to be let off.

so again we go back. Captain makes an announcement that if we have to do it again the crew will time out so leave the plane if you want.

they get off the plane we close the door. Jet bridge goes back. Another 5-6 people decide they want off.

crew timed out. The entire plane is up in arms and angry at the disembarking passengers. The whole thing was just so surreal.
Wow. Just wow.

Last year I was flying SFO > EWR and we circled over EWR in a 767 for very nearly 3 hours before diverting to IAD for fuel. At that point my trip was going to be in vain so I called GS and re-booked myself back from DCA > ORD the next morning instead of EWR > ORD the next day. In the process of trying to deplane (the jet bridge had already been hooked up) the purser actually held me at the door for probably 15 minutes saying she wasn't sure if she could let me off the plane. Eventually she consulted the GA who had brought the bridge out and that GA looked frantic and said "you do realize you can't make him stay on the aircraft if the jet bridge is connected right?" I wasn't upset at all because obviously this was all WX-related and the crew was super professional/good in the midst of it but I was curious what the actual rules were if the jet bridge hadn't been connected. Must have been insanely frustrating for both passengers and crew/ops. Crazy.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 9:52 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by jp12687 View Post
doors are closed and a passenger rushes up and demands to be let off the plane. After a bit of back and forth they bring the jet bridge off and let him off.

they close the door again and go through their checks. Then another group of 4-5 demand to be let off.

so again we go back. Captain makes an announcement that if we have to do it again the crew will time out so leave the plane if you want.
At some point can't you just say NO?
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Old Feb 7, 20, 9:59 am
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
At some point can't you just say NO?
Maybe a slippery slope when still at the gate - but I would also be livid at the 3rd set of passengers wanting off the plane after the pilot specifically made an announcement. I suppose he could have said - this is the last and final chance to leave the aircraft. I don't know - for all I know there is some passenger right to leave the plane while still at the gate.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:07 am
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Must have been absolutely maddening. People are just ignorant and self absorbed sometimes. Looks like you guys made it in almost 9 hrs late, but at least you got there (small consolation).

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL999
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:10 am
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
At some point can't you just say NO?
so during the delay the captain actually had me come up to talk to him. Apparently until the parking break is released you have to let people off cause you can’t “Keep them hostage”

I get that. But the 3rd set of passengers was just too much. People were actually screaming at them as they got off the plane. It was wild.

to their credit the crew (all 3 sets) were super professional. There’s nothing they can do about super selfish passengers.

the best part was in the 3rd set one of the passengers telling me “united cost me 4 nights of hotel”

I looked him dead in the eye and said “you caused that. You could still go”
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:18 am
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What happens to these passengers’ checked luggage in these situations?
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
At some point can't you just say NO?
In this day and age of social media!?! Anyways legally the answer is a definite no to that question...
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by ARR72 View Post
What happens to these passengers’ checked luggage in these situations?
that’s why we hadn’t pulled the parking brake for groups 2 and 3.

they were still waiting on a crew to pull the luggage.

flights can’t fly with luggage onboard without a passanger
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by ARR72 View Post
What happens to these passengers’ checked luggage in these situations?
It has to be off-loaded. It's illegal for flights outside the USA to carry the luggage of customers who decide not to fly on that plane - for obvious reasons.

This is why, if a passenger wants to leave the plane and has checked luggage, it often takes quite a long time to find his or her bag - they usually know which container it's in, but that only helps a little. Count on 30 minutes unless you are lucky.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:30 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by jp12687 View Post
flights can’t fly with luggage onboard without a passanger
Specifically, because this was an international flight, and the passengers deplaned voluntarily, positive passenger-bag match (PPBM) applies, and they have to leave the plane. The airline is free to transport your bags without you, provided that it's for their convenience, not yours.

(Also, there is no PPBM on domestic flights, as the fact that each bag is screened via x-ray is considered sufficient. Please don't ask why that's sufficient for flying from EWR to SFO but not from EWR to BRU ).

Sorry to hear about your experience. I would have been livid at the third group of passengers also.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:50 am
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Any particular reason so many people were bailing from a transatlantic flight after boarding? Missed connections or...?
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:50 am
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Originally Posted by jp12687 View Post
so during the delay the captain actually had me come up to talk to him. Apparently until the parking break is released you have to let people off cause you can’t “Keep them hostage”

I get that. But the 3rd set of passengers was just too much. People were actually screaming at them as they got off the plane. It was wild.
Wow. That's absolutely unreal. The worst I've seen was an EWR-SFO which finally cleared its mx delay when a pax got up and demanded to be let off. They disarmed the door to let the pax out, and it promptly failed to re-arm, so we took another hour of delay.

Originally Posted by cv11nyc View Post
In this day and age of social media!?! Anyways legally the answer is a definite no to that question...
No, it sounds like the answer was "they can refuse after the brake has been released". Which is reasonable, and half the question I was asking.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by Continited View Post
Any particular reason so many people were bailing from a transatlantic flight after boarding? Missed connections or...?
“religious reasons”
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Old Feb 7, 20, 11:00 am
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I've had that happen about a decade ago. Once we did leave the plane had to divert to a closer airport so the crew wouldn't time-out. Fear of flying is the reason, and no, you can't stop it.
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