Pilot walks off plane for wrong meal

 

Old Jul 27, 11, 3:20 pm
  #1  
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Pilot walks off plane for wrong meal

Seriously. So last week on 7/20/11, in the middle of my travels to start my vacation, I'm in seat 1A on UA 472 from DEN to TPA. Everyone is on board, we're about ready to go.

The catering people hand the FA a tray that apparently is the pilot's requested meal. Except the only thing on it is a green salad topped by grilled chicken. She shows it to the pilot who indicates to her that everything else is missing. The FA walks onto the jetway to talk to the catering dude.

Catering dude: "What's wrong with it?"
FA: "Well there's no bread, no dessert..."

(some talk I couldn't hear)

Then they come back onto the plane where Catering dude says "well what did he order?"

FA leans into cockpit and says to pilot, "What do you want?"

Catering dude gets attitude and says, "NO, what was he SUPPOSED to get?"

The gauntlett has now been thrown down. Pilot stands up and exits the plane and stands on the jetway. There is some discussion of the printout for catering. Apparently the grilled chicken salad printed at the bottom of one page, and no one noticed the rest of the meal was on the next page.

I start getting text updates on my phone in 15 minute increments that we are delayed for "aircraft servicing".

Copilot announces a slight delay for "a catering issue".

Pilot continues to stand on jetway with arms crossed. Occasionally he speaks to someone on the phone.

About 30 minutes in, the FA makes eye contact with me and she says quietly, "we should be on our way soon."

I respond, "I'll go back to the concourse and buy his dinner, what does he want?"

FA gets even closer to me and says, "The copilot already offered, it's a pissing match now."

The guy across the aisle leans in and says, "I'll chip in to buy, seriously."

Some people in suits come and talk to various people standing around, while the pilot ignores everyone.

Finally, a vehicle pulls up and two suits come up the stairs to the jetway, followed by a woman in a chef's hat and coat, carrying a full tray. Pilot sees them coming and gets back on the plane. Chef stops just inside plane with the tray, hands it to FA, who takes it to the pilot in the cockpit who apparently okay's it.

45 minutes have elapsed since we were ready to close the doors.

Cali
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Old Jul 27, 11, 3:24 pm
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It's all based on contract ... the caterers screwed up, and too often they get away with it. With pilots working to contract, that will be allowed to slide less and less
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Old Jul 27, 11, 3:26 pm
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What would he have done if discovered this in the air?
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Old Jul 27, 11, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by iluv2fly View Post
What would he have done if discovered this in the air?
I'm sure it's on the pre-flight checklist.
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Old Jul 27, 11, 3:31 pm
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Wow, rightly or wrongly, that just looked bad displaying in front of the customers.
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Old Jul 27, 11, 3:31 pm
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And union members wonder they get no sympathy from the general public. Moron.
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Old Jul 27, 11, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
I'm sure it's on the pre-flight checklist.
Yes, but that part is not printed .
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Old Jul 27, 11, 3:40 pm
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Talk about no compromising... I get the fact the pilot is irked he didn't get his full meal and it can be annoying, but not allowing anything to be done to work around it (i.e. getting an alternate meal or one from the terminal) is just over the top. The pilot was willing to allow the passengers under his care to arrive late over not getting his desired meal.
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Old Jul 27, 11, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by iluv2fly View Post
What would he have done if discovered this in the air?
Probably diverted to a city along the route that had good local eats, reason would be listed as "aircraft servicing" lol.
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Old Jul 27, 11, 4:16 pm
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They served lunch on the flight, to FC. There were extra FC meals. There were also meals for purchase in economy. It's not like the guy wouldn't eat for 3 hours; there was food on the plane.

The FA did say to me at one point, "I can understand his point because he's supposed to get his meal... but... " at which point I said, "but there's the principle of the thing, and then there's 45 minutes over bread and a cookie..."

But hey, I bonded with the FAs, and I'm a girl.

Cali
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Old Jul 27, 11, 4:20 pm
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Unless missing something from the story, the pilot should be fired.
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Old Jul 27, 11, 4:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Roger Lococco View Post
Unless missing something from the story, the pilot should be fired.
You're missing the contractual obligation part. The pilot may have been childish for demanding that the contract be precisely met. But he and ALPA could and would absolutely sue for breach of contract and wrongful termination.
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Old Jul 27, 11, 4:55 pm
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
And union members wonder they get no sympathy from the general public. Moron.
+1
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Old Jul 27, 11, 5:07 pm
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I will try to make this short....and not to hijack the thread....

Back in the 90's, I was working in the Middle East for an airline. My boss (who ran the airline) came into my office and asked if I had time to run the airport and attend the daily operations meeting at 9:00am.

I said...no problem....

So, I go to the airport (20 minute drive from HQ), and we have the usual department heads there and the VP of Flight OPS (which is rare) and the other two stations on the video box.

The topic of delays came up as our BKK flight was delayed for 3.5 hrs the day before and Flight Ops didn't want to take the hit and the flight which got a lot publicity because of the VIP's on-board.

So, after some back and forth, come to find out the Capt that was deadheading to operate to flight out of our other base to BKK got upset and walked off the plane and waited for the next flight to his duty start which caused the delay. He didn't notify anyone he was doing this, because if he did, we would have used a reserve Capt in from the other hub.

The reason he walked off the flight that ended up causing the BKK flight to be delayed for 3.5 hrs....No dates to go with the Arabic coffee pre-departure service in F/C.

Classic...not in the contract BTW for this over there....and guess what..catering did not take the delay and it ended up being Flt ops...

Originally Posted by iluv2fly View Post
What would he have done if discovered this in the air?
Easy...he would have called MEM (which is on the way to TPA), have them go downtown and get some ribs (or since we are talking chicken, make that BBQ Chicken) catered to meet the plane when they land in 1 hour in MEM!!

Last edited by iluv2fly; Jul 27, 11 at 5:13 pm Reason: merge
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Old Jul 27, 11, 5:19 pm
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So when are these guys supposed to eat?

I am assuming they fly several flights a day. Or a couple of legs. If he doesn't get what he asked for, then he is hungry the rest of the day. Den TPA is at least a 4 hour flight. Then they screw up there. Then what. I'm sure that this isn't the first time this is happened to him.

I am a teacher, and often have missed lunch for this reason or that. It does get annoying. And some days if I am really hungry, I make a stand.

I do plead total ignorance of airline operations and pilot work rules. However, I do think people should get the basic consideration of getting to eat during the day. Airline passengers included. LOL.
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