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Flight delayed after passenger’s suggestion of crew drinking

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A U.S. Airways flight out of Des Moines was delayed four hours Saturday after a passenger made a comment that the crew had been drinking. ( עוד...

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My guess is that the commentor did not want back on that plane with the people he had just held up for hours. Lol
mike lawrence 9
The propriety of a passenger making jokes can be debated ad nauseum. The truth is, there is not clear guideline. We all know you can't say "bomb" on an airplane. It's posted in black and white.

The decision to unnecessarily delay the flight due to an unsubstantiated comment taken entirely out of context assumes a standard that is neither clear nor defined. There is no rule that says you can't interact with the flight crew beyond the professional context of FA and passenger. Let's hope there never is such a rule.

Flying used to be fun. Now, because of misplaced blame for 9/11 and lawyers run amok, we have lost our way and have come to this pathetic situation of CYA to the extreme.

Just one more reason why I haven't taken a commercial flight in 5 years. And counting...
Jason Feldman 5
911 didn't create the CYA attitude - its the PC and out of control law suits. The government wanted more control and used 911 to push their agenda, the patriot act is anything but patriotic. If anything, that document is a victory for those who wish to change our way of life.

Its time we stop using 911 as a crutch for explaining why things are so bad - and start changing it back. I rather live free and run a slightly higher risk of dying than see our free nation turn into a police state. After all, what differentiated the USA from other countries was our emphasis on Freedom above all else. On the Freedom/safety scale - the US was tilted towards Freedom. That is what made it great. Now its tilted all the way toward safety. That is not what the American dream was.

Lets get our freedoms back, one by one... even the ones you may not particularly like, and get our nation back. You either stand for something or fall for anything.

Im not saying we should stop scanning baggage for bombs, that would be foolish, but full body scanners? patting down little children and old grandparents? arresting people for fireworks possession as a felony because its an explosive device? Taking away pilots certificates for flying through a TFR and obviously not trying to use his plane as a weapon since he landed safely!

Doesn't it bother you that our police officers look more like para-military than cops? That they can use the patriot act to spy on phone conversations, track cars with GPS transceivers, all without getting a warrant? CIVIL RIGHTS aren't RIGHTS if they can be taken away whenever the government decides to revoke them. Due process, illegal search and seizure, and being held without bail --- without charges, indefinitely?

Lets stop complaining and DO something about it.

AWAAlum 1
Please don't misunderstand and think I'm belittling anything you said - you're right on so many points. I just couln't help but think America The Beautiful should have been playing in the background while I was reading it. It helps me remember just how much we've lost in the name of progress.
Jason Feldman 1
Thanks - I want our way of life restored. I want to feel proud again. I want to sing our national songs. Today it seems a bit like the dark ages. I hope enough people think the same way and start working together to bring back our beautiful way of life. I know we had problems in the past in that it was not problem free, but it seems as if today there are many more extremely big problems than ever before. things are happening so quickly you can't even keep up. the fall of Lehman Brothers is a perfect example. it should have been studied, And taking our time to figure out a solution. But there was so much going on in so many backroom deals it was impossible to keep up with what was going on and it seemed as if we are accelerating faster and faster than ever before. Laws were passed, thousand pages, signed into law before anyone even read it including those were voting on it. indeed these are scary times, with uncertain future. Unemployment is very high, banks are failing all over the world, there's war all over the place with death and destruction terrorist cells
What happened to us but also what happened to the world.

Progress. What is such a big deal about progress. There is a saying, if something is not broken, don't fix it. Like I said things were not perfect we were not passing large thousands of pages bills in Congress without reading them ever before, or all the other shenanigans that happened with the banking crisis.
AWAAlum 1
Well, progress is essential. Without it there's stagnation. What I was talking about may have been called progress, but wasn't. We're likely saying the same thing, just differently.
Sounds good to me
You nailed it Mike.
Lewis Tripp 1
Misplaced blame for 9/11???
Chuck Me 0
Well said.

I can understand accusing a pilot of being drunk. But a silly comment like that and the test for booze?

Talk about a massive overreaction.
rmchambers 0
Common sense has long been in short supply. Commercial aviation has become something to be dreaded than looked forward to. I don't know how the foreign airlines are since I haven't flown overseas for a few years but I'd like to hope the foreign carriers still have sense of humor AND more common sense than the US carriers.
Harry Thomas 1
rmchambers, you couldn't be more correct. I recently flew commercially for the 1st time in 3 years. I am a student pilot. Whether I am flying the plane or just along for the ride, I love to fly. I have always looked forward to my commercial flights. With all that we hear nowadays about flying commercially, I was dreading it for days. The return flight was delayed 4 1/2 hours due to problems with the plane. Okay, $#^& happens, but flying shouldn't be something to be dreaded,especially by someone such as myself who is as happy and comfortable to be in the air as on the ground.
Claude B. -1
Since that time you flight on your private jet?
Curt Raftshol 7
This is what happens when a nation, as a whole, loses its sense of humor. When the people have been totally cowed by and submissive to authority. It's abundantly obvious to even the thickest dullard that that passenger's joke related directly to the crew rest delay and not that he thought the pilots were inebriated. I am so happy that I was medically retired in 2006 with a minor heart ailment. Flying was a fun job when I started out and was a painful chore after 2001 in the new American police state, where all live in fear, not of terrorism, but of their own government.
Sad but true. I have no real fear of terrorist. Should they strike again we will overcome. Will not overcome the government if we don't get started.
pnschi 1
I don't think it's about the nation losing its sense of humor. I think it's about the nation losing the ability to apply appropriate judgement, because Process demands that judgement be banished.

And for the airline to call this an "accusation" is sickening. It's quiet thuggery. "You make a joke that hurts our feelings, we delay a plane full of passengers for 6 hours."
Harry Thomas 0
Curt-I agree with your statement, except for the end. I don't think we are living so much in fear of the gov't; the gov't has made us live in fear each other.
AWAAlum 0
If we're living in fear of each other, it isn't the government making that happen. We are in charge of our fears and you can choose to be afraid or choose not be be afraid. Being afraid is useless. If a terrorist attack should occur, your fear won't have stopped it. As much as is possible, go back to living the way you always had. It's a much more pleasant choice.
Michael Smith 6
"out of an abundance of caution" I hate this phrase. It's quite often used by stupid bureaucrats (both in the government and in private industry) with no common sense. It was obviously a joke yet because of lawyers there always has to be "an abundance of caution" to make sure there's no law suits.
bobanderson 2
The commnt was not funny. It was stupid. Just like yelling "fire" in a theater is stupid. The guy who made the comment was an idiot. The pilots did what they needed to do to protect their jobs.
Dee Lowry 2
Oh, getting back to the subject with the pax who mentioned the pilot had been drinking. If I, as a Flight Crew member detected that...I would have removed myself off the airplane and would have reported it..A.S.A.P. to the Chief Pilot at the nearest Domicile. And maybe I would have gotten nailed...but if I leave...the airplane is in the "Dog House"! The flight, unfortuneatly is toast. New crew, etc. I agree the guy was way out of bounds and could not substantiate his accusation. Just a post for everybody out your crew! They know what to do and do not joke or make comments that will compromise the Crew or the Flight unless you can prove it. Fly strait and level everybody!
Lewis Tripp 1
You got it Dee.
Dee Lowry 2
Be kind to oneanother. It's so simple for some and so complicated for others. Go figure.
Dee Lowry 2
I wasn't talking about you. I was talking about the flying public. All I was saying is, if everyone treated everyone with respect...the way that you would like to be treated...everything would fall in to place. Happy Pax...Happy Crew. Common Sense has gone out the window. Respect and common politeness will get passengers what they want. And Donna, forgive my lack of "Text" educate.
AWAAlum 1
In an ideal world, Dee. In an ideal world. Thx for the note.
Dee Lowry 2
Donna, I wish it was an ideal world. But it's not. But we as people...if we put out positive energy out there...amazing things can happen.
AWAAlum 1
That was exactly my point.
We can handle our neighbors as the near future will show. Government gone bezerk is harder.
Yazoo 4
I've come close to doing this myself. My guess is that the crew asked to be tested. It's a major legal and media issue. All it takes is even a minor event and the one comment that will be in the news or at court is "...the passenger(s) commented that crew had been drinking." The only thing that has stopped me is the fact that you are going to inconvenience 199 people because of one supposed comedian. What I did do was confront the passenger, very openly, among all the passengers and tell him/her that I will gladly remove myself and be tested unless they recant/retract their statement. I explain that the testing will delay and or cancel the flight. The comedian usually get very serious very quickly.
Crews hate having to pull the crew rest card because they know that they will have a plane full of pissed off passengers in the morning. FAR provide for 8 hours of rest [121.471 C(1)]. The fact that they landed late means that they didn't have a good night before. Probably no real dinner. 8 hours rest does not necessarily mean 8 hours of sleep, although my company at least allows 8 hours behind closed door. That call is made by the Captain. They also did not get any real breakfast and probably won't have a chance to eat for many hours. So it's reasonable to say that they are running on coffee, soda, peanuts and pretzels for a 15-20 hour period. They aren't going to be in the best customer relations mood.
Think of that before you want to be a comedian. Rule 1:A comedian has to know his audience.
Nick Rosato 1
Yazoo, you are right on the money! I have had to do the same on a couple of occasions. All it takes is one minor, unrelated incident, and the issue of flight crew fitness will invariably rear it's ugly head. The jokers back down pretty quickly when you start talking delays, especially on an inbound flight to a hub. Most of the fun has been taken out of commercial flying these days. No jokes about bombs or drinking anymore...
rmchambers -2
That sounds like a wonderful teaching tool to make idiots think twice before accusing (even jokingly) the crew of being under the influence. It would put the burden on the "joker" in front of the eyes of those he would be unduly delaying and I suspect would back away from his "joke" pretty damn fast.

If it wasn't for the fact that you are getting to fly, I don't know why commercial pilots put up with the crap coming down from corporate/FAA/TSA/etc... seems like it would squeeze the fun right out of it.
SootBox 3
Never tell the FA that you'll have what the pilot is having.
Aaron Whaley 2
Happens more often that in reported. My wife is a 30 year veteran of the not so friendly skies. They have had a couple of cockpit crews replaced because of situations where someone made a comment like this. One solution would be to charge the passenger that thinks he is so funny with a civil suit of defamation and loss of income due to the delay. I bet that would put a stop to it very quickly.
Chuck Me 2
Or they can address situations like this with common sense as opposed to a knee jerk "drug test them!" response like we got in this case.
AccessAir 1
Exactly what I was going to say, if such a "joke" resulted in a delayed or cancelled flight in which alleged flight crew was tested and found negative for drugs or alcohol, then the accusing passenger should be held legally and or financially responsible for the outcome. This could be akin filing a false police report...Make the person "think" before they act like an idiot...
AWAAlum -1
I agree but yet have to wonder if a backlash might occur...where if someone definitely smelled liquor on a crew member if they may not say anything for fear of repercussion. I wonder if there's such a thing as a happy medium...tho I can't think of one.
Curt Raftshol 0
Well sure, Donna, if you passed a pilot and he smelled of liquor, then it might be appropriate to mention it to the flight attendants. Of course, you will be inviting the destruction of your travel plans and whole day and those of everyone else. Years ago, an FA said to me, "The capt smells of alcohol" This was before the new age of massive knee-jerk over-reaction. I asked XXXX if he'd been drinking, took a good look at his eyes, he said no. So off we went with no subsequent problems.l
Robert Dotey 1
Past due for a better transportation system. The airline personnel are just to blame as the so called security systems,,, They have no incentive to create a positive experience, they are paid the same it the plane departs on time, or does not depart on time, as an example. Terrorism is a safety concern, but so is walking across a highway, use so caution but do not let the fear create a police state.
Dee Lowry 1
Amen..."Tool Guy"! Hit the nail on the head!!
When flying some things are better unsaid.A joke gone wild that inconvenienced a lot of people.You can be sure that the person who made that comment won't be feeling to go about the result of it for a long time.
One also has to wonder how much it cost the airline also and the missed connections.
Brendan McCormack 1
Do we make stupid comments about bombs? Then why make dumbass comments about the integrity and responsibility of the pilots. A "grown" man should be smart enough to make sure he keeps his big mouth shut when it comes to such issues. Well done USAirways crew. Maybe now, people will think twice before questioning your commitment to their safety.
Pete Schecter 1
typical us airways; the customer is always last. this speaks more to the lack of decision making within operational management than any passenger behavior issues. is there ANYONE left at us airways that likes their job or cares at all about passengers? enough of the us vs them mentality.
Dee Lowry 1
Thankyou "Yazoo"! Flight crews are randamly drug tested for Drugs and Alcohol! Before or after a flight. I, personally, was tested so many times, I was going to have a stamp made with my signature so I wouldn't have to sign the damn papers anymore! We are looking at brutal working hours. Hours differ with Domestic and International Duty Times. And yes...we didn't have time to eat....I would bring along a P&J sandwiches with me because it had a great shelf life! Commenting on the other side of the fence..."Bitchie Passengers can create Bitchie Flight Crews"!! Think about that the next time you fly!!!! I think you will be amazed! Outstanding Flight crews still exsist! It's all about respect!
toolguy105 1
Had something like this happen on a flight from LGA to MIA with a stop in FLL. I was a pass riding employee with my wife headed for vacation. Since the flight was making a stop the flight attendant was asking passengers how far they were traveling. One bright young business man answered Cuba loud enough for the entire cabin to hear. The flight attendant cautioned the passenger that jokes like that weren't funny.

Still several passengers around me were quite upset. Being an employee of the airline I took it upon myself to inform the captain. The captain decided to remove the passenger and have him interviewed by airport police and his baggage located and searched. Fortunately there were only about 60 passengers in total so locating his bags and the bags of his companion didn't take to long.

This was 1972. The Airline was National Airlines. It would be 29 more years before 9/11 though we still had terrorist problems back then that took the fun out of flying.
Claude B. 1
It happen to me 3 weeks ago from a flight from Cuba to Montreal. That guy was poring alcohol to friends to make a party (before departure) it is prohibit for passengers but only if you buy their boose. That guy refuse to stop after being ask from the flight crew. Then the stuwart in chief told him he he refuse to stop he will not flight on this plane. So the security put that guy out.
Passengers didn't want to flight with a guy like that.
It was an Air-Canada flight.
Thanks to the flight stewart.
lucasmccain 1
Senseless reaction to a stupid comment. By reacting the way this flight crew did, they only made innocent people miserable and lost the support of the public. I sure would have hated being a jump seater on this flight and trying to get to work.
Sam Rawlings 1
Well thats better then been delayed because of Fog. That means all the other flights are delayed or cancelled and then everyones stuck in the Airport. Auckland Airport (In New Zealand Next to Australia) currently is clearing the back log still 5 days after the fog left. A 3hour flight from Brisbane (Australia) had an extra 5 hours in the air because of this. It was a small 738 (737-800) so not a very comfy flight.
Larry Toler 1
Not quite. My crappy union contract only paid for wheels up to wheels down. All I got paid for while sitting on the ramp, even with a traffic hold was my measley per diem. But I still enjoyed my job.
jcisuclones 1
Here's a follow-up to the incident.
Brantley Hinshaw 1
Since 9/11 USA is screwed up.....USA Government should evicted all Islam/muslim religious people back to Middle East where they belong. They all are a real troublemaker and pest like a swarm of locust. I am tired of this. USA and non islam countries need to cleanse ethics of all islam/muslim religious back to Middle East. Fire all islam/muslim pilot and workers...they all not allow to work in all airport worldwide and airlines industries.
AWAAlum 1
Has everyone lost their mind? Does this sound familiar: The Statue of Liberty: Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

This is America. We fought for and continue to fight for our freedom. Get over your petty bickering and concentrate on what's important.
Nick Allen 1
Pardon my rudeness, but you, sir, are an idiot. The Islamic religion is a very peaceful religion. It's those extremists who believe Allah (God) wants them to kill anyone of another religion. The U.S. Government is using terrorism (along with other things) as an excuse to become a "big brother." Stop at a traffic light and look up at the pole holding the light. You see cameras in every direction. Next thing you know, you'll step out of the shower naked and you'll find yourself staring at a camera. Trust me, the Islamic religion is not to blame for this, and neither are the Muslims.
Claude B. 0
Your judgment is wrong. Islam/Muslim don't drink alcohol.
Muslims did 911 and started this sh-t. Drink your koolaid.
AWAAlum 1
Generalization is a dangerous thing. Yes, the terrorists were Muslims. That doesn't equate to all Muslims are terrorists, anymore than all Americans are criminals because some Americans are criminals.
I believe the Muslim faith wants all non Muslims extinguished. Everything I have read supports that.
AWAAlum 1
I believe the terrorist cells want that. But the Muslim faith itself is one of peace. The "faith" doesn't want extermination; certain whacked out fanatics do. What you're saying reminds me of the Japanese internment camps of World War II...imprisoning anyone who looked Asian, even if they were American citizens. The relocation of Japanese-Americans into internment camps during World War II was one of the most flagrant violations of civil liberties in American history. And what you're suggesting is frighteningly similar.
Japan like Germany was a country run amok, lead by a couple fanitics. Read of the Muslim faith and it's religion is not of peace. It is a religion of domination in everything I have read. If you are not Muslim you are unfit. If you love em that's fine with me.
AWAAlum 1
It isn't that I "love em" James. I just have a problem with generalizations, that's all. Just think if more felt as you, it would be ethnic cleansing all over again. To me, that's unjust to the extreme. If you don't agree, that's also fine with me. It's what makes the world go 'round, right?
You betcha babe. I don't want to cleanse anyone. Just don't want to mingle. I been around a long time and have learned everyone can't be your friend. Have a nice nite. I am.
AWAAlum 1
Glad to hear it - party on, toots. signed, babe
Ric Wernicke 1
I love a joke as much as anyone,,,but at the airport jokes about security and safety have no place.

I believe US Air should have properly informed passengers the reason the crew was delayed. The crew arrived late and the law requires a rest period before they can fly again.

What should have happened was an automated call could have been sent to all passengers stating the reason the flight would be delayed. When you are truthful with passengers and ask their understanding, everyone feels better.
JJ Johnson 0
Airlines communicating with Passengers about flight delays and why? That's like asking Congress to balance the Federal Budget. Ain't going to happen. A flying passenger has as much chance finding out the truthful reason for a flight delay as a fart in a whirlwind. Commercial flying is fast and safe but the overall experience going and coming through the airline system sucks terribly.

The TSA, the food, the dysfunctional airports all across America, the antiquated Air Traffic control system that hiccups at the first sign of a raindrop along with grumpy flight attendants and gate agents has turned the entire flying process into an experience akin to eating stringy non-chewable green beans
Fried green beans aren't bad...
Green beans are not beans. The're hulls. Lol
Paul Claxon 0
Why don't you hop a Greyhound !
John Krepp -1
A compulsory breath test at sign on for crew would avoid this.
rmchambers 1
Yes it would, that whole presumption of innocent until proven guilty notwithstanding eh?

IS this what the country has stooped to?
katty wompus 0
This is a finalist in "The stupidest thing I have ever heard" competition.

Might even score the Bronze medal.

The Airline knew why the crew was late. No one smelled alcohol. No mention if the crew was "disheveled" in any way. 4 hrs. for DMPD to breathalyze a few people??
Ian Hughes 0
So great there is a new way to bring the industry to a stand still, no need for any device just your mouth. What happens if such activities are now planned?
ken young 0
I would have punched that guy dead in the face.
Dee Lowry 0
I'm not having a difficult time!!! It's reality!!!! Are you in the "Ozone"??? Technology is going faster than we are!! And people, first...get frustrated...then they get angry...then they fy off the handle! It's a given! Just a suggestion....just go with the flow and be patient and if you can be respectful and polite!
AWAAlum 1
I wasn't being disrespectful or impolite to you Dee, and I resent your tone. Perhaps you should just ignore my posts.
Dee Lowry 0
Maybe I should Donna...because you are not making any sense! And you don't know what my tone are just perseving what my tone is. I'm very calm and you never walked in my shoes for over 30yrs! By the way..we were successful in Colorado with the fires!

[This poster has been suspended.]

If I was in the bar I would probably buy them a few rounds. Lol
Paul Claxon -1
Who ever made the call to test the crew should be fired.
Maybe it was the crew.
mark tufts -1
the fool upset the attendants and other passengers plus he also made the pilots mad as the pilots didn't have much shuteye as they were late arriving at the airport the night because of a flight delay
Dee Lowry -1
Donna, I'm all about progress and aviation is an amazing thing but "people" can't or refuse to keep up! They want it to be like it was before! Not going to happen! Basically, anymore, it's all about "me"!! Doesn't matter what kind of transportation you're on...nothing one does is good enough! And all these people just love to bitch and it makes one's journey almost, if not unbearable!

AWAAlum 0
I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time.
Curt Danielson -5
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Joke delays Des Moines outbound flight for 6 hours.

A passenger who joked about a tardy flight crew having been out drinking the night before set off a series of events that delayed an outbound flight for hours. It was later determined after drug and alcohol screening that the pilots had not been out and the flight departed 6 hours later.

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