February 5, 2009

When Communication Goes Bad

I stumbled across this story while browsing, about 3 US Airways flight attendants being sued by their First Officer for defamation. The reason? He feels that by reporting him for being reluctant to de-ice the plane that the FAs have defamed his professional character.

I feel that there is more to this story than is being reported. However, a couple of points can be taken from the story.

* No matter if the FAs were correct or not in asking for de-icing, they WERE DEFINITELY CORRECT in reporting their concerns to the flight crew

* Any pilot worth his/her salt will investigate a concern raised by any member of the crew

* In my opinion, the FO possibly didn't explain WHY he felt that de-icing was not necessary- I feel this is why the FAs were so insistent that something be done. (Also the FAs would have been well aware that the Canadian regs state that NO frost or ice may be present for takeoff- hence their insistence on repeating their concerns to the flight crew.)

* If the FO had not sued the flight attendants, no one would know about it! The FAA had ruled inconclusive on the case, therefore why should he think there would be any damage to his reputation? No accusations of wrongdoing were made by the FAA.

* I am very lucky in that in my years of flying I have NEVER been turned away with ANY concern by ANY member of a cockpit crew. I hope I never will, either.

As with anything reported in the media, take it with a grain of salt, as I'm sure there is more to it, but the reminder is the same. If FAs feel concern for the safety of the flight, SPEAK UP!!! And Flight Crew- if you feel the concern is invalid, don't just say, 'Oh it will be fine' - tell the FAs WHY it will be 'fine'.

Then maybe we can avoid this type of situation altogether.


  1. Oh hell, when will they learn that ego comes after professionalism ??? I have had on numerous occasions/or witnessed (in 10 months flying might I add, not long really) the displeasure of reporting something unusual and got either some laughs over the interphone or some "we'll take your information, but we won't do anything with it" kinda attitude. It is not rare for Flight crew to take our judgements very lightly... When the shit hits the fan in the next event they will blame us for not informing them. Too bad, they will be the first ones to plow into that mountain !

    On the other hand I have had some very pleasant/professsional techies that explain thoroughly an incident or event.

  2. You're fortunate to have a job where they do listen to you!

  3. There certainly IS more to this story than reported. The FO and FA had a former relationship. Dunno if they were actually married or not, but obviously their parting of the ways was less than amicable.

    In a non-related story, some criminal charges have been filed re a plane crash at KTEB three years ago. Conflicting reports about whether the flight crew were charged. Plane was overweight.

  4. Hmmm me thinks team work was not used in this case when everything working needs everybody to work as a team so things go smoothly!


Pick up the interphone, make your announcement!