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Continental Express (Express Jet): 6-hour imprisonment
 
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  #1  
Old Aug 10, 2009, 8:34 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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OK airline stooges, defend this one.

For those who forgot, Express Jet (again, flying as Continental Express) is the airline that kicked a mother and her six-year old child off the plane for no reason other than the fact that her child wouldn't stop saying "bye, bye plane."

Six hour tarmac delay. Contrary to Continental's lies, the passengers COULD have been let-off the plane!

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/fligh...=68496535.blog
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  #2  
Old Aug 10, 2009, 8:44 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Were you on the flight? If not, you have no business categorizing this as a complaint.
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 8:47 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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Were you on the flight? If not, you have no business categorizing this as a complaint.

You can do better than that! Next!
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 8:54 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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No, Butc, I'm serious. This is a forum for discussion of airline complaints. You were not on that flight so you, personally, have no complaint and therefore no legitimate basis for posting to the complaints forum. There is a general discussion thread if you care to discuss this topic generally. That would have been the appropriate place for you to post this.
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 11:45 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Congratulations PHX on your new job... I would have applied myself if I knew that Airline Complaints was looking for a new moderator.
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Old Aug 11, 2009, 12:39 AM
AADFW AADFW is offline
 
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Agreed Jimworcs. PHX's history of cavalier and grandiose behavior, including relentless and crude attacks on complaintants is clearly documented. Those who have questioned his sanity and credibility are, sadly, very likely on the right track -- especially given the sheer amount of time he spends on this website engaging in petty character assassination and other counterproductive behavior.

It is very clearly in best interests of the board to permanently ban him altogether. I, for one, hope that happens sooner rather than later.
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Old Aug 11, 2009, 2:30 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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I wonder if there is someone on here, who is NOT an airline shill, who can comment on the issue of the passengers not being allowed inside the terminal building prior to 6:00 AM.
OK, there were, allegedly, no TSA people in the Rochester terminal. So there was no one who could, officially, vouch for the fact that everyone remained on the "airside" of the security line--assuming that happened when the passengers, eventually, were allowed off the plane. And, yes, there was some question as to whether clearance would be given for landing at Minneapolis. Still, with all that considered, why wasn't the OFFER to deplane extended to anyone who wanted to. In one tarmac/hostage incident said offer WAS made with the warning "you're on your own" as far as getting to your final destination if you choose to deplane. Even with this kind of warning it sounds like some people would have taken the offer. They were less than 100 miles from Minneapolis and I'm sure someone, who wanted to spring for the bucks, could have, eventually, rented a car to make the remaining portion of the trip.

Finally, the Rochester Airport manager suggests Continental was lying about the TSA "second clearance" issue. Were they?
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Old Aug 11, 2009, 2:50 AM
AADFW AADFW is offline
 
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In the absence of laws inhibiting airlines from engaging in this kind of behavior, I think it would be completely fitting to enact federal legislation that would immunize from prosecution passengers who blow the exits of aircraft upon which they are held hostage for more than a certain number of hours.

Think of it in these terms: if you paid for a Greyhound bus ticket from Minneapolis to Chicago, and the bus driver pulled over to a closed gas station in the middle of the night because the roads became too icy to negotiate, and proceeded to refuse to let any passengers off the bus on the grounds that he did not have permission from the gas station to do so, chances are he or she would be charged with felony kidnapping. If a passenger then attempted to open the emergency door, my bet is that he or she wouldn't be charged with a crime. Why should airline passengers be treated any differently under closely similar circumstances?

It's time for change. Call or write your Congressional representative and demand a passenger bill of rights today!

Last edited by AADFW; Aug 11, 2009 at 2:52 AM. Reason: clerical error
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Old Aug 11, 2009, 3:20 AM
Jetliner Jetliner is offline
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It's interesting that you want someone to respond who's not in a position to. And I say that, because there are other, deeper questions here, that someone who has never been in the business would think or know to ask.

The airport manager is correct. They could have let the people off the aircraft, provided that the people stayed in the concourse. Some airports have a gate that comes down in front of the checkpoint for the night, and nobody can get out. Otherwise, they will have a guard that stays overnight, but in those cases, you can go out, but you can't come back in.

Now, with that said, and the airline being wrong, lying, whatever, there's still an important fact that you left out.

From the story: "That's not the end of it. Adding to the problems for the passengers on Continental Flight 2816: Continental does not serve Rochester, Minn. And, according to the Post-Bulletin, cooperation with Delta which does fly to the airport may have been yet another issue."

By the way, for those who didn't catch this, we are talking about Rochester MINNESOTA, **NOT** Rochester, NY.

Sooooo, what this means is that when the plane arrives, they have to have a gate to go to. And someone to ground handle the plane. It sounds like they had neither. In fact, at the time they landed, there may have been nobody in the airport. Checkpoint gate closed, and nobody, not even a mouse. (which is good because if one of the little ba---ards runs up the landing gear the plane is grounded for a C check - they love to chew wires)

Here's what this all boils down to. It sounds like they came up with the TSA thing before they knew what all happened. I don't know, but certainly the best choice would to have at least said "We don't know yet, we are still investigating."

The bigger problem here that I have to ask is why would they land at Ghost town airport for a diversion??? Although the next closest CO city looks like Eau Claire, WI, which would have been quite a bit further away, so that would tell me that they had to get that plane on the ground NOW for fuel. It's a solid 3 hour flight from Houston to MSP, and the NWS may not have projected bad enough weather for MSP when they left Houston, so they would not have had to have an alternate airport on the flight plan, and hence no alternate fuel. So Rochester may have been that or nothing.

But this brings up something that Kate Hani needs to try to push for, actually 2 things. First, if an airplane needs to divert, they should first try for a city that the airline or one of it's partners serves. However, each airport needs to have an airline, or a couple airlines that, if and airplane MUST divert to that city, the other designated airline can ground handle it. Even with that in place, there would still be issues of no gates to spare at times, but in a case like this, you wouldn't have Delta pissing around about if they were going to help or not.

With all of that, I will say that I agree with PHX to some degree. I understand this is a major complaint, after all, Butch didn't post about some lost bag or something, but at the same time, are we going to start posting every news story that is published about every little thing that goes wrong out there?

I guess I see both sides of this, simply because this is a big deal complaint, but at what point do the floodgates open up where people are just posting other people's war stories?
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Old Aug 11, 2009, 3:29 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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when it comes to incentives for "good behavior" on the part of the airline in tarmac/hostage incidents. Whether that should be the only source of "relief" for a passenger remains to be seen. The proposed legislation allows a pilot to refuse the disembarkation of passenger if he considers doing so "unsafe." Are there pilots who might abuse this exception, and refuse disembarkation when, in fact, it IS safe and make-up a lie to the contrary?

If I'm holding you hostage in my home, it would seem you have a right to break a window, or kick-down a door to escape. But, do you have the right to burn my home down? Likewise, a passenger could be argued as being justified in pulling a "plug"-type window exit, and escaping down the wing, in a tarmac/hostage incident. We're assuming the engines are turned-off! However, if that same passenger causes damage to the wing and/or engine housing, on the way out, is that, likewise, "protected" behavior? Then there's the question of danger/injury to other passengers. If a passenger used the escape slide my understanding is the door can not, immediately, be closed. If such an action happened at just about any of the airports in my state, in the dead of winter, and the airport was closed for the night, the remaining passengers on board could face the real issue of frostbite. Accordingly, does the "escaping" passenger incur any legal liability, criminal or civil, if his actions result in injury or death to the remaining passengers? As to the example of my state: I guess someone would have the presence of mind to call the Sheriff's Office if freezing to death was a real danger!
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  #11  
Old Aug 11, 2009, 4:00 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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Jetliner, I hate to disappoint you, but I am NOT going to confine my references to airline news to press releases from the Air Transport Association ("ATA"). By the same token I think I can avoid using the weekly newspaper, about 20 miles down the road from me, as a source as well. That having been said I think if something makes one of the first few pages of USA Today, or is run by the Associated Press, I think it's safe to say the matter rises beyond a "little thing." You may disagree and prefer to rely on the ATA for your airline news.

Finally I promise to place future posts, of a similiar nature, in the "General Discussion" box. Contrary to what's been said I really don't think that will make much difference to you and your friends on here. Regardless of how severe, outrageous, or illegal, an airline's behavior is, if calling it a "little thing" "mentally ill," "puffer fish," whatever, suits your purpose, you will do so.
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Last edited by Butch Cassidy Slept Here; Aug 11, 2009 at 4:02 AM.
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  #12  
Old Aug 11, 2009, 12:20 PM
bah humbug bah humbug is offline
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As an airline employee, I think this is outrageous. However on the other hand we obviously do not have all of the facts. Being that this is a small apo it really could have been due to the fact that there were no ground crew in the airport. No one to pull the jetbridge to the aircraft etc....
If this is the case, they have no way of letting pax off of the plane. They are not going to just drop the stairs (if they have them....not all planes do) and let people run free on the tarmac. I can be sure when the crew landed there, it was because they HAD to. It has to be an almost emergency situation for a plane to land somewhere they do not service. The crew is completley at the mercy of air traffic control.

The fact that they blamed it on no TSA in the apo is ridiculous. There is no need for screening unless they pass outside of security.
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Old Aug 11, 2009, 4:40 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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However...we...do not have all of the facts.

Again, the link from my original post appears below. I've added a link to AP's version of the story. I don't know if the Air Transport Association has done a press release.

USA TODAY:

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/fligh...=68496535.blog

ASSOCIATED PRESS:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_nightmare_flight
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Old Aug 11, 2009, 11:07 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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The ground handling excuse is bogus. If a plane diverts, for any reason, operations gets onto the airport and negotiates this. It sounds like the airline didn't even discuss the situation with the Airport Manager appropriately. The truth is, it is more hassle for the airline to let passengers off because then when they are ready to depart, the passengers have to be rounded back up and "handled" to get back onto the aircraft. This operational inconvenience drives the decision making of the airline, regardless of the discomfort of their passengers. The making up of lies, such as blaming the TSA is routine for airline employees. Make something up which is remotely plausible and hope the stupid passengers won't find out until you are long gone.
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Old Aug 12, 2009, 2:21 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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The following link contains a statement, from the US Secretary of Transportation, on this incident:

http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot12009.htm

I would think the simple matter of a functioning, or non-functioning, on-board toilet could become an enforcement issue. How "non-functioning" does an airline toilet (assuming there is only one on-board) have to be before it can, reasonably, be considered a health hazard??

Butterfinger--your thoughts?


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Old Aug 12, 2009, 6:07 AM
Jetliner Jetliner is offline
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Originally Posted by Butch Cassidy Slept Here View Post
I think it's safe to say the matter rises beyond a "little thing."
Would you care to point out exactly where I pointed this out? I do believe I did just the opposite.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 4:30 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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STATEMENT BY U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD ON CONCLUSION OF THE PRELIMINARY PHASE OF THE CONTINENTAL TARMAC DELAY INVESTIGATION:

Quote:
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today that his department has concluded the preliminary phase of its investigation into the Aug. 8 tarmac delay by Continental Airlines on a flight operated by ExpressJet Airlines. Passengers were stranded in a plane on the ground in Rochester, MN from 12:28 a.m. to about 6:00 a.m. with only pretzels provided by the carrier to eat.

We have determined that the Express Jet crew was not at fault. In fact, the flight crew repeatedly tried to get permission to deplane the passengers at the airport or obtain a bus for them,” Secretary LaHood said.
The local representative of Mesaba Airlines improperly refused the requests of the captain to let her passengers off the plane. The representative incorrectly said that the airport was closed to passengers for security reasons, which led to this nightmare for those stuck on the plane,” he said.

Mesaba is a wholly owned subsidiary of Northwest Airlines, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.
The representative of Mesaba – the only carrier able to assist Continental at the airport – said that the airport was closed to passengers, apparently because there was no one from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) available to screen passengers. In fact, TSA procedures allow passengers to get off the plane, enter the terminal and re-board without being screened again as long as they remain in a sterile area.

“There was a complete lack of common sense here,” Secretary LaHood said. “It’s no wonder the flying public is so angry and frustrated.”

Members of the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office interviewed passengers, the flight crew, airport personnel and others with knowledge of the situation. They also listened to audio recordings from the aircraft and the dispatcher. In addition, Continental’s customer service commitment, contingency plan for flight delays and contract of carriage were reviewed.

This is one of the most thorough investigations ever conducted by the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office,” LaHood said. The Aviation Enforcement Office is considering the appropriate action to take against Mesaba as it completes the investigation, which it expects to conclude within a few weeks. The Department has proposed regulations requiring airlines to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and to incorporate these plans in their contract of carriage, and asked for comment on whether it should set a uniform standard of time after which carriers would be required to allow passengers to deplane. The findings from this investigation will be used to help formulate a final rule that will provide better protection for airline passengers.

Finally, the preliminary investigation showed that while the crew of the ExpressJet flight did all it could to assist the passengers, more senior personnel within Continental or ExpressJet should have become involved in an effort to obtain permission to take the passengers off the plane.

Last edited by PHXFlyer; Aug 21, 2009 at 4:33 PM.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 4:59 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Continental Airlines Responds to DOT Findings on Flight 2816:

Quote:
HOUSTON, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) Chairman and CEO Larry Kellner today issued the following statement regarding Continental Express Flight 2816 (operated by ExpressJet Airlines), which was subjected to a lengthy ground delay following a weather diversion to Rochester, Minn., on Aug. 8, 2009.
Kellner is responding to the findings of a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) investigation (see DOT news release) that the ExpressJet crew was not at fault and that the local representative of Mesaba Airlines (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines [NYSE: DAL]), improperly refused the requests of the captain to let her passengers off the plane.
"Continental takes responsibility for the care of its customers, whether they are on our regional partners' flights or our own," Kellner said. "We are gratified that Secretary LaHood recognized the crew's efforts to resolve the situation.
"While the result for the customers was clearly unacceptable, it is evident that the ExpressJet crew worked through the night to resolve the situation and was frustrated with Delta Connection's failure to provide reasonable assistance.
"We have processes in place to avoid these situations and those processes clearly broke down in this case. We are working to ensure that doesn't happen again," Kellner said.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 5:23 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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The Department has proposed regulations requiring airlines to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and to incorporate these plans in their contract of carriage,

If such Executive action (or order), as referenced above, came to pass it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, in Congress would try to over-turn this. What is very significant is that we're now past the point of "requesting." We're into "requiring."

It will be very interesting to see how future tarmac delays are handled. What remains to be addressed is the issue of incoming international flights which are diverted. In the case of the latter, I would be surprised if someone could come-up with a rule which says if you land at an airport where Customs And Border Patrol staff are stationed that passengers can not, at least, be allowed to de-plane and remain on the "airside" of the Customs check-point.

And, yes, I was wrong about Continental and/or Express Jet--in this instance. I know I said something negative about Express Jet. Can't remember if Continental was included, but they could have been. Needless to say, however, you can expect me to cut and paste that Continental statement the next time a Continental (mainline) tarmac delay turns to s**t, and the blame can't be shifted onto someone else.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 5:53 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Butch Cassidy Slept Here View Post
What remains to be addressed is the issue of incoming international flights which are diverted. In the case of the latter, I would be surprised if someone could come-up with a rule which says if you land at an airport where Customs And Border Patrol staff are stationed that passengers can not, at least, be allowed to de-plane and remain on the "airside" of the Customs check-point.
I know when weather is an issue at EWR Continental flights often, when they are able to, divert to Stewart International (SWF) in Newburgh. It's not only because of the proximity to EWR (busses can be arranged for the relatively short road trip) but also because SWF has full time customs and immigration officers available should the delay become lengthy and passengers would need to deplane and be processed.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 6:01 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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ExpressJet Responds to DOT Review of Extended Tarmac Delay on Flight 2816:

Quote:
HOUSTON, Aug 21, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- ExpressJet is pleased with the announcement made by Department of Transportation's Secretary, Ray LaHood, today stating the ExpressJet crew was not at fault and in fact, they repeatedly tried to gain permission to deplane the passengers at the airport.
To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click http://news.prnewswire.com/viewrelease.aspx?STORY=MTI3
ExpressJet and Continental have a long standing relationship of cooperation with the Department of Transportation (DOT) on passenger rights. ExpressJet was one of the few regional airlines that voluntarily participated in the DOT's task force on developing contingency plans during extended tarmac delays.
Through knowledge gained by participating in the DOT task force, both ExpressJet and Continental adopted an extended tarmac delay program. As the timeline and digital voice recordings accompanying this release prove, both companies know the program and attempted to follow it. The digital voice recordings and timeline will also be available by visiting the press section of www.expressjet.com.
"Safety of flight must be the top priority for any aviation company. I commend our crew and dispatch personnel for remaining committed to this standard," said ExpressJet President and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Ream.
"However, customer service and comfort is also imperative, and I'm pleased that the DOT findings support ExpressJet's belief that our crew made exhaustive efforts to help customers through this weather event," added Ream....

Link to flight 2816 digital voice recordings and timeline of events.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 11:12 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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The statements by Continental and Expressjet are notable for their absence of any apology to the passengers for what they went through, and also for their failure to make any reference to the following finding within the DOT Preliminary Report..

Quote:
while the crew of the ExpressJet flight did all it could to assist the passengers, more senior personnel within Continental or ExpressJet should have become involved in an effort to obtain permission to take the passengers off the plane.
The poor bloody infantry trying desperately to get some resolution, the Chief's sleeping soundly in their luxury homes with the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Remarkably, both Continental and ExpressJet, in their desperation to shift the blame to Delta (who are a total disgrace, but frankly Delta was doing what Delta does routinely.. ie, treat the passengers like sh*t).... seemed to have overlooked clear criticism of the lack of effective management. The hostages (or passengers as Continental insists on calling them) deserve an apology.

Asking airlines to develop a procedure for handling such delays is not good enough, as this does not have the power of the law. An administrative failure by an airline could result in DOT fines, but this does little to resolve the problems for the hostages. It needs to be against the law for an airline to jeopardise the health and safety of their passengers by holding them hostage for a period longer than three hours. This would then provide both criminal and individual civil remedy for the passengers in the event of the kind of arrogant, couldn't care less attitude that obviously prevailed within Mesaba, Delta and the senior managers of ExpressJet and Continental.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 11:24 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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(CNN) -- -- A poor decision by a regional airline was being blamed Friday for Continental Airlines passengers getting stranded overnight as their plane sat on a tarmac in Minnesota, federal transportation officials said Friday.

Passengers on a Continental flight operated by ExpressJet sat on the tarmac for nearly six hours on August 8.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said a representative of Mesaba Airlines improperly refused requests by the plane's captain and crew to let passengers off the plane. They were stuck on the tarmac in Rochester on August 8 from 12:38 a.m. to about 6 a.m. with nothing but pretzels to eat, LaHood said.

"There was a complete lack of common sense here," LaHood said in a written statement. "It's no wonder the flying public is so angry and frustrated."

Mesaba, based in Eagan, Minnesota and owned by Delta Air Lines, was the only carrier able to assist Continental Flight 2816, which was on its way from Houston, Texas, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, when it was diverted because of strong thunderstorms, LaHood said.

The flight's 47 passengers described crying babies, overflowing toilets and cramped conditions.

According to a Department of Transportation preliminary report, Mesaba's representative refused to help passengers off of the plane, incorrectly saying the airport was closed to passengers for security reasons.

LaHood, who called the incident a "nightmare," said federal regulations allow passengers to get off of a plane, enter an airport and reboard without being screened by safety personnel as long as they remain in a secure part of the terminal.

Mesaba said Friday that its employees tried to help.

"Mesaba respectfully disagrees with the DOT's preliminary findings as they are incongruent with our initial internal review of the incident," CEO John Spanjers said in a written statement. "Because Continental Express Flight 2816 diverted to an airport where they have no ground handling service, Mesaba offered assistance as a courtesy during this delay.

"While the investigation is ongoing, Mesaba is fully cooperating with the Department of Transportation and looks forward to the final report."

Mesaba is a wholly owned subsidiary of Northwest Airlines, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.

Delta CEO Richard Anderson said the airline is working with Mesaba, Continental and the Department of Transportation to help determine exactly what happened.

In the department's statement, LaHood said that the Continental crew was not at fault for the passengers being stuck.

"In fact, the flight crew repeatedly tried to get permission to deplane the passengers at the airport or obtain a bus for them," he said.

Department of Transportation investigators have interviewed passengers, the flight crew, airport workers and others during an investigation expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

The department "is considering the appropriate action to take against Mesaba," according to the statement.

The investigation did show that while the crew of the flight, operated by carrier ExpressJet, did all it could, higher-level officials should have become involved in the effort.

The Aviation Enforcement Office has proposed regulations requiring airlines to have plans for how to handle lengthy tarmac delays.
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 12:16 AM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
The statements by Continental and Expressjet are notable for their absence of any apology to the passengers for what they went through, and also for their failure to make any reference to the following finding within the DOT Preliminary Report..



The poor bloody infantry trying desperately to get some resolution, the Chief's sleeping soundly in their luxury homes with the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Remarkably, both Continental and ExpressJet, in their desperation to shift the blame to Delta (who are a total disgrace, but frankly Delta was doing what Delta does routinely.. ie, treat the passengers like sh*t).... seemed to have overlooked clear criticism of the lack of effective management. The hostages (or passengers as Continental insists on calling them) deserve an apology.

Asking airlines to develop a procedure for handling such delays is not good enough, as this does not have the power of the law. An administrative failure by an airline could result in DOT fines, but this does little to resolve the problems for the hostages. It needs to be against the law for an airline to jeopardise the health and safety of their passengers by holding them hostage for a period longer than three hours. This would then provide both criminal and individual civil remedy for the passengers in the event of the kind of arrogant, couldn't care less attitude that obviously prevailed within Mesaba, Delta and the senior managers of ExpressJet and Continental.
While not a "mea culpa" I think Larry Kellner's statement was sufficiently conciliatory without making a statement that might later come back to bite Continental in the butt once the lawsuits begin. You know how proficient attorneys are at twisting words. I'm assuming and would expect an apology will be forthcoming from Mesaba and Delta. I'm sure that Continental will also offer those involved a refund and some additional form of compensation.

As for the execs not being rousted from their beds, after listening to the recordings of the various radio and telephone communications from that night It's my belief that if Larry himself had called Mesaba, or Richard Andeson for that matter, he would have received the same (and incorrect) answer that the airport was closed, there's no busses willing to drive out to the airport with flash flood warnings in effect, etc. etc... There was management involved who were sufficiently empowered to make the right decisions. Those decisions weren't made and we all know the end result.
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 12:49 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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Asking airlines to develop a procedure for handling such delays is not good enough, as this does not have the power of the law. An administrative failure by an airline could result in DOT fines, but this does little to resolve the problems for the hostages. It needs to be against the law for an airline to jeopardise the health and safety of their passengers by holding them hostage for a period longer than three hours. This would then provide both criminal and individual civil remedy for the passengers

Administrative sanctions would, at least, be a start. Granted, not much of a start. To date, the pattern of the DOT, with respect to fines, has been to impose a large fine, initially. Then, shortly thereafter, the fine is either reduced, or totally wiped-out if the airline promises to be a "good boy," and not do it again. The tone of the Transportation Secretary, in this case, seems to recognize the severe impact upon customers of extended tarmac delays. We can only hope that said tone may signal a less lenient attitude toward imposing fines, at least when it concerns tarmac delays.

I think I can safely say legislation remains the ultimate goal for passenger rights advocates. Hopefully the courts would interpret such legislation as giving standing to one, or a class, of customers in a civil action arising from a tarmac incident.

Jim you must remember that, in America, legislation, on the Federal level, is easier said than done. For one thing, I'm not sure the UK allows the level of campaign donations, and other perks, to MPs, as the US allows to members of Congress. In the case of passenger rights, a big problem is the ability of major airlines, and the Air Transport Association, to, in effect, "buy" a "no" vote on legislation these groups see as contrary to their interests.
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