Skip

Detained on a plane?
February 16, 2007 9:25 AM   Subscribe

If I was on one of the jetBlue flights that sat on the tarmac for nine hours and I demanded to be let off the plane, isn't it against the law if they detain me?

After reading about Wednesday's SNAFU with jetBlue, I got to thinking...if I was on one of those planes, I'd probably demand to be let off after 3 hours or so. How is it legal for them to keep me detained? What would happen to me if I just pulled the emergency slide and left?
posted by flyingcowofdoom to Travel & Transportation (75 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I seem to recall that disregarding the instructions of a flight crew member is a federal offense. So, if they tell you not to leave, and you do, seems like they would have grounds to arrest you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:28 AM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


They might let you off if you feign a panic attack, but you are not getting a refund and your luggage is headed to your original destination.
posted by caddis at 9:30 AM on February 16, 2007


You may want to read this too which is a news story today about pushing for a passenger bill of rights.
posted by vacapinta at 9:32 AM on February 16, 2007


Yeah I agree with you - I'd probably be in jail but at least I'd be off that damn plane. I would call the local press and everyone I could from my cell on the plane claiming I was a hostage. I would lie about medical conditions, everything to get the hell off that plane.
posted by thilmony at 9:32 AM on February 16, 2007


You would probably be arrested. Not that this would stop me, personally. I wonder how quickly you could open one of those doors?
posted by tkolar at 9:33 AM on February 16, 2007


They might let you off if you feign a panic attack

Apparently not...
He said one woman on his flight broke down about three hours into the wait, had a panic attack and locked herself in a bathroom for more than an hour.

"She was just sobbing. She was inconsolable," said Farrell, a real-estate executive who lost a day's work as flight attendants joked about the overtime they'd make, he said.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:34 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wondered about this, too, on a short flight I took at Christmas. They had to "reboot" (their words) the plane a few times, which put us in darkness for ten minutes each time , and then a random engine repair, and then they had to de-ice the wings.

Of course, this put us pretty far back in the take-off lineup, so it added about two hours. Two hours wasn't that big of a deal to me since it was already late in the evening.

But what if? "Excuse me, ma'am. There appear to be a lot of problems with this plane and I'd appreciate being let off now."

And then what?
posted by jon_kill at 9:36 AM on February 16, 2007


Yeah I'd joke about how I was not only going to sue the airline, but the employees, and I'd joke how much the legal fees will eat up their overtime pay even if I don't win.
posted by thilmony at 9:37 AM on February 16, 2007


So I talked to my friends about my scenario, and they said you probably wouldn't be let off unless you created a stir among the passengers, in which case the full weight of the law would probably come down on you.

For the person upthread who said you wouldn't get a refund, that's interesting. I kind of see the plane-ticket as a contract. I pay 400 dollars or whatever and you provide me with a seat on a plane that'll arrive where we agreed at the time we agreed on. If you were sitting there for nine hours and your weekend get-away became an inordinate waste of time and money, you might just get to thinking the airline was in breach of contract.

What is the usual method of compensation when the plane is late? Well, the flight crew and passengers gets crankier. I guess that's something. What if they put you down in another city? "Well, we don't care about when we get you there, so it's only logical we shouldn't care where 'there' is."
posted by jon_kill at 9:41 AM on February 16, 2007


caddis,

If you think they'd remove you from the plane and keep your luggage on the flight, you must be crazy. If a passenger is removed, so too is their luggage. Welcome to the post 9/11 world.
posted by seinfeld at 9:45 AM on February 16, 2007


I don't think it takes much to pop open the emergency exit hatches...besides, who's going to arrest me on the tarmac? I'm betting I'd be inside that airport and mingled with the chaos before anyone noticed.
posted by flyingcowofdoom at 9:50 AM on February 16, 2007


@seinfeld: re: luggage removal as well -

handy!
posted by bitterkitten at 9:52 AM on February 16, 2007


I kind of see the plane-ticket as a contract. I pay 400 dollars or whatever and you provide me with a seat on a plane that'll arrive where we agreed at the time we agreed on.

A plane-ticket is a contract, but it doesn't include getting to where you're going at the time you agreed on. The actual conditions are included with the ticket, read them and see.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:54 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


jon_kill - i also think of an airline ticket as a contract, but one that includes you agreeing to follow their rules.

If you demand to be let off the plane in mid-air, should they land immediately? I know it's not the same thing, but in the airline's mind, maybe it is.
posted by clh at 9:54 AM on February 16, 2007


This is not legal advice: you may have grounds on false imprisonment.
posted by kensanway at 9:57 AM on February 16, 2007


To force you off, they would have to find a stair car, and if they have a stair car handy, they could have let everyone off. More likely is that you would be restrained, still on the plane.
posted by smackfu at 9:58 AM on February 16, 2007


well, if it were me I'd call 911 and tell them I'm being held agains my will. If the operator said there's nothing she could do I'd continue to call until the police arrived. Seems pretty simple. Too simple? The police would have to come out to respond to a person in distress, or arrest the person for calling 911? Once the police arrived they'd see the deplorable conditions and hopefully be forced to respond in some way
posted by killyb at 9:59 AM on February 16, 2007


*against
posted by killyb at 10:01 AM on February 16, 2007


Here is your answer...

http://www.thesop.org/index.php?id=467

It is pretty simple- Go directly to jail.
posted by bkeene12 at 10:01 AM on February 16, 2007


well no kidding, if you jump off a plane when nothing is wrong...you'll go to jail....but if you're being held in a smelly plane for 8-10 hours....i'd hope a judge would have a bit more sympathy....and hell at least in jail there aren't kids screaming and nutso ladies locking themselves in a bathroom throwing a hissy fit
posted by killyb at 10:04 AM on February 16, 2007


Slightly off topic, but... Here's a quick primer on how airline crews get paid. It may not apply perfectly to all airlines, but I think it's a good enough generalization.

1. Crews are not salaried, and aren't likely to be anytime soon due to their long union history.
2. On average, the air crew is paid for 12 minutes of taxi time.
3. Once airborne, they are paid for the time it takes to reach their destination and taxi to the destination gate.
4. If the aircraft has to wait X number of hours to take off after taxi, the crew is paid for those X hours.
5. If the aircraft returns to the gate before takeoff, the crew's timer is reset.

Do the math.

In other words, if the crew has to return to the gate, they aren't getting paid for all the time they sat on the tarmac waiting for takeoff clearance.

Is it their fault for not returning to the gate? Is it ATC's fault for stringing them along in hopes of taking off? Is it the airlines's fault for overscheduling available gates in predictable weather conditions? Regardless, I think the passengers were of the least concern.
posted by matty at 10:07 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]



In other words, if the crew has to return to the gate, they aren't getting paid for all the time they sat on the tarmac waiting for takeoff clearance.


OTOH, that's a good reason for JetBlue corporate to pull them back.
posted by smackfu at 10:09 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


In today's news:
After being stuck for 11 hours on a parked airplane during a snow and ice storm, JetBlue passengers found out there's nothing they can do about it. There are no government regulations limiting the time an airline can keep passengers on grounded aircraft.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:11 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


You have to stay on board no matter what. You could sign the petion available here, to try and stop it happening in the future.
posted by tellurian at 10:12 AM on February 16, 2007


(As far as the no passenger on plane, no luggage thing goes: my dad checked his luggage, it was sent away to go wherever luggage goes and then they realized his ticket was for a flight 12 hours later. His luggage was never taken off the plane and apparently caused a massive crisis because of someone down the line's screwup. Shit happens.)
posted by sperose at 10:16 AM on February 16, 2007


This is not legal advice: you may have grounds on false imprisonment.
posted by kensanway at 12:57 PM EST on February 16 [+]

[!]


Sadly, any civil false imprisonment claims are probably preempted by the Federal Aviation Act. It'd be an interesting law suit to file, though.
posted by footnote at 10:18 AM on February 16, 2007


Smackfu... except that in this scenario the pilot in command is in control of that plane, and he makes the decision - corporate be damned. When corporate types try to dictate what a pilot does while in command of his aircraft, Union wars explode.

Again, there is the added dynamic of not necessarily having a gate to pull back into as it is probably now occupied by another aircraft with nowhere to go.

An interesting book on the Airline Industry and union interaction is "Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos". It does a good job of explaining the management vs. union dynamics at stake.
posted by matty at 10:18 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


A few years ago I was on a flight from Heathrow to NY that sat on the runway for a total of 7 hours before taking off. First it was a minor mechanical problem, then heavy rain, etc and it seemed that every time we were next in line to take off something else came up and we lost our slot. The last delay occured when we had been waiting for about 5 hours and were just ready to go. As we were taxiing to the runway a passenger demanded to be let off and the pilot said he was obliged to accomodate her. Taking her and her luggage off the plane added another two hours to our takeoff time.

So yes, I believe they have to let you off.

To make a bad situation worse, when the plane finally took off, they announced that all the food had gone off during the 7 hour wait and could no longer be served so we had to fly all the way to NY with nothing to eat. Worst trip we ever took.
posted by gfrobe at 10:19 AM on February 16, 2007


matty and others, as far as I know, Southwest does not follow this practice. They pay by the trip, starting at takeoff ending at landing. This is why you never hear of this sort of thing happening with them.
posted by PugAchev at 10:20 AM on February 16, 2007


PugAchev... ahhh Southwest - the darling of the industry!! So many things to love about them - and also highly discussed in the book I linked to. They are truly a unique story.
posted by matty at 10:21 AM on February 16, 2007


What would happen if you lit a cigarette and refused to put it out?
posted by dobbs at 10:32 AM on February 16, 2007


Whether legal or usurped or circumvented by some treaty or act or similar political fiat, it's detainment. Detainment for profit. You wouldn't be alone if you were calling 911.
posted by jon_kill at 10:35 AM on February 16, 2007


how much the legal fees will eat up their overtime pay even if I don't win.

Not very much, as the contract of carriage basically means you won't last very long in court.
posted by oaf at 10:37 AM on February 16, 2007


According to the wikipedia, jetblue is non-union.
posted by drezdn at 10:39 AM on February 16, 2007


What would happen if you lit a cigarette and refused to put it out?

Good luck getting matches or a lighter in your carry-on. Richard Reid took care of that for you.
posted by mattbucher at 10:40 AM on February 16, 2007


If a passenger is removed, so too is their luggage. Welcome to the post 9/11 world.

Is this true? My friend used to be a bag handler, and he claims that they won't bother to remove checked bags that have already been X-Rayed. Nowadays, that's every single bag.
posted by muddgirl at 10:41 AM on February 16, 2007


Is this true?

It was true on all international flights starting in about 1990.
posted by oaf at 10:46 AM on February 16, 2007




What would happen if you lit a cigarette and refused to put it out?


You would be restrained. And don't forget that in this post 9/11 world there is a reasonable possibility of an armed air marshal being present.

Best to pop the emergency door and walk off the tarmac. You'll most likely be intercepted by security and then arrested, but frankly I think if you can arrange a jury trial you'll have no problems at all with acquittal.

About the time the toilets were full I would consider leaving the plane to be a reasonable act of civil disobedience.
posted by tkolar at 10:50 AM on February 16, 2007


According to the wikipedia, jetblue is non-union

Well....
posted by matty at 10:51 AM on February 16, 2007


mattbucher writes...

Good luck getting matches or a lighter in your carry-on. Richard Reid took care of that for you.


Oddly enough, I often forget and leave my emergency firestarter in my carry-on luggage. It's a block of magnesium with an imbedded piece of flint. With that baby I can light just about anything on fire.
posted by tkolar at 10:56 AM on February 16, 2007


If a passenger is removed, so too is their luggage. Welcome to the post 9/11 world.

Is this true?


Yes. I was delayed on a flight not too long after 9/11 where some passengers 'objected' to another passenger and thought he looked suspicious. (He was wearing combat gear, for God's sake. He was no more a terrorist than I am.) He was taken off the plane and we had to wait while his luggage was retrieved from the hold. And, of course, lose our takeoff slot and wait another couple of hours before we could finally take off.
posted by essexjan at 11:22 AM on February 16, 2007


Good luck getting matches or a lighter in your carry-on. Richard Reid took care of that for you.

I often have a pack of matches or two or a lighter rattling around the bottom of my bag about which I've forgotten. I have never heard a peep from security about it. And I've flown a lot since Mr. Reid's shoebombing stunt.
posted by desuetude at 12:48 PM on February 16, 2007


GFRobe, European rules are different than American rules. Perhaps at Heathrow the pilot was obligated to let a passenger disembark -- but that has nothing to do with what happened in New York.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:48 PM on February 16, 2007


If you did manage to get off the plane, where are you going to go? I think a person running loose on the runways would require the airport to shut down all flights for reasons of safety. That could run into many millions of dollars of responsibility. You would definitely not get off easy for pulling that stunt.

The thing that surprises me is that the pilot would want to stay out there for so long. He is supposed to be responsible for the safety of his passengers isn't he? It seems like that is putting them at serious risk. Not to mention he is in the same boat with a risk to his health. From what i understand some airlines have rules about the length of time they will wait on the tarmac before returning to the terminal.
posted by JJ86 at 12:58 PM on February 16, 2007


With the wide range of answers and experiences here, it seems to me that, not surprisingly, many of the rules of the airline industry, no matter how stringently stated, are up to the discretion of the crew.

I overheard an argument last year involving a woman who had checked her bag and then decided (for an unknown-to-me reason) not to take her flight. They refused to give her the luggage, even after she flipped out and screamed that there was a bomb in it. It was obvious to me that she was just being dramatic and just really wanted her bags, but still... they didn't take her even a little bit seriously and seemed LESS likely to help her out after that scene.

Does it matter whether you ask a flight attendant or the pilot to let you off? (gfrobe's description comes to mind---and my god man, that sounds like my personal hell. Was it a UK or US airline?)
posted by juliplease at 1:07 PM on February 16, 2007


1. Maybe you could fake a serious medical condition -- if you can convincingly pull off a heart attack or seizure, I'd wager that you would be off the plane pretty quick, at which point you might miraculously recover.

2. This is just one of many, many reasons that I will simply never fly again. The hassle involved in flying is just not worth any possible time savings, no matter where I'm going or how "fast" I need to be there.
posted by davidmsc at 1:24 PM on February 16, 2007


The hassle involved in flying is just not worth any possible time savings, no matter where I'm going or how "fast" I need to be there.

Unless you're flying across an ocean. Flying across the Atlantic may be expensive, but taking a boat is so expensive as to be entirely out of reach for most.
posted by oaf at 1:35 PM on February 16, 2007


posted by davidmsc Maybe you could fake a serious medical condition -- if you can convincingly pull off a heart attack or seizure, I'd wager that you would be off the plane pretty quick, at which point you might miraculously recover.

Shakes on a Plane.

That's an excellent idea--they'd let you off immediately, yes? Would you be arrested if you were discovered to have faked the attack? What would be the outcome of faking a seizure to get off an indefinitely-delayed plane?
posted by fandango_matt at 1:41 PM on February 16, 2007


You might be interested to know that in 2001 Northwest Airlines paid $7.1 million to settle a class action case brought by 7,000 travelers stuck in planes at Detroit Metro Airport for up to 12 hours due to a snowstormon January 3, 1999. See also the Department of Transportation's report on the incident.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:44 PM on February 16, 2007


Draw blood. Use a pen and stab yourself. They'll let you off. Seriously.

In NY, I would call the Port Authority and ask them to help you. You are stranded on their tarmac and /or runway. Get the whole plane to call.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:46 PM on February 16, 2007


I sure would like to see what happens when half the passengers of a plane repeatedly phone 911 claiming to be kidnapped.
posted by Mitheral at 1:55 PM on February 16, 2007



2. This is just one of many, many reasons that I will simply never fly again. The hassle involved in flying is just not worth any possible time savings, no matter where I'm going or how "fast" I need to be there.


Spoken like a man who won't be visiting Cape Town anytime soon.
posted by tkolar at 2:00 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


"besides, who's going to arrest me on the tarmac?"

Airport police would have bitchslapped you before you even figured out which way to run.

"Is this true? My friend used to be a bag handler.."

Yes, it's true. I worked at the Seatac airport for a couple years (pre-9/11) and when someone was removed from a flight, we had to locate and remove their luggage.
We had a similar situation. World Airways was attempting to do scheduled service flights (a failure) and was doing an OAK -> SEA -> FRA (Frankfurt, Germany) run. This piece of shit DC-10 shows up in Seattle and it's leaking water everywhere. There was a leak in the tank that held drinking water. The solution? Buy a shitload of bottled water and continue the flight. We were stuck with the aircraft for 8 hours while we dealt with the situation. A couple people started a huge stink and demanded to be let of. The Port of Seattle police ended up being called, and two passengers were actually arrested. We had to dig for their luggage and remove it from the flight.

This was in late 1996. Well before 9/11. Read the back of a ticket sometimes. Airlines are great about denying responsibility for delays. 200+ pissed off passengers, and they were pretty much screwed. At least jetBlue has an excuse for some of the delay - the weather.
posted by drstein at 2:20 PM on February 16, 2007




Maybe you could fake a serious medical condition -- if you can convincingly pull off a heart attack or seizure

Please don't do that.

You will look like a complete idiot/asshole when the crew locates a physician on board, who can tell that you aren't having a heart attack or seizure, as planes are equipped with a bit of medical equipment.

You might not get arrested for it but you can count on pissing off both the flight crew and at least one fellow passenger, who is just as unhappy about being stuck on the plane as you are.
posted by ambrosia at 2:44 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Footnote: Actually, it is the Airline Deregulation Act, not the Federal Aviation Act, that preempts lawsuits based on state law with any "connection with or reference to airline rates, routes, or services." Morales v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 504 U.S. 347, 384 (1992).

The bottom line is that the passengers probably do not have a cause of action against the airline because federal preempts state-law tort lawsuits in connection with the airline's services. Under even the most plaintiff-friendly standard, this means that you cannot sue unless the airline's actions were so "outrageous or unreasonable" that they could not have been considered part of the provision of airline services.

An example of "outrageous or unreasonable" misconduct hypothesized by one fairly prominent federal judge is that of a flight attendant who shoots a passenger because the passenger refuses to listen quietly during the presentation of safety instructions. Rombom v. United Air Lines, Inc., 867 F. Supp. 214, 222-23 (S.D.N.Y.). The weather-related delays on the tarmac probably do not rise to that level of outrageousness.

Important disclaimer: I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice. In fact, for all you know, I might not be a lawyer at all. That is the great thing about the internet.
posted by Slap Factory at 2:56 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


No one has given me reasonable proof that today they will pull my baggage from a flight if I don't take the flight.

Within the last year, flying United Airlines, I've had bags fly ahead of me (long layover, they put my bag on an earlier flight). Which means, I could have noshowed the second leg of my flight, and my bags would already have been on the plane.

Julieplease's anecdote is the most recent relevant one, and it's consistent with what I believe. Since they X-Ray every bag that is put on the plane, and since some of the bags are inspected, they don't have to pull the bags if you get off the plane. It's better for the airline that way, actually, except for the pesky "security" thing.
posted by muddgirl at 3:10 PM on February 16, 2007


I would think that simply screaming as much and as loud as possible would work.

do not physically confront the flight crew ever!! but what is the crime if you just keep screaming? They don't arrest 2 year olds for it why would I get arrested?
posted by Megafly at 3:24 PM on February 16, 2007


What do you mean "cannot" sue? Not a lawyer here, but I think I can always sue - at least file in court - the court just throws away my filing when it's against airlines or people who work at airlines? Maybe, I guess I didn't know that.
posted by thilmony at 5:22 PM on February 16, 2007


You will look like a complete idiot/asshole when the crew locates a physician on board

That's why "I am a diabetic/asthmatic/cancer patient and need my medication" works wonders in this kind of situation. There's no test you can do for this.

Besides, no physician in their right mind would evaluate a person on behalf of the airline in this situation and then say, "Nahh, in my professional opinion, he's fine. Let's just sit here for another indefinite period."
posted by frogan at 6:20 PM on February 16, 2007


There's no test you can do for this.

Not so for diabetes.
posted by oaf at 6:49 PM on February 16, 2007


How long till someone with a real medical condition dies or goes into shock due to incidents like this? Its insane that the airlines allow this to go on. You'd think they would realize its in their best interest to not completely piss off their customers, and let people off after a reasonable time - say 3 or 4 hours.

Its just shows how completely screwed the airline industry is in this country that we need legislation for this.
posted by rsanheim at 7:21 PM on February 16, 2007


Anybody with a medical condition would likely be removed from the flight by the airport fire department. The rest of the passengers would sit there.

Faking a medical condition might get you a trip to the hospital, but that's a really selfish thing to do.
posted by drstein at 9:03 PM on February 16, 2007


Maybe you could fake a serious medical condition -- if you can convincingly pull off a heart attack or seizure

Please don't do that.

You will look like a complete idiot/asshole when the crew locates a physician on board, who can tell that you aren't having a heart attack or seizure, as planes are equipped with a bit of medical equipment.


As mentioned above, no sane doctor would _ever_ certify that a stranger is not having a serious cardiac event. Complaining of severe chest pains (even if it "later turns out" to have been indigestion) would almost certainly get you back to the first gate available.

Maybe the rules have changed since I last flew (1994!), but I seem to recall that it used to be a federal rule that they had to let you off if you changed your mind for any reason prior to takeoff.

In any case, it all depends on how much of a stink you're willing to make, within reason. Fomenting mutiny, bad idea. Clutching chest and quietly but urgently summoning steward would probably work. Especially since you're surrounded by potential witnesses.
posted by words1 at 9:10 PM on February 16, 2007


drstein: Like the woman who holed up in the bathroom and sobbed for an hour? What if she was claustrophobic and having a panic attack? What if she had some heart condition aggravated by stress?
posted by rsanheim at 11:39 PM on February 16, 2007


Within the last year, flying United Airlines, I've had bags fly ahead of me (long layover, they put my bag on an earlier flight). Which means, I could have noshowed the second leg of my flight, and my bags would already have been on the plane.

There is no longer a "positive bag matching" rule. This means the airlines do not need to make sure that your bags are on the same flight as you.

However, most airlines will not let passengers voluntarily separate themselves from their bags. That's a different scenario than the airline deciding to send them on the earlier flight.
posted by grouse at 4:23 AM on February 17, 2007



I wonder if in such extreme circumstances, the flight crew isn't running up against some FAA regs relating to allowable on time?

Could be an interesting angle to pursue:

To wit:

NTSB - Testimony of Vern EllingstadReview and upgrade regulations governing hours of service for all ... The accident investigation revealed that the flight crew had been on duty for about 18 hours ...

NTSB Testimony


On August 18, 1993, a Douglas DC-8-61 freighter, registered to American International Airways, Inc., operating as flight 808, collided with level terrain about 1/4 mile from the approach end of runway 10, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the captain lost control of the airplane while approaching the Leeward Point Airfield at the U. S. Naval Air Station. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-accident fire, and the three flight crewmembers, although fortunately not killed, sustained serious injuries. The Board determined that the probable cause of the accident was, in part, the impaired judgment, decision-making, and flying abilities of the captain and flight crew due to the effects of fatigue. The accident investigation revealed that the flight crew had been on duty for about 18 hours and had been flying for about 9 hours at the time of the accident. The Safety Board cited, as an additional factor contributing to the cause of the accident, the inadequacy of the flight and duty time regulations applied to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121, Supplemental Air Carrier, international operations, and the circumstances that resulted in the extended flight/duty hours and fatigue of the flightcrew members.

As a result of this accident, in May 1994, the Safety Board issued two additional safety recommendations to the FAA regarding the need to review and update current flight and duty time regulations. Those recommendations asked the FAA to:

Revise the applicable subpart of 14 CFR, Part 121, to require that flight time accumulated in noncommercial "tail end" ferry flights conducted under 14 CFR, Part 91, as a result of 14 CFR, Part 121, revenue flights, be included in the flight crewmember's total flight and duty time accrued during those revenue operations. (A-94-105)

Expedite the review and upgrade of Flight/Duty Time Limitations of the Federal Aviation Regulations to ensure that they incorporate the results of the latest research on fatigue and sleep issues. (A-94-106)
On February 16, 1995, a Douglas DC-8-63, operated by Air Transport International was destroyed by ground impact and fire during an attempted three-engine takeoff at the Kansas City International Airport, Kansas City, Missouri. The three flight crewmembers were fatally injured. Because the number one engine was inoperative, the flight was being conducted as a maintenance ferry flight under 14 CFR Part 91. The Safety Board concluded in its report that the flightcrew assigned to the ferry had a shortened rest break after performing an international trip, and that the flightcrew was fatigued as a result of the limited opportunities for rest, disruption to their circadian rhythms, and lack of sleep in the days before the accident. The Safety Board determined that the probable cause of this accident was, in part, the failure of the company to ensure that the flightcrew had adequate experience, training, and rest to conduct the non-routine flight. Contributing to the accident, the Safety Board stated, was the inadequacy of FAA oversight of ATI and FAA flight and duty time regulations that permitted a substantially reduced flightcrew rest period when conducting a non-revenue ferry flight under 14 CFR Part 91.

As a result of this accident, in November 1995 the Safety Board issued an additional recommendation related to flight crew fatigue:

Finalize the review of current flight and duty time regulations and revise the regulations, as necessary, within 1 year to ensure that flight and duty time limitations take into consideration research findings in fatigue and sleep issues. The new regulations should prohibit air carriers from assigning flightcrews to flights conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 unless the flightcrews meet the flight and duty time limitations of 14 CFR Part 121 or other appropriate regulations. (A-95-113)
posted by FauxScot at 4:37 PM on February 17, 2007


Recommendations that the FAA change their regulations aren't FAA regulations.
posted by grouse at 5:10 PM on February 17, 2007


Funny, isn't it, how quick we are to exhort and canonize an activist group of passengers to rise up in the face of Islamoterror, but try to extricate yourself from a metal tube that's going nowhere fast? "Siddown, mister, or I'll restrain you. I have a defibrillator, and I'm trained to use it!"
posted by rob511 at 6:00 PM on February 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's why "I am a diabetic/asthmatic/cancer patient and need my medication" works wonders in this kind of situation. There's no test you can do for this.

Don't be so sure that they would care. Four years ago, I was taking a drug with dangerous side effects that sent my BP soaring if I had certain food or drink AND because of my medical condition, I would get dizzy and pass out without some kind of food or drink every four hours or so.

We got stuck on the tarmac for four hours before a 45 minute flight. I had a MedAlert bracelet. I had my meds with me. I had written instructions about my condition/meds in my carry-on. (Yes, my bad, I had already eaten my supply of energy bars on the flight before and, in my rush to make the next flight, did not stock up again. I should have had an energy bar with me.)

I quietly tried to explain my condition and fears to the flight attendant who did not try to hide her annoyance with me requesting something--anything--to eat once I hit that 3 1/2 hour mark. Peanuts. Bread. Anything. She blew me off totally.

I dragged myself off of the flight when we landed and passed out cold on the gangway at the door of the plane. I woke up with a flight attendant and gate attendants kneeling on the floor next to me. I calmly asked for something to eat and they whipped out a basket of bread from the first class cabin faster than I could try to sit up.

People told me I should have sued, but I was feeling too poorly that year healthwise to do anything but try to survive it. So, no, on an airline flight in the States, it seems that many flight attendants really do not care. It's every man (or woman) for him(her)self. We're just cattle to them.
posted by jeanmari at 6:33 PM on February 17, 2007


For your reading pleasure, Mr. Grouse:

14 CFR PART 121

In it, you'll find the current regulations.

It's complicated and convoluted. It's even longer than this post, but sections 467, 471, 480, pretty much through 525 are relevant.

In the search for a chink in the armor for potential legal action against the carrier, or for potential defense against an action by a passenger, that crew member service/flight time/rest interval regulations may contain a useful angle.

That was my point.
posted by FauxScot at 4:02 PM on February 18, 2007


14 CFR PART 121

You act as if unspecifically citing more than 600 pages of federal regulations is somehow definitive. It is actually meaningless. But you do go on to cite no fewer than 24 sections. How exactly are these relevant? Or are you just saying they may be relevant, but then again they may not?

It is in fact pretty clear that these sections are not relevant due to 14 CFR 121.471(g):

A flight crewmember is not considered to be scheduled for flight time in excess of flight time limitations if the flights to which he is assigned are scheduled and normally terminate within the limitations, but due to circumstances beyond the control of the certificate holder
(such as adverse weather conditions), are not at the time of departure expected to reach their destination within the scheduled time.


See also §121.467(a)(14) for similar verbiage regarding flight attendants.

Even without all this, it beggars belief that you think that all U.S. passenger airlines would thumb their noses at the FAA by violating federal regulations in their standard operating procedures on such a fundamental point. Or that if they were, they wouldn't already have been sued into oblivion or had their certificates revoked.
posted by grouse at 4:22 PM on February 18, 2007


"What if she was claustrophobic and having a panic attack?"

Then holing up in the bathroom was pretty stupid. I've never seen a claustrophobic go for the smallest possible area to hide.

"What if she had some heart condition aggravated by stress?"

Then the airport fire department should have yanked her off the flight and taken her to the hospital. Like I said, "Anybody with a medical condition would likely be removed from the flight by the airport fire department."
posted by drstein at 2:04 PM on February 25, 2007


Slap factory - I just saw your comment. Damn, pwned me on both certiori jurisdiction and preemption on the same day? I think I must know you from somewhere.
posted by footnote at 2:12 PM on March 27, 2007


Which is why I'd fake a medical condition as fast as possible in those deplorable conditions.
posted by agregoli at 1:49 PM on August 16, 2007


« Older I'm looking for an OS X utilit...   |  I'm about to purchase a new ac... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post