Not the brightest......


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Here's a link from the homepage about the Virgin Atlantic pilot accused of being under the influence:

http://www.news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2324058

I just have to comment on a few remarks made by the pax:

"The 383 passengers were stranded in Washington DC" - another night in Washington DC is not "stranded". Spending a night in Mosonee is stranded!

"They also branded the airline “devastatingly pathetic” after their replacement flight this morning arrived at Heathrow three hours late" - yup, no doubt, a devastating situation of biblical proportions. Quick, somebody call the United Nations to intervene.

"Her 74-year-old husband, Ken Beal, said he would never fly on Virgin Atlantic again because of their poor organisation.

“They have given me another ticket but I shall throw it away when I get home,” he added" - if he doesn't want the ticket why not throw it away now, or, better yet, send it to me.

"Then they stood in line for another four-and-a-half hours last night as they checked in again" - does this include the 3 hours that the aircraft was late?

"They had two flights going out last night but we were all in the same queue. It was chaos,” Mr Beal said" - I'm sure separating the pax into different lines according to what flight would have eliminated the choas or maybe you could just tell the CSR what flight you are to be on when you get to the counter.

I don't know which is worse to consider: that the pax might actually be this dim or that the reporter who wrote the story is.

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Guest M. McRae

From my point of view, although there is no excuse for the pilot (if found guilty), the passenger reaction to the delay etc. is overplayed. Under the circumstances, Virgin seems to have done a good job re. providing for the passengers.

Bitching about having to stand in line to check into the hotel.... go figure... and then bitching about having to stand in line to recheck in the next day. Guess the passengers would have been happy if Virgin had allowed everyone who wanted to board without any checks. ..... :(

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Guest M. McRae

From my point of view, although there is no excuse for the pilot (if found guilty), the passenger reaction to the delay etc. is overplayed. Under the circumstances, Virgin seems to have done a good job re. providing for the passengers.

Bitching about having to stand in line to check into the hotel.... go figure... and then bitching about having to stand in line to recheck in the next day. Guess the passengers would have been happy if Virgin had allowed everyone who wanted to board to do so without any checks. ..... :(

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I just saw a story on BCTV about a woman who was deplaned off a WestJet flight in YVR because she had her carry on dog in a gym bag???? (the bag wasn't large enough for the whole dog so she had it zipped up around it's neck)

I guess she didn't know the difference between that and a "soft sided" kennel

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Guest chiselcharter

Tough words, perhaps the next time you have a 'pop' and drive your car whether you are over the limit or not remember that there was atleast two of them and your solo. There is no excuse for his action but the last time I checked pilots are human and humans make mistakes. He will no doubt be dealt with and so should his partner.

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Guest Tiger Lead

To all Pilots beware there is a condition or disease called alcholisim which could have afflected the pilot in question. rkm is ready to ban the person for life. Lets get treatment and help him or her to become a pilot again with the disease under control. Many people in all professions suffer from alcholisim. Lets not throw the first stone but be there to help them get there life back together again. If anybody needs help to quit drinking or you are starting to get in trouble from drinking AA is always there. Reach out for help. Look in your phone book for the no. The First Step to a better life is admiting and asking for help. Merry Xmas to all

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Guest M. McRae

Well put and I don't know how one could not agree with that approach. It is after all a disease and can be combated but sadly never cured. Anyone I know that has been through the program states that they are "recovering" and never claims to be cured. Many return to a fully productive life.

Malcolm

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Tiger Lead;

Of course that's the answer, but media and those who haven't experienced either first-hand or as a friend/family member the profound effects of addictions of all kinds and not just alcoholism will have easy "solutions" and "why-don't-they just...?'s". Some people who don't have kids are expert parents...etc etc

The outcome of this incident hasn't been determined yet, which of course never stops trial by media OpEd and electronic Forum.

The topic has been broached here many times. The investment an airline has in its crews is significant. The programs available for human assistance are widely available in any enlightened organization. If the gentleman involved has a problem, those who know the path know that this would be described as "hitting bottom", if indeed it happened and success rates of recovery are high where intelligent responses to a very common and human problem obtain.

As for passenger "whining", I doubt if it happened to the degree reported, and if it did, so what? Neither Virgin or any other airline goes out of its way to anger their customers, and perfection is rarely achievable. Such "failures", especially of airlines, seem to trigger primordial reactions in some, but that is not about airlines, that is more about public life these days, where grace under stress has all but left civilized society.

There are always those who will, for their 15 minutes, wail and knash teeth on command when a microphone and a reporter with a deadline desperate for a story are present, but really, I think most here have a pretty good perspective and treat such stories for the media silage that it is.

I think I'll mark 2003 in my diary as the year in which the entire world seemed to set its hair on fire with exceeding regularity. Come to think of it, I haven't spent much time visiting this forum for the same reason.

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Tiger Lead;

Of course that's the answer, but media and those who haven't experienced either first-hand or as a friend/family member the profound effects of addictions of all kinds and not just alcoholism will have easy "solutions" and "why-don't-they just...?'s". Also...some people who don't have kids are expert parents. Most don't know when to graciously remain silent instead of blurting out, removing all doubt regarding "expertise".

The outcome of this incident hasn't been determined yet, which of course never stops trial by media OpEd and electronic Forum.

The topic has been broached here many times. The investment an airline has in its crews is significant. The programs available for human assistance are widely available in any enlightened organization. If the gentleman involved has a problem, those who know the path know that this would be described as "hitting bottom", if indeed it happened and success rates of recovery are high where intelligent responses to a very common and human problem obtain.

As for passenger "whining", I doubt if it happened to the degree reported, and if it did, so what? Neither Virgin or any other airline goes out of its way to anger their customers, and perfection is rarely achievable. Such "failures", especially of airlines, seem to trigger primordial reactions in some, but that is not about airlines, that is more about public life these days, where grace under stress has all but left civilized society.

There are always those who will, for their 15 minutes, wail and knash teeth on command when a microphone and a reporter with a deadline desperate for a story are present, but really, I think most here have a pretty good perspective and treat such stories for the media silage that it is.

I think I'll mark 2003 in my diary as the year in which the entire world seemed to set its hair on fire with exceeding regularity. Come to think of it, I haven't spent much time visiting this forum for the same reason.

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Thanks Don. I issue of whether or not this pilot had a drink inside his company's bottle-to-throttle forbidden zone is serious and significant but not the topic I intended to raise when I started the thread. I was curious to see if anyone would pick up on the fact that out of 383 passengers the reporter chose to interview a 70 year old woman and her 74 year old husband. While I know some very astute and observant 70 year olds I think it safe to generalize and say that the oldest couple of folks on the airplane might not give you the most accurate picture of what was really going on.

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Don

I think part of the problem may lie with the repercussions faced if someone booked off because they erred the night before and over did it, a person doesn't have to be an alcholic to have one too many on an over night(and I'm not saying he did), and this being the festive season it could well have been the crews last over night before christmas/new years.

Given the nature of the business shouldn't people be given the option of booking off in cases like this rather than face possible dismissal for doing so??. I'm not saying there shouldn't be consequences for their actions, but not having to worry about losing your job might go a long way to making this rare event non-exsistent.

Brett

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The woman was travelling with her dog and was advised at check-in that there was a pet embargo and that if she wanted her dog to travel with her she would be allowed to bring it onboard if she purchased an animal carrying case (there's a specific name/brand but I forget what it is) that will fit under the seat.

She then went and purchased a duffel bag (not an animal carrying case). When checking in once again, she presented her "bag" with her dog stuffed inside of it. The dog was bent every which way and had NO room to move whatsoever. Again, she was told that the only way her dog was going to be able to travel with her was if she purchased an animal carrying case and NOT a duffel bag with her dog stuffed inside of it.

She was told that she would be re-booked for a later flight and was given directions and options as to where an animal carrying case could be purchased. She denied the choices.

I wonder how comfortable that dog would have been for a 5 hour flight stuffed into a bag that did not allow any movement? Some people..

During this whole fiasco, the woman threatened LEGAL ACTION against Westjet for not allowing her dog to travel! However, the dog was allowed to travel in a safe, acceptable carrying case but she denied any efforts by Westjet to accomodate her and her dog. The next day the media shows up asking stupid questions about why Westjet doesn't like animals, why Westjet wouldn't allow this woman to fly with her dog, blah blah blah.

Gotta love the media sometimes....

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Let me see...a 40 year old; maybe 50? At what age in your opinion does one cease to be sentient?

The "impaired pilot" and the knee-jerk defence of alcoholic illness? First...let's await a determination of guilt, shall we? Then...we're all in support of identifying and addressing the disease but that does NOT mean that we are obligated to support the continued employment of the individual in a risk-sensitive environment. How often does one read here how the "front-end" should, by reason of function only, earn more than the back-end because of the demands and responsibilities of the position? If you work at Esso and you acknowledged an alcohol problem, you were excluded from employment as an operator. Is a pilot's employment responsibilities greater or lesser than those of a refinery operator? Should they be helds to a greater or lesser standard?

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Ah, the old "lack of character" argument. Who knows, maybe you're right. Maybe all the substances you can become addicted to... cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc... are simply dangers for the weak of mind and spirit, and those of sufficient moral fibre aren't at risk. And if you do become addicted, just keep telling yourself, "It's NOT a disease. It's NOT a disease."

From what I've seen and contrary to your opinion, no one gets off the hook easily from alcoholism. No one. Call it a weakness if that's what vindicates your view of things, but calling it that doesn't change the reality: it's a nasty monkey to have on your back.

And however alcoholism is classified, it doesn't change my view on how we should handle those who stray into it. Take them off work with a chance to get on a program, and if they can do what it takes, they get their job back. Pilots, doctors, judges, controllers, mechanics... they should all be treated the same way in this regard.

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Good points but, once again, not the subject of the thread. What I'm writing about, and seeking comments on, is the way that the media has screwed up this story. Any incident, accident or situation that involves an airplane is dealt with in the same way - go to the airport and find the most ignorant, irrational person and get a soundbite.

In this case, since the flight obviously had to be cancelled, the airline put all 383 passengers in a hotel for the night, presumably paid for the transportation back and forth to the hotel and, also presumably, paid for all the meals. The headline should have read VIRGIN ATLANTIC SPENDS $75,000 TO KEEP PASSENGERS HAPPY, but instead we get this old fart complaining about being "stranded". As for your question, "At what age in your opinion does one cease to be sentient?" That's when it happens, right there, when you start to characterize a night in a Washington hotel with all expenses paid as being "stranded" or maybe when a 3 hour delay becomes "devastatingly pathetic."

It's tiring enough to deal with passengers who consider any attempt to enforce carry-on baggage restrictions, for an example, as a crisis let alone to see this attitude highlighted and perpetuated by a lazy reporter.

seeker

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Good points but, once again, not the subject of the thread. What I'm writing about, and seeking comments on, is the way that the media has screwed up this story. Any incident, accident or situation that involves an airplane is dealt with in the same way - go to the airport and find the most ignorant, irrational person and get a soundbite.

In this case, since the flight obviously had to be cancelled, the airline put all 383 passengers in a hotel for the night, presumably paid for the transportation back and forth to the hotel and, also presumably, paid for all the meals. The headline should have read VIRGIN ATLANTIC SPENDS $75,000 TO KEEP PASSENGERS HAPPY, but instead we get this old fart complaining about being "stranded". Actually, they did even more than that because they handed out free tickets too. As for your question, "At what age in your opinion does one cease to be sentient?" That's when it happens, right there, when you start to characterize a night in a Washington hotel with all expenses paid as being "stranded" or maybe when a 3 hour delay becomes "devastatingly pathetic."

It's tiring enough to deal with passengers who consider any attempt to enforce carry-on baggage restrictions, for an example, as a crisis let alone to see this attitude highlighted and perpetuated by a lazy reporter.

seeker

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Another big difference between cancer and alcoholism is that after the patient is "cured", the cancer patient doesn't owe a huge apology to all the people whose lives he's turned upside down. But don't you think were just talking semantics here Nancy? (I feel kind of funny calling a big bald guy Nancy. I really feel like I should be calling you Bubba or Frank or something instead.)

Calling alcoholism a weakness is like saying that people suffering from depression should just snap out of it. I think that addictions should be classified as a symptom, because usually there is an underlying cause, something that happened in a person's life that was never dealt with properly, that caused them to choose to turn to alcohol, or drugs, or whatever, and without knowing the underlying cause, just writing them off as "weak" is judging them too harshly, IMO.

Doesn't mean their behaviour should be excused or overlooked, and it doesn't mean that those affected by their behaviour don't have the right to be bloody angry, but like a cancer patient, they still need to be given professional medical treatment to overcome their addiction.

Pretty cheery topic for this time of year, huh? ;)

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Imagine, if you will, a holiday that you've plannned for a lifetime. You're not one who is on and off aircraft; in and out of airports on a daily basis ---this is a rare occurrence. You arrive at the airport for your flight home; stand in line to check-in (no cause for concern); get to the gate; get boarded; and then....no flight because a pilot is presumed to have consumed alcohol. Presuming "guilt" for this discussion,

what is the likelihood that this was the very first time that this pilot EVER consumed alcohol within the restricted period? How more probable is it that 1) he was never written up or,if identified,2)was given "another chance"? Be honest....there are few in the industry who cannot tell you stories of "tiddling" flight personnel who managed to juggle their employment and their "illness" with the help of a "blind eye" or outright complicity ---apple-juice, my derriere.

So----you're off-loaded (which, as you know, is not an immediate process); herded (much like cattle ---or sheep) to a common area; wait for---how long?--until staff (who are now over-whelmed) locate accomodations; wait for transport; get to the hotel (exhausted, by the way); and now stand in line, once again, while 200+ rooms are allocated. Ever arrived at a hotel which is suddenly inundated with 350 "guests" wanting to be accomodated NOW?

I'll stop the recitation here hoping you've got my point. Your perspective is that of the airline---look what we did to respond to an unforseen problem. Try, as an alternative, to see it from the perspective of the passenger who paid for his/her transport with the not unreasonable expectation of being delivered from Point A to Point B in a period proximate to that which was "promised". And....by the way....PLEASE do not assume that the remarks quoted or attributed to the aggrieved passenger were 1) entirely accurate or, 2) fairly representative of ALL that he said.

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Guest Virtual

For some individuals, another consideration coudl be that one's body chemistry is 'off' somehow and alcohol is used/their way to try to balance the deficiency or overproduction of that particular substance. This could be why it often 'runs' through families - genetic and not necessarily 'learned'. If so, perhaps this need could be met in another (medical) way. Just a thought.

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In the very last line of your response is a comment that is on-topic - the veracity of the reporting. Thank you, we're in agreement. The focus and accuracy of the reporting is pitiful, unfortunately all too common.

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Taking a passenger perspective, I am quite ready to be generous to the man or woman who goes to the employer and says "I think have a problem, help me." I don't think that individual should suffer any career disadvantages. He/she can get past the alcoholism.

I do have a problem, however, when someone enters the cockpit to fly an airplane in a drunken state. No matter whether this is a disease, a condition, an afliction, a weakness, it is simply unacceptable to attempt to fly an aircraft while impaired. There has to be zero tolerance for that because not everyone in that state is going to be recognized as being in an impaired state.

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Many, many medical conditions will preclude you from being given a pilot's license, let alone being hired by an airline. Alcoholism is certainly one of them.

Once you're hired by a company though, any decent employer will consider keeping you if you can overcome any of those medical conditions for which they wouldn't have hired you in the first place. Again, alcoholism should be, and in many cases is, handled the same way.

If you can do what it takes (and have the good fortune) to put your cancer, your diabetes, your heart disease or your alcoholism into remission, then you should have an opportunity to retain your employment. That's only human decency.

neo

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