Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, February 5, 2009

PILOT ERROR

I don't want to ever be on his flights: After reading this article, it makes a person wonder what's necessary to stop a pilot from making a serious mistake.

I don't agree with lying as a form of justification, but I do think that these attendants did the only thing they knew to do to protect themselves and the people who were in the care of US Airways. Even though lying was the wrong approach, I feel that it served the purpose intended, saving some lives possibly.

The basic question here should be: Why were the pilots so passionate about taking off without de-icing the plane if there was the slightest chance that there was ice?

Why would they be concerned about taking 10 minutes more to de-ice? Do they not get paid to sit and de-ice? What is the motive behind what appears to be a poor decision on the part of the pilots not to de-ice?

What appears to have been an error in safety has created a hardship for three attendants who should never have been challenged in the first place, as it should be obvious from the time they spent in their jobs that they knew there was a problem with this plane.

As for the airline's not standing behind these attendants, I find it totally inappropriate and believe that the airline itself should be under investigation.

The real issue here: Why should it take a passenger's complaint, real or fictional, to stop what could've been a grave mistake for all?

I would also like to know where this pilot's flight plans take him, so I don't get on his flights and end up a casualty of what may be another poor judgment call in the future.
Bill Oliver, via the Internet

Pilot knew all about the dangers: No wonder the airline business is in trouble. Ice on wings is a serious problem and one this hotdog pilot knew full well could cause problems in the air, even a crash. That somebody wants to be Chuck Yeager and fly dangerously would be fine if the lives of other people weren't involved.

These flight attendants are heroes who are being ill-treated, like typical whistleblowers. You know, destroy the employee who talks out of school, even when safety is involved. US Airways should be giving these attendants bonuses.
Mary Ruiz, Phoenix

A scary story, indeed: Take a chance with your own life, but don't take a chance with the lives of a plane full of passengers and crew. This story scares me to death.
Tom Blanchard, Phoenix

Pilots are pressured to stay on schedule: I have to wonder if the economy, and the dire conditions airlines are in economically, had anything to do this. Pilots are lectured on staying on schedule and are pressured by passengers to do so. Nothing makes passengers madder than [late departures].

I was on a plane in Atlanta once during a terrible electric storm. We sat on the runway for an hour waiting to take off. Passengers almost went crazy, some lecturing flight attendants that they would never fly that airline again because of this "unnecessary" delay.

My girlfriend and I were in the minority, saying we wanted the plane to stay grounded — no matter how uncomfortable everyone was — until it was absolutely safe to fly (and it was hot in the plane, as it was the middle of summer in the South).

When the plane finally did take off, it was the roughest ride I've ever experienced. I wouldn't have wanted to find out what it would've been like if we'd gone up while lightning was cracking all around.
John Voss, Tucson

Captain also dropped the ball: Where was the captain in all this? Seems he, in addition to the first officer, dropped the ball completely. After a second opinion about flight safety, the captain refers to the original source for "verification"?

Outside of substance abuse, I cannot think of anything other than inexperience [that's worse than] oversized egos in the cockpit.

Kudos for the whistleblowers, whose actions led to a safe flight. US Airways is, as is typical, pretty stupid for not backing the flight attendants.
Name withheld

Union and airline should back the flight attendants: I've never heard such nonsense. I've been flying as a cabin crewmember for 19 years. The only time I had to write a formal letter about a pilot was after an emergency landing in which we expected to land without landing gear.

I won't get into details, but there were severe communication slips on the part of the captain. I was praised by my superiors, and that was that.

The situation these flight attendants now find themselves in is unimaginable. I believe their union, whose job it is to represent them, should be doing everything it can to raise money to fund their legal bills.

In an ideal world, of course, one would expect the employer to take care of everything. Unfortunately, airlines, like most corporations today, are in dire financial straits. I, for one, will visit their Web site and make a donation. Then I'm going to call everyone I know to do the same.
Name withheld

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