Crew Walks off over Autistic Passenger Request?

Zapphod Beblebrox

Well-Known Member
I retired from AA last year with 32 years of service. My son, now 26 is Autistic, but higher on the spectrum than the person described in this article. I can see this from both angles. I would not let my son travel alone and I would insist that at least one family member sit next to him. It is a small consideration and accommodation to give. If this person has a legitimate diagnosis of autism then he is protected under the Americans with Disabilities act and he must be able to receive the same accommodation that a blind, wheelchair bound or otherwise handicapped person would receive.

The family erred by not notifying the airline prior to boarding of his condition, and the requirement to sit together. This should have been disclosed at the point of sale of the ticket. Airlines need time to make the necessary arrangements for accommodation. The crew erred in their insistence on the family's removal, (IMHO). I am not sure what the legal requirements are in this case. Does a failure of disclosure of the disability prior to boarding absolve the crew and company or waive the requirement for accomidation? Does the ADA, Americans With Disbilities Act, require reasonable accomodation on short notice? I honestly don't know.

As to the captain getting involved, sometimes they need to but sometimes, and I speak from experience, they should "shut up and remain seated". Injecting yourself into a passenger issue, where the safety of flight is not directly at risk exposes the crew to liability. An ADA claim against the company and crew could be filed.

Is Skywest still non-union? People ask what a union is good for. This is a perfect case, a union should stand behind the captains decision, if a case is filed against the company in a non-union shop, they may attempt to throw the crew under the bus. The FOM should give guidance in situations like this and it should task someone other than the crew to deal with accommodating people with disabilities. These arrangements take time and the flight crew is tasked with staying "on-time". That's the way it is done at major carriers.
 

GypsyPilot

Well-Known Member
I retired from AA last year with 32 years of service. My son, now 26 is Autistic, but higher on the spectrum than the person described in this article. I can see this from both angles. I would not let my son travel alone and I would insist that at least one family member sit next to him. It is a small consideration and accommodation to give. If this person has a legitimate diagnosis of autism then he is protected under the Americans with Disabilities act and he must be able to receive the same accommodation that a blind, wheelchair bound or otherwise handicapped person would receive.

The family erred by not notifying the airline prior to boarding of his condition, and the requirement to sit together. This should have been disclosed at the point of sale of the ticket. Airlines need time to make the necessary arrangements for accommodation. The crew erred in their insistence on the family's removal, (IMHO). I am not sure what the legal requirements are in this case. Does a failure of disclosure of the disability prior to boarding absolve the crew and company or waive the requirement for accomidation? Does the ADA, Americans With Disbilities Act, require reasonable accomodation on short notice? I honestly don't know.

As to the captain getting involved, sometimes they need to but sometimes, and I speak from experience, they should "shut up and remain seated". Injecting yourself into a passenger issue, where the safety of flight is not directly at risk exposes the crew to liability. An ADA claim against the company and crew could be filed.

Is Skywest still non-union? People ask what a union is good for. This is a perfect case, a union should stand behind the captains decision, if a case is filed against the company in a non-union shop, they may attempt to throw the crew under the bus. The FOM should give guidance in situations like this and it should task someone other than the crew to deal with accommodating people with disabilities. These arrangements take time and the flight crew is tasked with staying "on-time". That's the way it is done at major carriers.
No offense, but you’re making lots of assumptions here.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Taxiing after landing at LAX, back when we were at T3 we’re doing the North route taxi......

[Bbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr]

Me: Hey, what’s up
FA: Hey just so you know after landing the megaphone plastic cover fell off.
Me: Umm. Okay. Is that all?
FA: Yup, bye!
Did you have a chat with them after block-in?
 

dustoff17

Well-Known Member
I retired from AA last year with 32 years of service. My son, now 26 is Autistic, but higher on the spectrum than the person described in this article. I can see this from both angles. I would not let my son travel alone and I would insist that at least one family member sit next to him. It is a small consideration and accommodation to give. If this person has a legitimate diagnosis of autism then he is protected under the Americans with Disabilities act and he must be able to receive the same accommodation that a blind, wheelchair bound or otherwise handicapped person would receive.

The family erred by not notifying the airline prior to boarding of his condition, and the requirement to sit together. This should have been disclosed at the point of sale of the ticket. Airlines need time to make the necessary arrangements for accommodation. The crew erred in their insistence on the family's removal, (IMHO). I am not sure what the legal requirements are in this case. Does a failure of disclosure of the disability prior to boarding absolve the crew and company or waive the requirement for accomidation? Does the ADA, Americans With Disbilities Act, require reasonable accomodation on short notice? I honestly don't know.

As to the captain getting involved, sometimes they need to but sometimes, and I speak from experience, they should "shut up and remain seated". Injecting yourself into a passenger issue, where the safety of flight is not directly at risk exposes the crew to liability. An ADA claim against the company and crew could be filed.

Is Skywest still non-union? People ask what a union is good for. This is a perfect case, a union should stand behind the captains decision, if a case is filed against the company in a non-union shop, they may attempt to throw the crew under the bus. The FOM should give guidance in situations like this and it should task someone other than the crew to deal with accommodating people with disabilities. These arrangements take time and the flight crew is tasked with staying "on-time". That's the way it is done at major carriers.
There are SO many misunderstandings in your post, I'm not sure where to begin. I think that the vast majority of my response can be summed up in the following:
The ADA outlines accommodations for the truly disabled, NOT the disabled family member.

Way to many people confuse the word "reasonable" with the feeling that "I didn't get it my way". If the family members want to sit close because it's a "need" for another person, they should have purchased the tickets accordingly. The airline should not be help to an expectation higher than that of the responsible family.
 

Autothrust Blue

"I’d make a suggestion but you won’t listen”
If Facebook is any indication, roughly 72% of children under the age of 16 are autistic. Not making light of legitimate cases of Autism (such as the poster above from AA) but the Venn diagram of "my kids autistic" and "here's a photo of my kid drinking Mountain Dew" seems to be pretty tight.
The way that autism is framed in the public is very different from other developmental disorders, for sure.
 

engine46

Well-Known Member
Hated that brief! And seeing how many first-time-ever-jobs at an airline after 2 yrs working a desk or Starbucks turned FAs would overreact at VX, there is no way I'd give that brief.

I just had one in Mexico during boarding tell me a guy looked absolutely wasted and we had to remove him pronto. I said ok, I'll call the CRO and go from there. She was visibly ticked, as in why aren't you kicking him off? Seeing how she didn't look satisfied, I said I've never been trained on how to recognize whether someone is drunk or not, or if they are acting the way are because of some drugs/medications. The CRO is the properly trained individual and for denied boarding cases, they are the go-to and especially for covering legal-ese.

I never walked back to the cabin to see how drunk the individual was.

CRO took the pax to the jetbridge and I was not part of that conversation.

CRO comes back alone to the flight deck and tells me that indeed, the guy is totally wasted and not going to be able to fly today. I shook his hand and thanked him, and off he went. I let the FA know the pax is removed per the CRO's evaluation. I never even saw the pax, didn't need to.

Everybody happy. And the way I look at it, I covered the legal grounds for the decision. (And yes yes, I fully realize as the PIC I have the ultimate authority - still, I won't use that as a bat to take a swing at the pax that some FAs just wanted removed). We have procedures for denied boardings, we have tools/resources, and all available info to make the final decision.


And some people forget, you're not officially ISC until the all set/handoff is done so until then let the GSC do their jobs. I'm assuming most airlines are set up like this. There is a distinct time at which the role is "transferred" from the GSC to the Capt/ISC. Why make it tough on yourself? Let the people who are trained in their jobs do their jobs (namely the GSC and/or CRO).
Minor detail, but CROs are for disability-related issues. Because of the title it’s a common misunderstanding that they can/should respond to any “complaint”, but their training is very specific.
 

n156499000

Titanius Anglesmith
"Send me the heavy-duty CS drone, please!"
Back when I was said heavy-duty CS drone, 99% of my “we need a supervisor/GSC/CRO at gate xxx” calls ended with me loudly griping to whatever withered old hag (inflight or CS) that screamed for my presence “that didn’t require a supervisor/GSC/CRO, next time just be nice to the damned passenger and rub your two brain cells together and think for a second before you start yelling at the people who pay your salary.”

Now as a captain most of those complaints coming from behind are met with a “are they causing a safety or security hazard? No? Then just let it go and move on.”
 

ozziecat35

4 out of 5 great lakes prefer Michigan.
Taking off:
80 knots - cabin call ding.
Obviously we ignore, they must have hit the wrong button.
V1, rotate, nose comes off mains still on the ground - triple ding of the emergency call

Poop...there must be a fire in the cabin. That is the only reason why they would give us an emergency call right now.

Nonetheless, calmy fly up to 1,000ft, in my mind running through plans for a landing with a raging cabin fire. Flaps up, exchange controls and comms...

"Hey it's Isaac, what's going on..."

"The oxygen mask in 4a fell down".

"That's it?!"

"Yea what should we do?"
Arriving ORD while exiting 27L, running the afters and 2 frequencies...Ding.... “hey is everything ok?!”

“Oh yeah, are we keeping the plane?”

Deep sigh, long pause “...let’s talk at the gate...”

 

JordanD

Honorary Member
Arriving ORD while exiting 27L, running the afters and 2 frequencies...Ding.... “hey is everything ok?!”

“Oh yeah, are we keeping the plane?”

Deep sigh, long pause “...let’s talk at the gate...”

I've learned to quickly say "Don't answer that." when it's not an emergency ding and we're in ORD/LGA/whatever busy craphole.
"Sorry I didn't give the people an update. We're busy trying to cross-bleed an engine, coordinate a reroute, and the automated OCC message is already bitching at me because we've been taxiing so long."
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Minor detail, but CROs are for disability-related issues. Because of the title it’s a common misunderstanding that they can/should respond to any “complaint”, but their training is very specific.

True. But for a potential drunk, behavior, or “smell” I call them anyway to make sure this wasn’t some person on medication of some type or otherwise with some condition that makes them act like how they seem to be acting.
 

Autothrust Blue

"I’d make a suggestion but you won’t listen”
Speaking of awkward, when one of your flight attendants cuts off someone he thought was a belligerent drunk, then the accused drunk gets out of an Uber at your layover hotel and swiftly identified the crew and wants to argue about it.
I wound up drinking at the bar with some of your air line’s passengers after my airline stranded them in Fort Wayne one night. The biggest of the belligerent asshats turned out to be the nicest of them, and even bought a round for self/FO/FA. Wound up flying all of them out the next afternoon.
 
Top