Tag Archives: airlines

Comment Of The Day (1): “A Cruel And Stupid Flight Attendant, A Dead Puppy, And A Plane Full Of Sheep”

Choosing the best among so many excellent comments on this topics was nigh impossible. I chose two in the end, beginning with Michael West’s systemic analysis that also opens several ethics issues that could justify separate posts on their own. The second COTD, coming up forthwith, addresses a completely different aspect of the story.

Here is Michael West’s Comment of the Day on the post, A Cruel And Stupid Flight Attendant, A Dead Puppy, And A Plane Full Of Sheep”

1) Airlines have clearly delineated standards for carry-on sizes. Enforcement of these sizes has been perennially neglected to where passengers routinely carry noticeably larger than permitted carry-on bags. This is marginal rule breaking.

2) No doubt this puppy was in such a carry-on that would never have been permitted if rules were enforced…NOR EVER EVEN ATTEMPTED if the owners knew that rules were enforced. But the larger culture has acquiesced to the flouting of a “no big deal” rule. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Business & Commercial, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners

Ethics Quiz: The Nicely-Dressed Factor

(NPR says this was an actual passenger.)

When I fly, I always wear a sports jacket. No tie, often a sports shirt. Usually dress shoes, though not since I got mt neato-keen Boston Red Sox canvas deck shoes. Why do I do this? Apparently because I’m old, but also because of that old, archaic value, respect. If I’m in public, and especially if I’m going to be in close quarters with someone, I want the experience for them to be as pleasant as possible.

The airlines exercise very little dominion over what its passengers wear. Bare feet will keep you grounded; a T-shirt  with profanity or a lewd message may get you barred from a flight, but not much else. However, the airlines do notice what you wear, and what you wear may have benefits:

George Hobica, founder of the travel fare advice site Airfare Watchdog, said that “everyone believes no one gets upgraded anymore based on how they look.” But, he added, “It does happen.”… [Hobica] then relayed tales of friends who had been upgraded while wearing clothes they considered nicer than what they might wear to the gym or the grocery store, and a conversation he once had with a gate agent friend at Lufthansa.

“She told me she would upgrade people based on how good-looking they are, how pregnant they are, or how nicely they’re dressed,” he said. “She said: ‘Look, we oversell flights and, of course, we go down the status list first. Absolutely, we look at your miles.’” But if no one on the flight warrants special privileges, the absence of ripped jeans or tattered sneakers can help, Mr. Hobica said.

The Times got uniform denials that attire was rewarded when it contacted various airlines, but a flight attendant vaguely confirmed Hobica’s account.

“I will say that when I see someone come on the plane and they’re dressed nicely and their children are dressed nicely, I do take notice,” said …a United flight attendant since 1978. “When someone is a little dressed up and looking like they made an effort, it’s almost like they’re showing respect for themselves and for everybody else on the plane…My personal opinion is that when you take pride in how you look, you take pride in how you act,” she said.

Hmmmm.

The Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the day is…

It is ethical for polite attire to confer benefits for flyers over passengers who dress in flip-flops, tank-tops and torn jeans?

Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Etiquette and manners, U.S. Society

Confounding Update To The United/Tahera Ahmad/Diet Coke Episode

Question_markWhen I posted with disgust on the Tahera Ahmad story (a Muslim-American woman who reported on Facebook that she was discriminated against by a stewardess and subjected to verbal abuse by a passenger on a United Airlines flight, and that no passengers came to her aid of defense), I noted that the facts seemed hard to believe, and that my commentary was based on a presumption that the account was true without knowing whether they were.

Now there have been two developments that provide additional perspective on the incident, and no enlightenment whatsoever.

First, United announced that it has investigated the incident, and fired the flight attendant. This would suggest that Ahmed’s account had at least some validity…or that the flight attendant got a fat settlement as United fired her to avoid a public relations battle with Muslim groups.

Second, this was posted on FlyerTalk Forums: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Facebook, Religion and Philosophy, Workplace

TSA’s Incompetence: Combining David Brooks’ Scandal-Free Fantasy With United’s Anti-Soda Can Policy For Muslem Passengers

mashupmonday

Now we have this:

Washington (CNN)Airport screeners failed to detect explosives and weapons in nearly every test that an undercover Homeland Security team conducted at dozens of airports, according to an internal investigation.

The Transportation Security Administration found that “red teams” with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General were able to get banned items through the screening process in 67 out of 70 tests — 95% — it conducted across the nation.

In other words, since those deadly Islamic terrorists can easily smuggle explosives and weapons on board United flights (or any others), it’s really silly to rob them of the pleasure of sipping a Diet Coke from a freshly opened can as they wait to send everyone to Allah.

In more words, all of the hundreds of thousands of hours, pointless inconvenience and hassle, emptying of pockets, taking off of shoes and belts, moving laptops in and out of bags, showing IDs and boarding passes, as well as the occasional intrusive and unpleasant feel-up pat-downs by strangers wearing rubber gloves that have been inflicted on air passengers (like me) have been stupid, useless, and as effective at keeping airplanes safe as being checked by a blind marmoset with a divining rod.

Of course, David Brooks wouldn’t call the TSA’s gross failure an example of inexcusable incompetence, lack of oversight and breach of trust a scandal either, because it doesn’t involve sex (well, at least in most of the patdowns)  or criminal acts, and is the responsibility of Barack Obama, whose administration is amazingly scandal-free, so this can’t be a scandal by definition.

I beg to differ. The stunning incompetence and lack of competent management, accountability (watch: nobody will be fired for this) or oversight exemplified by this latest fiasco is an ongoing scandal of the worst kind, one of many, or, if you prefer, just the single, devastating, huge, two-term scandal that is the Barack Obama presidency, the most arrogant and incompetent administration in U.S. history.

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Rights

Ethics Dunces, “What The Hell Is The Matter With You People?” Division: Everybody* On United’s Chicago-D.C. Flight Except Tahera Ahmad

taheraAhmad

Feared soda can hijacker Tahera Ahmad

I don’t understand how this episode could happen as it has been described. I am assuming for the purpose of the post that it did, and thus have almost nothing to add to the story other than to ask “What the hell is the matter with these people?”

Tahera Ahmad, an associate chaplain and director of interfaith engagement at Northwestern, described the alleged incident on Facebook while she was on the United flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C. Friday night.She wrote that she was in tears following an ugly episode that began with her request for a Diet Coke when the beverage service reached her row. The flight attendant had given her an opened can of Diet Coke. When Ahmad requested an unopened can, the flight attendant told her, “Well, I’m sorry. I just can’t give you an unopened can, so no Diet Coke for you.”

Then the same flight attendant gave another passenger an unopened can of beer. Ahmad said she asked why the man was given an unopened beverage can, but she was forbidden from having one. The flight attendant, according to Ahmad, replied, “We are unauthorized to give unopened cans to people, because they may use it as a weapon on the plane.”

Ahmad told the flight attendant she felt she was being discriminated against, and the flight attendant quickly grabbed the man’s beer can, opened it and said, “It’s so you don’t use it as a weapon.”  When Ahmad asked for support from other passengers,  a man sitting in an aisle across from her said, “You Muslim, you need to shut the fuck up,” Ahmad said.

“What?” a shocked Ahmad said. The passenger looked her in the face and said, “Yes you know you would use it as a weapon, so shut the fuck up.” “Some people just shook their heads in dismay,” Ahmad wrote on Facebook. But nobody rose to her defense.

After the flight, the attendant and the pilot apologized to her, and  United issued a lame mea culpa. It doesn’t matter. Everybody on the plane except for Tahera Ahmad should hang their heads in shame.

What the hell is United (or whoever made the “unopened can” policy, if there really is such a deranged policy) thinking? A can of soda is a weapon? There must be hundreds of things in carry-on luggage that would make a more plausible weapon than a soda can. Like pens. Like laptops. Like powercords. Like dop kits. Like electric razors.

Like fists and feet. Ridiculous.

Gee, I always thought they opened those cans to be nice…

What the hell was the flight attendant thinking? Making that excuse to Ahmad, and then handing a male passenger an unopened can right in front of  her? What an obvious insult! Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

“Knee Defender” Ethics

There are no Knee Defender ethics.

Invented for entitled jerks, by one. Is this a great country or what?

Invented for entitled jerks, by one. Is this a great country or what?

The Knee Defender is unethical,  those who advocate them are unethical, its inventor, a slickly rationalizing  ethics corrupter named Ira Goldman is unethical, anyone who uses it is unethical, and anyone who defends it is unethical.

There. Next question?

What gives anyone in the seat behind me the right to appropriate space in the plane I have paid for? I have paid for it, you know: the space that my seat can recline into is within my control, my dominion. If I choose not to avail myself of it, then the person behind me is certainly free to make use of it—until I change my mind. There is no other legitimate, logical or fair interpretation of the rights and privileges involved. Using the Knee Defender, a sinister device designed to unilaterally claim my space, is taking what is mine by force. There’s no other side to the issue.

Oh, the obnoxious, smug marketing for the thing claims otherwise:

“It helps you defend the space you need when confronted by a faceless, determined seat recliner who doesn’t care how long your legs are or about anything else that might be “back there”…

First of all, you can’t defend space you have no right to, and never owned in the first place. And don’t insult me: I have a face, and no, I really don’t care how long your legs are. Mine are pretty long too, You have to be awfully tall not to be able to extend your legs under my seat. Oh—you have baggage under there, because you stowed some obscenely large roller-board in the over-head bins? Tough. I check my large luggage so I can keep the area clear under the seat in front of me, so I can stretch out my legs, so I don’t feel I have to whine about the seat in front of me reclining, and use vigilante devices invented by a trouble-maker to stop me from doing what the airlines say I purchased the privilege of doing, do he can pick up a lousy $29.95. You can check your luggage too, you know. You can also  seat yourself behind the seats that don’t recline. But no, rather than make the effort to deal with your physical limitations by planning ahead, you think it’s acceptable to solve your problem by waging war against the unlucky traveler who happens to get the seat in front of you. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Marketing and Advertising, Rights, U.S. Society

Ethics Hero (Animal Lover Division): Janet Sinclair

janet+and+sedona

Janet Sinclair used United Airlines’ “PetSafe” service to fly her beloved greyhound Sedona cross-country from San Diego. The service assures flyers that their pets will make the journey safe and sound, with responsible care and personal handling. Sinclair, however, became alarmed when she saw a United employee kick Sedona’s crate six times to shove it under the shade of the plane’s wing instead of carefully moving it. She then began documenting United’s pet care. Her video  shows her dog being left outside in 94 degree heat at a mid-journey stop (in Houston), and not placed in a temperature-controlled vehicle as she had been promised. When Sinclair landed at Logan Airport in Boston, her dog was barking at death’s door.

“Sedona’s entire crate was filled with blood, feces, urine,” Sinclair told reporters. “Sedona was in full heat stroke. All of the blankets were filled with blood. She was urinating and defecating blood. She was dying, literally, right in front of me.” The veterinarian who saved Sedona diagnosed her with heat stroke, urinary tract infection and liver dysfunction, all arising from the over-heating the dog experienced during the United Airlines flight. The airline, for its part, claimed that the dog’s distress was due to pre-existing conditions, though Sinclair’s vet had declared Sedona healthy following a pre-trip exam. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Heroes, Law & Law Enforcement