After being fired for insubordination, having refused to fly on a plane that had an ominous message written on its tail, airline crew are suing United Airlines.
Given the fear that terrorist activities around the world have resulted in, 13 United Airlines workers were reluctant to board and fly aboard a plane they deemed unsafe. But, apparently, fear for your personal safety is not enough for flight crew to refuse boarding the plane.
Grace Lam, one of the 13 flight attendants, has been employed with United Airlines for approximately 17 years. She and the other flight attendants were preparing Flight 869 when they heard the news of graffiti on the planes tail.
Flight 869 was scheduled to fly to Hong Kong from San Francisco on, July 14, 2014, but what was written on the tail of that plane gave the flight attendants reason to rethink the departure.
Onto the tail of the Boeing 747-400 was scribbled the words ‘BYE BYE.’ If that were not eerie enough, ‘menacing images’ were also left on the plane’s tail “including what court documents describe as a face with a ‘troubling expression’ that could be characterized as ‘frowning or devilish,’” according to DailyMail.
Lam said, “I was scared. I was frightened. I have flown as a flight attendant for a total of 24 years, and I have never seen anything like this.”
The message was believed by the crew to be a very serious threat, especially after the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 a short 4 months ago.
Their refusal to fly, however, was not viewed by United Airlines in that same light and refused to deplane the passengers and crew from the plane. The ground crew, insisting it was a joke, checked only the auxiliary power unit near the drawings on Flight 869.
Refusing to fly without a full security sweep, the flight was canceled.
According to a United Airlines spokesperson, Christen David, “Our flight operations, safety and maintenance teams appropriately investigated and determined there was no credible security threat.” “The pilots, mechanics and safety leaders deemed the aircraft entirely safe to fly.”
This incident happened just one week after authorities enhanced the security screenings for all flights which were to be carried out due to an increase of threatened ‘on-board’ bombs. “Furthermore, the flight attendants suspected that the messages may have been scrawled onto the plane at its previous port-of-call in Seoul, South Korea and proper security sweeps were not conducted prior to departure,” reports Mad World News.
All 13 flight attendants were terminated in October, insubordination.
David Marshall, the flight attendant’ lawyer, stated, “I believe it’s a moral mandate to do what they did, and that’s to say, ‘We’re not going to fly on this flight.’ In the face of this kind of threat, an airline is required to actually deplane the passengers, get ‘em off the plane and do a security sweep of the plane…They didn’t do that.”
Understandably, all 13 flight attendants have asked that United Airlines reinstate them.
United Airlines, in a statement to CBS News, “All of FAA’s and United’s own safety procedures were followed, including a comprehensive safety sweep prior to boarding, and the pilots, mechanics and safety leaders deemed the aircraft entirely safe to fly.”
A plane with ominous messages written on it may not have been a big deal a few years back but now they give us all reason to pause. Would you be willing to risk your life for United Airlines in order to keep your job? When 13, not just 1 or 2 but 13, crew members refuse to fly, maybe the charge of insubordination should be reexamined.