Holy national security, Batman! A nine-month investigation, known cryptically as “Operation Last Call,” has resulted in the arrest of 18 JFK Airport employees, including three security guards, according to CNN.
The employees were apprehended Wednesday, after being accused of stealing “more than 100,000 mini-bottles of alcohol from LSG Sky chefs, which provides food and beverages for American Airlines,” said the CNN report. Most of the accused were LSG employees.
The alcohol was allegedly sold on the underground market (Why is there an underground market for a legal substance? Just asking.) to local retailers, resulting in an estimated retail value of $750,000.
Now you know how to make those frequent flier miles really add up. Just don’t say I told you so.
Just a couple weeks ago, American Airlines revealed its restructuring plan, proposing to lay off 13,000 employees, terminating pensions and shutting down its Alliance base in Dallas-Fort Worth. Worried about losing their jobs, American employees are protesting.
“I understand it somewhat,” 24-year mechanic Greg Cooke, one of 300 American workers protesting at DFW this week told Star-Telegram. “But I don’t want to have to move again just to put another four years in before I retire. I’m tired of them taking and asking off of the backs of the employees.”
Protesters including pilots and members of other unions, showing their support, marched in front the DFW terminal holding signs saying “Blaming Labor AgAAin.”
Workers believe the airline needs to pay its pensions and called for an end to the “corporate greed” of executive bonuses in previous years.
American, meeting now with union leaders, said that the restructuring process is difficult but necessary and will affect all employee groups, union and nonunion alike.
“We are meeting with representatives from each union to negotiate the changes needed to make us successful, and are focused on reaching consensual agreements in the next few weeks,” spokesman Bruce Hicks said. “Our goal is to exit as a growing, profitable company that preserves tens of thousands of jobs.”
A Delta Airlines connection flight was cancelled last Thursday, after two female flight attendants engaged in a catfight. According to the Associated Press, Rochester-to-Atlanta-bound Delta Connection Flight 887 was forced to return to the departure gate after one of the passengers fell ill. Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines spokesman Joe Williams states that there was no physical contact between the dueling attendants, merely a “verbal disagreement.”
Passenger Steve Mazur contradicts Williams’ statement, saying that the women, “Apparently got into a fistfight. The pilot decided to kick everyone off the plane.” Fellow passenger Corey Minton adds that they were ordered to disembark because “stewardesses were fighting.”
Delta damage-controlled the situation by finding alternate travel arrangements for passengers, but likely won’t be able to erase the salacious image of flight attendants scratching one another’s eyes out. Both women have been put on leave until an internal investigation can be done. Says Williams, “The activity described is not acceptable.”
22 people were arrested Tuesday amidst allegations of smuggling drugs from Puerto Rico into the US on American Airlines planes. Nine of the people arrested were employees of the airline, who allegedly sent over 9,000 kilograms – almost 20,000 pounds – of cocaine to US destinations that included Miami, Orlando and New Jersey. According to the US Justice Department, the ring has been operating since 1999.
The workers are a mix of ground crew and baggage handlers who are suspected of using suitcases to smuggle the drugs onto the planes. According to the AP release, Puerto Rico is a popular entry choice for drug traffickers, as once the drugs reach the island, they don’t have to pass through customs in the US.
Agents from the FBI and DEA arrested the suspects at locations in Miami and Puerto Rico in a joint effort cleverly named “Operation Heavy Cargo”. If convicted, the suspects face life in prison and fines up to $4 million.
American Airlines issued a statement saying, “As a company, we hope that the actions of a few employees don’t reflect negatively on the tens of thousands of ethical American Airlines employees who work hard to serve the public daily.”
In all honesty, most airline employees are fine, sensible sorts–stellar even. They are the type that you can count on to get you from here to there with as little fuss and muss as possible. However, there are exceptions and in those cases, the mistakes can be doozies.
Rick Seaney has been keeping track of the airline employee stories that have created head shakes and eye-rolls. The “How stupid can a person be?” stories. These are the six stories he has come up with that are the worst of the bad. Read them and laugh. Or weep. And then vote for which airline employee you think is the worst of the worst. We’ll keep track of what you think.
Airline employee who escorts a child to the wrong airplane, thus sends the little darling to the wrong destination. Here’s the latest one of those stories we’ve posted about in the past
Baggage handler who falls asleep in the cargo hold and ends up taking off with the plane. The last guy who did this had an unusual ride to Boston from JFK.
Pilot who begins slurring his speech during the take-off announcement and scares the heck out of passengers so much that they demand that he return them to the terminal. We caught those details here.
Airline employee who helps a friend get a gun on board.
Truck driver who drives an airport vehicle across the tarmac in front of moving airplanes.
Baggage handler who steals loot from bags and sells bounty on EBay.
Seany’s ABC News article, along with giving details about each of the mishaps, provides tips on how to avoid these airline employees if you can help it.