A Virgin Blue flight attendant has been fired after putting a 17-month-old baby in an overhead compartment as part of a peek-a-boo joke. Passenger Natalie Williamson was on a flight from Fiji to Sydney with her husband and son when the flight attendant put the baby into the overhead bin and locked it for 10 seconds.
“I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said ‘Get my son out of there now’,” she told Australia’s Sunday Herald Sun.
Virgin Blue admits that the incident happened but claims Williamson’s husband had been playing peek-a-boo with the overhead bin when the flight attendant joined in. The airline has offered apologies as well as three free flights, but the mother claims she and her child are too traumatized to redeem them, and her son still suffers from anxiety and withdrawal three months after the incident.
[Photo courtesy Flickr user David McKelvey]
A gun was fired in the cockpit and so was the pilot. In March 2008, on a flight from Denver to Charlotte, US Airways pilot Jim Langenhahn’s gun discharged, an action taken by his employer shortly after. Now that his 18-month disciplinary suspension is over, he’s back in training and getting ready to take to the friendly skies. The Associated Press didn’t mention whether the current program involves targets.
A federal arbitrator’s decision is what’s leading to Langenhahn’s reinstatement, but he won’t be allowed to pack heat on board. He was strapped in 2008 because of a 2002 federal law that permits pilots to carry handguns onto the plane – as long as they complete a Transportation Security Administration program that includes a week of weapons training. The law was passed following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
Support from the US Airways pilots’ union helped, along with a Department of Homeland Security position that found the holsters pilots used to be faulty. The holsters, DHS found, increased the likelihood of an accidental discharge.
The Hyatt hotel chain is facing more trouble after firing nearly 100 housekeepers and replacing them with contract workers. Though a rep for Hyatt has denied that the fired workers were “tricked” into training their replacements and were not given severance, it seems the public isn’t buying it.
Union officials at the Boston Taxi Drivers Association have said that the 1700 drivers in the union will boycott Hyatt Boston locations, refusing to pick-up or drop-off fares there, unless the housekeepers are reinstated. The Massachusetts Governor has even gotten in on the action, saying that unless Hyatt rehires the fired workers, he’ll direct all state employees to stay at other hotels.
In a letter he sent to the CEO of Hyatt, the Governor said that while he understood that tough economic times meant making tough decisions, he thought that the manner in which the staff was let go was “so inconsistent with the expressed values of the Hyatt organization and basic fairness” that he did not think that “any other remedy other than full reinstatement” was appropriate. He also said he didn’t wish to instate a boycott but that the workers were treated so unfairly that he had no choice but to do so.
Of course, Hyatt fired back, saying “We do not understand why the Governor is putting more Massachusetts jobs at risk instead of working with us to find jobs for employees affected by the realities of these unprecedented economic challenges.” Looks like neither side will be backing down, and the only people who’ll suffer will be the workers.
Sweden‘s airport authority had problems with its computer systems … caused by porn. An investigation has revealed that LFV Group employees were passing the time on adult websites while at work. Seven have been fired, and one employee quit as a result. Particularly loathsome is the fact that some of these employees accessed at least one website with child pornography.
This behavior was discovered because LFV wanted to know why its network was running slowly.
LFV doesn’t suspect coordinated activity among the employees responsible, as they worked in different facilities across Sweden. But, there is a common thread: they spent large chunks of their workdays focused on porn sites – in some cases up to 75 percent of the day.
To read about other ridiculous tales from the airport checkpoint, click the arrow in the blue triangle below and explore the gallery.
State-run Air India gave 10 air hostesses the boot last week for being “exceptionally overweight.”
According to Reuters, a medical board in India had declared them “unfit for duty,” and they had been grounded for two to three years each. Air India finally decided to cut them off — and while several of the air hostesses apparently approached the New Delhi High Court about challenging the firings, the case was quickly scrapped.
This isn’t like back in the 60’s when American flight attendants had to meet almost ridiculous weight restrictions (read our Interview with a Retro Stewardess here), or is it? A five foot 18 year old air hostess for Air India had to weigh under 110 pounds, while hostesses ages 26-30 had a little more leeway at 123 pounds.
The air hostesses, who were between 24 and 70 pounds over their allotted weights, were declared medically incapable of doing their jobs. Now, they are jobless. USA Today spoke with one woman, Sheila Joshi, who had 27 years of service under her blazer.
From USA Today:
The Times notes the move comes as “a new breed” of Indian airlines “aims to entice travellers with promises of svelte cabin crew.” One such carrier is Kingfisher. On that note, flight attendant Joshi says: “Kingfisher was founded four years ago. Its cabin crew are all in their twenties. Let’s see how much they weigh in 20 years.”
Would a five foot tall, 134 pound 18 year old woman pushing a beverage cart really make anyone less likely to fly Air India?
Eesh. I bet Air India wouldn’t want these women on board their planes either (but for different reasons):