Turn your phone off when told to – or risk being kicked off your flight

Anyone that has flown knows that the cabin crew will make a big deal about having all passengers turn electronic devices off as soon as the cabin doors are closed. Of course, there are always a couple of people that need a little extra reminding. Then there are of course those passengers that need to make a call that is apparently so important, they’ll ignore all requests to turn their phone off.

A 20 year old man from Colorado fits that profile – and his phone call was so important, that it triggered a fight when he refused to turn his phone off. By the time the fight broke out, the plane had taken off from Charles De Gaulle airport, and four American security agents got involved.

With a disruptive passenger on board, the pilot took no risks, turned the plane around and landed back at the airport where the man was handed over to French police officers.

To make matters worse for this idiot passenger, United Airlines refused to fly him back home, and canceled his ticket. The flight ended up being delayed by almost two hours, causing a considerable inconvenience to everyone on board.


Another new day, another drunk passenger tries to open the aircraft door mid-flight

Rarely does a week go by without a flight being diverted because someone became “unruly”.

These incidents are often pretty innocent, involving a drunk passenger trying to harass fellow passengers. But every now and then the really insane (or drunk) take things to the next level, often with violence or by attempting to damage the plane.

Last night, United Airlines flight 223 from Washington to Las Vegas had to divert to Denver to drop off a passenger who had attempted to open the cabin door mid-flight.

Thankfully this is almost impossible to do because of door seals and the pressure difference, but that doesn’t change the fact that in his mind, he was ready to kill himself and many others on board the plane.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – insane and drunk passengers are a far greater danger than terrorists. See, you can use technology and profiling to spot a terrorist, but the seriously deranged are almost impossible to detect.

As usual, the culprit in this case was alcohol. He had been drinking before and during the flight, which once again shows how dangerous in-flight booze can be, and how important it is for cabin crew to stop serving intoxicated passengers.

The 129 passengers (minus one) continued on to Las Vegas arriving about two hours late.

United Airlines delivers best ever November on-time performance

As much as we love to whine about the airlines, we do still like to give credit where it is due. Such is the case with United Airlines.

In November, United managed to close the month with its best ever on-time performance since the Department Of Transport started asking airlines to report on their results in 1987.

For the month of November, United Airlines achieved a 91% on-time record. On November 26th they even managed to have 96% of their flights depart on time.

This really is an amazing accomplishment, and one that can all be traced back to United Airlines Employees. In January, United started a cash incentive program rewarding all their employees when the airline ranked first among its network peers. A first place is worth $100, and a second place is worth $65. The program is clearly working, because United Airlines employees have already earned $725 each, for a total payout of $28.5 million.

The airline is dealing with a bit of an image problem, so good news like this will probably go down quite well at their Chicago headquarters. Plus, as a United Airlines regular myself, I’d like to thank them for doing their best to get us in the air on time.


Twitter + Fares = Twares

Twares may not be a word in the dictionary now, but it might be a common word in travel vocabulary soon.

Twares is a noun, and it means you can get special, time-sensitive fare offers from United Airlines if you follow the airlines on Twitter.

A tweet was sent from @UnitedAirlines at around 11:10 a.m. ET on Wednesday to promote a special $63 each-way “Tware” between Washington Reagan National and Chicago O’Hare. The first tware has expired, but United is holding a 10K Twitter follower challenge (it’s at just over 5,000 followers right now). When it reaches that number, another tware might pop up.

It’s time to stop stalling and join Twitter!

You can find Gadling on Twitter, as well as most of the Gadling Team: Mike Barish, Kraig Becker, Catherine Bodry, Alison Brick, Justin Glow, Aaron Hotfelder, Tom Johansmeyer, Jeremy Kressmann, Heather Poole, Jamie Rhein, Annie Scott, Karen Walrond, Kent Wien, and Brenda Yun.

United crew – it’s time to serve drinks to the idiots in coach

There is not much I like about United Airlines, but their Channel 9 in-flight audio is one perk you won’t find on any other carrier. Channel 9 is the audio channel that lets you listen in on the cockpit communications with Air Traffic Control. I’ve always found it a great way to pass the time, and get a better idea what is going on when the plane is delayed.

A reader on The Consumerist apparently shares my love for Channel 9, but got a rude awakening when he noticed that the Channel 9 audio was relaying the flight attendant phone communications instead of the cockpit.

Unfortunately for the cabin crew, the things they were exchanging over the phone were really not intended for the passengers, especially when one of them told a colleague that they’d soon “start on drinks for the idiots in coach”.


I’ve always known coach class passengers were sometimes referred to as “roach class”, or “self loading freight”, but to actually refer to your paying customers as “idiots” seems rather harsh.

One of the passengers who heard the remarks let a crew member know they were able to hear what they were saying, at which point they stopped using the phones. Of course, no apology was issued, nor did anyone at United Airlines respond to the story.

(Via: The Consumerist)

Stories of booze gone bad in the skies