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What to do? -Southwest flight attendant makes a mixed drink & takes into cockpit!


Aug 6th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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What to do? -Southwest flight attendant makes a mixed drink & takes into cockpit!

Just recently on a flight from SLC to Oakland, CA, I was seated in the front bulkhead and witnessed a flight attendant make a mixed drink with vodka, then proceed to the cockpit. Isn't that against regulations? He was up in the cockpit for about 15-20 minutes and then returned to help the other flight attendants finish out our flight. I then witnessed him eating mints! I don't know if he took the drink to the pilot/co-pilot or consumed it himself. Just made us feel very uneasy about thinking our pilot may have been consuming alcohol. Of course, the rest of my family did not want to stand in line after the flight to make a full report and use valuable vacation time. Is it too late to do anything about it now? And who should it be reported to? Any recommendations would help. Thanks, Deb
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Aug 6th, 2004, 04:45 PM
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There must have been someone in a jump seat... they can have a cocktail if they are not about to be on duty.
TxTravelPro is offline  
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Aug 6th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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On a recent flight they asked the person "in waiting" to proceed to the cockpit. As indicated above, it was a jump seat situation and the passenger has no dealings with the controls.
LLindaC is offline  
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Aug 6th, 2004, 04:59 PM
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One of my girlfriends was lucky enough to get one of the jump seats on a stretch 767 on a Quantas flight over the Great Barrier Reef. They had cocktails. The Captain talked to them the whole time and the First Officer flew the plane.

I doubt the flight crew is throwing back cocktails in the cockpit. They have too much to lose.
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Aug 6th, 2004, 05:57 PM
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forget about it, don't worry about it. chances are if you report it you will just make a fool of yourself. who cares. get on with it.
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Aug 6th, 2004, 06:10 PM
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Herb was there - nuff said!
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Aug 6th, 2004, 10:58 PM
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Probably your flight was a lot safer with one of the pilots sipping a nice stiff drink !

Me, I might have been worried if I had witnessed them bringing in between 6 and 9 of them. But ONE? Who cares?
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Aug 7th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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Curious to know why you didn't ask about the alleged incident at the time it occurred?
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Aug 7th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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A friend of mine was once offered the Jump Seat on a BA flight but was told he would not be served alcohol in the cockpit.

Your observations are nothing more than circumstantial, and probably open to quite a bit of challenge - And they probably would be challenged as what you are insuinuating is very serious and is essentially speculation

Why did you happen to pay any attention to a flight attendant pouring a drink?, Surely your interest wasn't sparked until the attendant went to the cock pit, and it is at this point you start to record your concerns. I put it to you that all you actually saw was a flight attendant walking into the cockpit with a drink and you have no evidence that the drink taken to the cockpit was alcoholic. Your view was no doubt obstructed by the bulkhead, and i'm sure this attendant would testify to serving you (truthfully or otherwise)to many many alcoholic drinks during the flight.

Can you tell I've been in Court all week?
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Aug 7th, 2004, 06:50 AM
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Walter_Walltotti, damn, you're good!!

"If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!!"
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Aug 7th, 2004, 08:00 AM
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Call this 800 number-1-800-FAA-SURE.

An FAA official WILL call you back-and then of course, you will be asked to provide a written report with as much detail as possible-you MUST, as a responsible citizen, do this. This is nothing to be laughed at, nothing to be ignored. If true, this may well be a violation of both FAA regulations AND airline company policy-no F/A is allowed to take a cocktail into the cockpit of a working flight, period, end of story. This is not a foreign carrier, it is a Part 121 regulated U.S. carrier-U.S. carriers are regulated much more stringently in this regard than foreign carriers. It is potentially both a safety issue, AND a security issue.

Accordingly, you were quite right to bring it up on the board, Deblynn, good for you. I can tell you that yours truly once witnessed a violation of FAA security regs. with American Airlines in the Caribbean (at the time, FAA was responsible for both safety and security regulation of U.S. civil aircraft, now FAA is responsible for safety regs.) An investigation/surveillance was opened on the carrier, and the FAA found that AAL was in fact, violating the security reg. in question; the carrier was fined something like $50,000, had to introduce recurrent training for all its employees at the station in question, and was subject to stepped-up surveillance from then on out.

Even if the investigation does not warrant further action, YOUR action has not been in vain; that is why both FAA and TSA have hotlines-they want to hear from the public if the public legitimately believes there is an aviation-related issue of concern that needs to be brought to the agencies' attention-this is your USG in action.
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Aug 7th, 2004, 08:08 AM
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To Walter... =D>

Is this what will be happening from now on? People who sit on airplanes with little to do but panic ... ala Annie Jacobsen?
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Aug 7th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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And since the Jacobsen article was just mentioned, let me reiterate what I said in the previous thread on this matter: the fact that Annie Jacobsen wrote an overreactive article about a non-event is not really the issue. Many people on this board questioned why, if there was nothing suspicious about the Syrian pax in question, was the flt. then met by a trio of law enforcement agencies? Precisely because the Jacobsens and certain flight crew members felt uneasy-like I said, nobody ignored the pax and crewmembers unease-the cockpit reported the concerns to dispatch IN AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION-a decision was then made to meet the a/c with law enforcement, whereupon all the pax in question checked out-and it was determined that they had broken no laws while on the a/c, nor were they in violation of any laws while in the U.S.

A little paranoia is NOT a bad thing-it is better to report a situation and have those with responsibility for such matters make the decision to have it investigated than to be sorry later. In this day and age, a person has to stay alert and aware of what is going on in the aviation environment, (and that clearly means safety related issues as well!) or indeed, while traveling in any mode of public transportation.
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Aug 7th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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If Debbie critically assesses the information she has and is still convinced of what she saw then I agree with spygirl, it is a serious matter and should be reported.

Additionally, self-assessing and being self-critical of your own observations and ensuring that this self-scrutiny is included in a submission to your FAA will certainly add weight to any report and the credibility with which it will be viewed.

In making an assessment as to the quality of your evidence you might wish to consider the followingbr /> What made you notice the attendant in the first place?
Can you describe the attendant?
In what manner was the act committed?(difficult this - did it appear surreptitious or brazen and in what way was it surreptitios or brazen)
How exactly did the incident occur. (i.e was the spirit put in first and then the mixer - or was it the other way around - Did they have ice?)
How far away were you?
Were there any obstructions to your visibility to any part of sequence of events you alledge.
What were the lighting conditions like?
Who will corroborate your version of events?
Who corroborate your version of events?
Did it appear that other staff were aware?
How long did the whole incident last?
How did you know they were eating mints?
Did you make any notes at the time?
Why didn't you report it at the time?
Was anything said between any of the attendants, concerning the drink, if so what?
Could your observations have been impaired?
How long is it since the alleged incident? (fiction often becomes fact over a period of time).
How can you be sure of anything you state?
Would you be prepared to sign an affidavit or witness statement to the effect. and if necessary attend a tribunal or court hearing to act as a witness?

Whilst I understand that failing to put a complaint in may mean that a guilty person escapes punishment, a complaint put forward without assessing the information could do serious damage to an innocent persons career.

Whilst I may operate in a climate of innocent until proven guilty, the airline may not.

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Aug 7th, 2004, 09:01 AM
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If you know anyone who is trained in cognitive interviewing - speak to them. Cognitive interviewing is the act of bringing out the "knowing" in the widest sense - Sensation, perception etc but distinguishing it from emotion or conation.
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Aug 7th, 2004, 09:06 AM
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We're talking about a civil enforcement action, here, Walter, there is no "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard! This isn't a criminal case! It is not Deblynn's concern about HOW the investigation proceeds- all SHE needs to do is report what she knows to the FAA-virtually all enforcement cases that are initiated by the public are opened in the same way-the FAA will ask her the questions, and ask her to submit a written report-nothing so complicated as a civil or criminal case ending up in a state or federal court, -it is an administrative case. Nor does it involve "ruining someone's career" - whatever punishment is meted out when warranted is a labor/ employment issue between the employee and the carrier- it has nothing to do with the FAA investigation of the alleged violation.
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Aug 7th, 2004, 09:14 AM
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I have an uncle who is a retired pilot but still flies planes for many companies, ones without passengers. He ferries planes and cargo but his age won't allow him to fly passengers. He has had a drinking problem all his life and always bragged about getting toasted and flying -- and these were not short flights. He eventually ended up in a Betty Ford clinic and goes in and out of alcoholic binges.

I think that in light of the problems that the airline industry has had with this that they should make sure they're above reproach. And a co-pilot shouldn't be drinking either. If someone doesn't want to use the jumpseat because of this restriction then I say let them walk.

Deblynn, report it to the FAA and let them do the follow up instead of us crack investigators. I for one appreciate your attention to this. Passenger safety is not just an issue of terrorism.

Thanks for the heads up.
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Aug 7th, 2004, 09:20 AM
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Walter--you are good!!! You line of questioning in general is very,very interesting...(I am a Communications major so I love this stuff). I love the detail!!! Is this then an example of cognitive questioning?
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Aug 7th, 2004, 09:22 AM
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That's exactly what I've asked Deblynn to do, Tandoori Girl, which is why I provided the FAA 800 number-Deblynn just has to call, and let the FAA do the investigation-not one thing more.
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Aug 7th, 2004, 09:27 AM
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Sorry, I don't sit in the US Courts.

I assumed that a breach, if proven, of FAA "Regulations" would be a criminal offence.

My point is, is that untrained eye witness testimony has been demonstrated to be very unreliable and it should be approached with Caution. This would apply to Civil and Criminal matters. What people "know" and report is often far from what is "fact". Presumably Deblynn wants this matter to be taken seriously?
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