I'm not a 73 guy

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Zomby Woof, May 29, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Zomby Woof

    Zomby Woof Silver Member

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    Got on my flight and the cabin is hot. No air flowing from the overhead vents. Pilot and co-cpilot are not onboard yet to turn the air on. There's another UA pilot in uniform sitting on the aisle seat one row in front of me. Flight attendant asks him if he can go to the cockpit and turn on the air. He replies, "I'm not a 73 guy and it would be in appropriate for me to do that". Maybe there are rules preventing him from touching anything in the cockpit if he's not assigned that flight. But if not, he's response seemed kind of lame. So we baked another 10 minutes until the pilot arrived.
     
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  2. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Wait, you want a pilot who might not have a type certification on an aircraft to go into the cockpit and start turning knobs and punching buttons? I know aircraft have a lot of similarities, but I want someone who absolutely for sure knows what they're doing making the decision. I applaud the pilot for having excellent judgement in not messing with things he's not currently trained to mess with.
     
  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I guess there are strict FAA rules around who can touch the cockpit controls.
    Sounds like the pilots response meant he is not authorized to touch anything?
     
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  4. Zomby Woof

    Zomby Woof Silver Member

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    Well I would have liked him to at least take look. Maybe, it's just one knob for A/C (on or off). If it's not obvious, then leave it alone.

    On the other hand, maybe UA shouldn't have started the boarding.
     
  5. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    It isn't one knob. He'd have to turn the APU on if the aircraft wasn't being supplied power/A/C from a ground unit.
     
  6. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Think about it from a situational standpoint. You're on an aircraft that is only going to get hotter, no pilots to be found (nobody knows exactly when the pilots will be arriving, even though hindsight says 10 minutes), yet we know it's long enough away that an FA is asking for help for the comfort of people aboard the aircraft.

    There are a lot things that we don't know about the situation, but the most inappropriate thing was to let people board the aircraft without anyone willing or qualified to remedy the situation.

    A lot of other things come to mind, but I'll just leave it at that.
     
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  7. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Bingo. They weren't really ready for an on time departure without making the passengers and FAs suffer, so they simply should have delayed boarding until the pilots arrived.

    I don't know the rules or how much training it takes to know how to turn on the AC on different airplanes. If the pilot (also suffering with the heat) wasn't willing to turn it on, my guess is that he had a good reason. It could even be as simple as mutual respect for the Captain, as there may be some unwritten law that says, "Don't touch it if it isn't yours. Period." That is more likely the real reason, and I think it's understandable.
     
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  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Quite impressive that you can, in the same sentence, acknowledge that there are so many bits we don't know and yet still make a blanket judgment as to what is right or wrong.
    How much longer would the flight have been delayed had they not started boarding until after the pilots arrived and the A/C was on? How many passengers would have been more inconvenienced by a missed connection versus being a bit warm for some short period of time.

    Hard to believe that anyone can know the whole story based on only a tiny sliver of actual information. :rolleyes:
     
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  9. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    If mutual respect branches out into something like air conditioning for passengers who have to suffer because pilots are late, then I understand why some ground staff dislike pilots.
     
  10. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    Well, I'm going to have to go against WA on this one. The plane should have been prepared for boarding before.....boarding. The pilot sitting in the passenger section did absolutely the right thing.
     
  11. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It is not uncommon to board a plane before the pilots are there. GAs do it to keep things moving and prevent further delays. I'm sorry it was too hot for the OP to be comfortable but I don't think anyone did anything wrong.

    On this we certainly agree.
     
  12. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    How long would you estimate it was between when you first boarded to when the pilot(s) arrived to turn on the AC? And which airport was this?
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    And what time was it at, where was the plane headed to? Where were the pilots coming from? Were they on the ground from their inbound flight when boarding started? On final approach? Did the GAs ask the FAs if the plane was ready for boarding? What was the answer provided by the FAs?

    I'm sure there are more questions which play in to the decision but these are a few more I can think of.
     
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  14. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    I believe the pilot did the correct thing. Nothing good could have come out of it for that pilot, and a myriad of things could have gone wrong, not the least of which is the actual captain could have kicked him off the plane, he could have been reprimanded for improper conduct, and so on.

    If there was a true emergency, I'm sure he would have conducted himself appropriately to ensure passenger safety. But if it meant everyone had to shvitz for awhile longer (including himself), thems the breaks. If anyone is "at fault," it is the gate agent for premature boarding.
     
  15. HubletUAFlyer

    HubletUAFlyer Gold Member

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    Ill guess it was a 737 & he was not certified.on the aircraft.

    Good call.by the.pilot
     
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  16. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I realize (and actually sometimes enjoy the resulting mental exercise) that it is your role on this site to play the contrarian at all times, but I think this case is clear "enough" to know that it was HOT by the fact that the FA asked the pilot-passenger to help out. The FA probably didn't know his certification, but took a shot at it, indicating that the majority of the pax were miserably warm.

    I once had a heat stroke after waiting in an unairconditioned waiting room to see a customer for half an hour, and it put me down for 3 days after a lengthy trip to the ER. I hate to think how much worse that would have been if it hit me at 30,000 feet, and it sounds like the conditions may have been ideal to cause the same result for someone already under-hydrated by rushing to get to their departure.

    You make a good point, however, that a delay could cause grave problems for some. Depending on the destination and time of day, that is almost certainly so. Having missed the last Taca flight on which I was to connect out of Bogota on Monday, I'm currently painfully aware of that reality. I would have gladly sat in a sauna for a while if it would have insured that I made that flight.

    Clearly we lack the detail to make a clear call on what was right or wrong. OTOH, everyone here can identify with the misery of sitting in an overheated metal tube, and that's what (I suspect) we were all thinking about when we read the OP.
     
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  17. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    Ditto.

    Or the FA. Or anyone else who had anything to lose.

    Or he could've been fired. Which very well may have happened, to him and the FA, had he done anything like what he was asked.
     
  18. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    The FA did nothing wrong by asking, and the pilot probably thought by saying "I'm not a 73 guy..." that she'd know exactly what he meant, without further clarification. Even the OP qualified his kvetch with "it seemed kind of lame [[unless]there are rules]."

    I've been on miserably hot aircraft, waiting for the APU, or whatever else is disturbing my creature comforts. I, too, would have liked instant AC on.
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Really?

    Here I was just thinking that I was providing my opinion, which generally takes into account the bigger picture of any particular situation rather than being selfish. That's not a "role" I play; it is reality.

    Would I be upset that the plane was hot? Sure. Can I see that there might be a reason they boarded anyways? Of course (and I've been there a few times). Do I think that the off-duty pilot did the correct thing? ABSOLUTELY.
     
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  20. HeathrowGuy
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    HeathrowGuy Gold Member

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    Of course there are rules against that pilot touching anything:

    1. Federal regulations prohibit unauthorized persons from the cockpit, and the operation of the aircraft by anyone not licensed to do so;

    2. Pilots are professionals, and as such he would have faced liability should anything have happened as a result of fiddling with any controls; and

    3. Union rules further prohibit operation of the aircraft by anyone other than the crew assigned to the flight.

    Not to mention, United would be taken to the proverbial cleaners had anything bad occurred from an unqualified employee entering the cockpit without authorization and performing an improper action.
     
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  21. owenbrowntrout

    owenbrowntrout Silver Member

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    Why does UA board a plane that is not ready to be boarded? Those mechanics that run around the plane shortly before takeoff can probably operate the air conditioning. And are authorized to do so. If the heat was bad, one could disembark to the waiting area until conditions improve.
     
  22. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    If all of that is true, then it's back to the gate agent for letting people on board.

    The OP mentioned it was 10 minutes before the FA asked the pilot to help. One of the many things we don't know is how much time elapsed since people were allowed to start boarding, in addition to that 10 minutes.
     
  23. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    I'm not sure about #3, I've seen pilot-passengers help out on the flight deck when the pilots were not there. He didn't pre-flight the aircraft but he did turn on lights and minor stuff. I did assume he was type rated in the plane I was in. I wouldn't want a pilot without the specific type rating hitting anything.

    (Of course I am having flashbacks to the last CO DO when they let us loose in a 737 and some a$$ decides to try and start the engines. Scott was not happy.)
     
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  24. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    That a$$ was trying to start up the APU if I recall correctly. I can't believe these people think they could try something like that. :rolleyes:
     
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  25. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Or the FAs. They control boarding, too.
     

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