Here’s an absolutely crazy story. Via USA Today:
Thirteen flight attendants who were fired by United Airlines for refusing to fly from San Francisco to Hong Kong because of a security concern have filed a federal complaint to get their jobs back.
Before United Flight 869 took off July 14, crewmembers noticed the words “BYE BYE” and two faces drawn in oily residue on the plane’s tail, according to the 26-page complaint filed Tuesday with the Labor Department. One face was smiling but the other was “devilish,” the complaint said.
Here’s the picture of “BYE BYE” and the faces drawn on the tail of the 747:
The flight attendants refused to fly unless all the passengers were taken off and the plane was screened for explosives. The flight ended up being canceled due to lack of crew, and 13 flight attendants got fired due to “insubordination.”
And now they’ve filed a complaint with OSHA:
The complaint filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration contends that the workers are protected as whistle-blowers from retaliation for reporting air safety and security threats. The flight attendants are seeking reinstatement, back pay and compensatory damages.
One of the flight attendants, Grace Lam, said the fired workers “were not willing to bow to United’s pressure to ignore an unresolved security threat even though the company made clear that we risked losing our jobs.”
Quite possibly the most shocking part of this story, though, is just how junior the crew was:
David Marshall, who filed the complaint as a partner at Katz, Marshall & Banks, said the flight attendants with a combined 299 years of experience were worried about security threats after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March and a Transportation Security Administration warning about consumer electronics the week before the flight.
Only 299 years of experience for the 13 flight attendants?! 😉
In all honesty, I’m at a loss here. I’d be freaked the hell out if I saw that drawn on the tail of a plane, and think the flight attendants were totally justified in their concern. It’s one thing to say they overreacted, but to fire them over expressing security concerns? Huh?!? There must be more to this story…?
What do you think? Were the flight attendants justified in their concern, and did they deserve to be fired over this?
(Tip of the hat to Kevin)