Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover
we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
AP’s Today in History for March 18th
Russian cosmonaut first man to walk in space; Mahatma Gandhi is sent to prison for civic disobedience, Italy’s Mussolini agrees to enter WWII; Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube removed; Singer John Philips dies
Breakfast Tune Carolina Chocolate Drops — John Henry
Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below
- NYC’s Fauxgressive Mayor De Blasio Turning into a Charter School Cheerleader
Yves Smith: Diane Ravitch
- Gina Haspel should be arrested – not put in chargeof the CIA
- The Grand Illusion 2.0
- Fifteen Years After Iraq Invasion, Torture Has a New Address
William Rivers Pitt
- Farmworkers Bring Human Rights Fight to Wendy’s Doorstep, Fasting and Calling for Boycott Over Abuses
Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh
- Pelosi-Style Limousine Liberalism Won’t Save the Democratic Party
- Bottled Water, Brought to You by Fracking?
- Vietnam Vets Return to My Lai, Where US Slaughtered 500 Civilians
Amy Goodman and Juan González
- Have We Learned Anything From My Lai?
Something to think about over coffee prozac
After a dog died in an appalling debacle aboard a United Airlines flight Monday night, the internet assembled to pose “what ifs” and render ex post facto judgement. If, as several eyewitnesses have claimed, a flight attendant “insisted” that the dog’s owner, Catalina Robledo, needed to store the pet in an overhead bin, why didn’t the passenger object more fervently or get off the plane? And couldn’t the eyewitnesses have done more? Why didn’t they rise in mutiny upon hearing this plainly incorrect instruction?
Speak Up, but Beware the Limits of Speaking Up
Even though the flight attendant aboard United Flight 1284 had it wrong, Robledo still could have been thrown off the plane had she refused to store her dog in the overhead bin. This is because of regulations that in effect criminalize insubordination on planes. Federal regulations require, for instance, that passengers follow all crew instructions. (“Crew” includes flight attendants, who are required on planes because the Federal Aviation Administration wants someone present to command an evacuation during an emergency.) If you refuse to follow directions, airlines can take advantage of the broad permissions they are granted to refuse transportation to any passenger they deem a safety risk.
But you should still speak up—as Robledo did. The key is to remain calm and to avoid monopolizing the flight attendant’s attention. “You’re allowed to disagree with flight crew,” says Justin T. Green, a partner at Kreindler, a large plaintiff-side aviation law firm, “but you must do so without interfering with the flight crew’s duties.”
If you can’t convince the flight attendant to reconsider the decision, ask to speak with the lead flight attendant. Don’t ask to speak to the pilot, because pilots are trained to prioritize cockpit duties and usually defer to their in-flight crew’s judgement when a cabin issue is reported. As one pilot explained to me, not backing them up “would cause massive issues for the lines of communication among the crew and diminishes the already fragile authority flight attendants have over passengers.”
Finally, it’s always better to speak up while your plane is still at the gate. This allows you access to the conflict-resolution specialists airlines employ in airports, who are versed in all matter of regulatory arcana.
Avoid Confrontation. Just Give In.
If your dog’s life is not on the line, consider whether your problem truly requires an immediate resolution. The rules are stacked against you inside a plane. And even where an airline is later shown to have kicked off a passenger for bad reasons, the law provides the industry with unique liability protections.
If it can wait, your problem will get a fairer assessment once you’ve deplaned. “My best advice is to try to avoid confrontations on airplanes, even when the flight crew is in the wrong,” Green told me.
But if your dog’s life is on the line, you can flip the script. Instead of arguing, simply tell the crew why you feel unsafe. Crews are trained to make safety their first priority and encouraged to proactively report any conditions that could be unsafe. Your report would probably get relayed to another crew member, which could lead another staffer to get involved, hopefully one who’s better versed in procedure.
Pets are counted as passengers, so their safety matters, too. And you can report all safety issues, not only ones that directly impact you.
Ask to Deplane
If the crew persists in their request after you’ve told them you feel unsafe, ask if you can deplane. It should be no problem if the plane is still at the gate, and the airport employees are likely to be more responsive to your needs once you’re not holding up a plane.
Asking could work in your favor even after the plane has pulled away from the gate. That’s because it takes time to drop you back at the gate, and pilots want to get home as much as you do. As one pilot explained to me, “No one wants to return to the gate for any reason. I’m 99 percent sure that, once the captain got word of what was going on in the back, both he and the flight attendants would be either scouring the policy manual or calling company to find out what the proper procedure really is.”
For financial and logistical reasons, getting off the plane can be scary. You could be stuck buying a new round of tickets for everyone traveling in your group if the airline doesn’t help. But if you’re right, the company will almost certainly assist.
Document the Event
Airlines now find themselves in a similar position as police departments. Everyone has access to a camera and Twitter, and these are powerful tools for redressing wrongs.
File a Complaint
Once you do get home, explore the work of consumer rights organizations like Flyers Rights and Travelers United, and consider filing a formal complaint. (The Department of Transportation told me that it’s looking into Robledo’s experience, working in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, the agency that enforces the Animal Welfare Act.) …