United Airlines Flight Attendants Fired For Refusing To Fly On Plane With Spooky ‘Bye Bye’ Graffiti
Thirteen United Airlines flight attendants were fired for “insubordination” after they refused to board a long haul flight aboard an aircraft that had an eerie “bye bye” graffiti etched on to its under-body. According to USA Today, the incident dates back to July 14, 2014 aboard a San Francisco – Hong Kong flight. According to Grace Lam, one of the flight attendants who was scheduled to serve passengers on United Airlines Flight 869, the cabin crew learned about the eerie graffiti that was etched on to the fuselage as they were preparing the flight for the long haul. According to Lam, one of her friends had managed to click a picture of the under-body of the aircraft. The spooky image had two smiley faces next to the words “bye bye.”
“She showed us the picture of the graffiti together with two faces that was taken on her phone. That’s the first time I saw the graffiti. I was scared. I was frightened. I have flown as a flight attendant for total of 24 years, and I have never seen anything like this.”
The incident had happened barely months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. For the same reason, all of the cabin crew members took the spooky message as a serious threat and refused to board the aircraft unless passenger already onboard were deplaned and the aircraft given a thorough security check. With United Airlines refusing to do so, the flight was eventually cancelled as there was no crew that could have come in as a replacement.
Three months after the incident, all the 13 crew members who had refused to fly on that day were terminated by United Airlines on grounds of “insubordination.” Following this, all the 13 flight attendants chose to tread the legal path. In a 26-page complaint against United Airlines, the flight attendants allege that even after raising concerns about the security of the aircraft following the discovery of the spooky graffiti, United Airlines ground crew only inspected the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit located at the tail section, near the drawings instead of conducting a thorough security check. They allege that the ground crew dismissed the drawings as a harmless joke.
According to David Marshall, the attorney hired by the former United Airlines flight attendants;
“I believe it’s a moral mandate to do what they did, and that’s to say, ‘We’re not going to fly on this flight. In the face of this kind of threat, an airline is required to actually deplane the passengers, get ’em off the plane and do a security sweep of the plane… They didn’t do that,” he says.
Meanwhile, United Airlines in a statement to CBS News said;
“Our flight operations, safety and maintenance teams appropriately investigated and determined there was no credible security threat. All of FAA’s and United’s own safety procedures were followed, including a comprehensive safety sweep prior to boarding, and the pilots, mechanics and safety leaders deemed the aircraft entirely safe to fly.”
The fired United Airlines flight attendants are now asking the airline to reinstate them and also pay them compensatory damages. However, they still maintain that they stand by what they did on that day in July.
“I have no regrets at all. If this happens again today, all over again, I would have done the same thing. Any flight attendant would have done — this is our job.”
Do you think this reaction by the flight attendants aboard this United Airlines flight went a bit overboard? Or were they right in asking for a thorough security check of the plane. What would have you done?
[Image Via USA Today]