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AC Flight Attendant Removed By EMS On YYZ-ATL  
User currently offlineManu From Canada, joined Dec 2004, 406 posts, RR: 7
Posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 8007 times:

Thursday night I was flying from ATL-YYZ (AC 1009) and the inbound flight from YYZ at ATL was 20 minutes late. Not a big deal as they had almost an hour to turn around. After the PAX deplaned the gate agents started acting strange and went on the bridge, locking the doors behind them. A minute later the ATL fire paramedics arrived with lights on and went up the airside bridge stairs. I looked online at the flight tracking and the info did not include “lifeguard” on anything, but am unsure if it would (anyone know?).

Sure enough, one of the two Flight Attendants on the EMB 175 fell ill of something that they removed her in a city ambulance (arrived 15 minutes later under police escort). They said she had to have an operation. One gate agent then updated us that there was a medical emergency on board with an FA and that they were seeing what arrangements could be made for the flight.

I thought we’d be stranded, what other airlines fly EMB 175’s so pulling an FA from another partner airline would be unlikely, and there were no more outbound flights that day, only one more inbound that would already be in the air (or close to it). But the agent said we’re going in 20 minutes (45 minutes late).

I boarded and the second gate agent was sitting at the rear door! The captain updated us with the same information about her illness and said how the regs permitted the gate agent to come in the missing FA’s place, but his only duty was to monitor the door and all services would be provided by the remaining single FA.

First off, has anyone ever seen this before? The gate agent helped out the FA during the emergency procedures demonstrations but really didn’t know what he was doing, so probably shouldn't have. Otherwise he just stayed in the back and out of the way.

By the end of the flight the FA was exhausted, obvious from her messages.
What a strange situation for my Thursday night. Is this “take a gate agent with you” procedure a Canadian thing? Does the FAA have something like it too? They couldn’t do this on a flight with only one FA, could they?

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4915 posts, RR: 43
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 7946 times:

This is a policy of Air Canada, and approved by Transport Canada.

If a Flight Attendant becomes unable to do his/her duties, an Air Canada employee can be trained on emergency procedures by the Captain and InCharge Flight Attendant. There are many restrictions which I wont bother to list here. The main one, is that this can not be done at a Flight Attendant base, and is only used to allow the aircraft to return.

In all my years of flying, I have never actually seen it used.

Canadian Airlines also used this procedure, to allow the return of aircraft from the high arctic with passengers, in the event of an ill F/A.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineB757capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1366 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 7829 times:

Hey this is the first I have ever heard of that. ITS GREAT. I wish the FAA would let us do things like this. Man oh man.


The views written by this user are in no manner the views of my employer and should not be thought as such.
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13043 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 7784 times:

Would the number of pax on the flight (less than 50% of capacity vs. near full) be a factor in such a decision to go with 1/fewer f/a's?

User currently offlineCessnapimp From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 1320 posts, RR: 20
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7700 times:

In Canada, if I'm not mistaken the airport agents belong to the Canadian Auto Workers Union and their CA prevents them from operating flights as F/A's.

User currently offlineLymanm From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 1138 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7552 times:

What an odd situation! I bet that gate agent didn't wake up and guess he'd be sleeping in Toronto that night!

Any news of the ill F/A?



buhh bye
User currently offlineManu From Canada, joined Dec 2004, 406 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 7206 times:

Quoting Lymanm (Reply 5):
Any news of the ill F/A?

No news, but wouldn't get any considering I am just a PAX. I will ask on my next AC flight to Atlanta in early April.

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 3):
Would the number of pax on the flight (less than 50% of capacity vs. near full) be a factor in such a decision to go with 1/fewer f/a's?

This flight was full, so no obviously it did not affect the issue.

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 1):
In all my years of flying, I have never actually seen it used.

Thanks for the facts. I guess it would be a rare situation for this to happen. I just happen to have it occur on my flight! I was most impressed how quickly it turned around.

Maybe you can answer this LongHauler. Does Air Canada require that the gate agent employees have passports? How on earth did this individual go through customs/immg. at Toronto without one if he did not have one? There was no return flight that night so he would have been camping out.


User currently offlineAlexPorter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 6959 times:

Quoting Manu (Reply 6):
Does Air Canada require that the gate agent employees have passports? How on earth did this individual go through customs/immg. at Toronto without one if he did not have one? There was no return flight that night so he would have been camping out.

Assuming the gate agent in ATL was a U.S. citizen, he doesn't need a passport to fly into Canada (a rule which changes in 2007). It isn't that difficult for US citizens to enter Canada or Mexico.


User currently offlineFLYACYYZ From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1914 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 5509 times:

Each aircraft according to Transport Canada standards has a minimum F/A crew complement in order to be dispatched. It is based on "door coverage" in case of an emergency (evacuation).

On a side note, the crew member in question dead-headed home the next day.



Above and Beyond
User currently offlineHBJZA From Switzerland, joined Jan 2006, 376 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 5250 times:

Very strange procedure. Non qualified F/A OK to monitor the door but not OK for the service ????? Quite scary indeed

In Europe it's the complete opposite you could have extra non-qualified F/A for the service but in no way for the "safety duties".

If an F/A would get ill in an outside station, the passengers number would be reduced in order to comply with the regulation for minimum door monitoring......logical isn't it ?


User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3501 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5118 times:

I heard an AC flight with the callsign "Medivac" coming into YYZ yesterday afternoon. Could this have anything to do with it? I didn't catch the flight number but I heard they have a heart onboard.


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User currently offlineFLYACYYZ From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1914 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4873 times:

Quoting HBJZA (Reply 9):
Very strange procedure. Non qualified F/A OK to monitor the door but not OK for the service ????? Quite scary indeed

The non-qualified individual is given a briefing on the door operation. It's first time I've heard of it acually being done in years of flying. I'm sure that those that were "scared", had the option of staying behind.

Quoting HBJZA (Reply 9):
If an F/A would get ill in an outside station, the passengers number would be reduced in order to comply with the regulation for minimum door monitoring......logical isn't it ?

With the exception of the CRJ which has a 1:50 ratio, all other aircraft have a 1:40 ratio, and that is for the purpose of door/minimum crew complement coverage. If need be, flights are load restricted accordingly.

Minimum Complements:

CRJ -1
E75/E90 -2
A319/A320-3
A321-5
B762-3
B763-3
A330-4
A340-4

This is mandated by Transport Canada for Safety--not service.

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 10):
I heard an AC flight with the callsign "Medivac" coming into YYZ yesterday afternoon. Could this have anything to do with it? I didn't catch the flight number but I heard they have a heart onboard.

Makes for a good tale, but not even remotely related.



Above and Beyond
User currently offlineAccargo From Canada, joined Sep 2004, 610 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4341 times:

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 10):
I heard an AC flight with the callsign "Medivac" coming into YYZ yesterday afternoon. Could this have anything to do with it? I didn't catch the flight number but I heard they have a heart onboard.

AC routinely carries LHO (Live Human Organs) on it's flights. I imagine depending on the urgency of the shipment some may be considered medivac to get priority for landing and taxiing.


User currently offlineOlympus69 From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 1737 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4314 times:

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 10):
I heard an AC flight with the callsign "Medivac" coming into YYZ yesterday afternoon. Could this have anything to do with it? I didn't catch the flight number but I heard they have a heart onboard.

Medevac flights are a daily occurrence at YYZ. More often than not it's a helicopter.


User currently offline9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1390 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4152 times:

I for one think this procedure is a very good idea. What's the point in cancelling the flight when passengers have no other alternative,other than in this case to overnight and travel the next day. As was mentioned earlier,no one was forced to board the flight,AC would have been more than pleased to rebook any passenger that chose not to travel on the flight. I do feel for the flight attendant that had to do double-duty.

User currently offlineManu From Canada, joined Dec 2004, 406 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3926 times:

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 14):
I do feel for the flight attendant that had to do double-duty

On a note about her, she did an excellent job and I believe gave almost better service to PAX than some other flights I have been on. Not as frequently checking on us, but did it with a smile and was pleasant throughout. The passengers were very sensitive to the issue and didn't place many demands on her, I believe.

I would have been upset if half of us would remain in Atlanta, and that would have been the case if it were not for this obscure regulation. Probably a once-in-a-lifetime occurance for me as a passenger.


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 3881 times:

Quoting B757capt (Reply 2):
Hey this is the first I have ever heard of that. ITS GREAT. I wish the FAA would let us do things like this. Man oh man.

There have been some airlines in the US that gave some of their gate agents and other employees minimal F/A training as a potential stopgap measure in the event of a walkout by the F/As. Some of these airlines also made plans to pull out some seats to reduce the number of them needed as well.

I doubt such a policy would ever be approved by the FAA here, as too many folks with the various unions would have an issue with it. I think that in the case of outstations that are not F/A bases, airlines ought to have several customer service agents crosstrained to be emergency fill ins in the event of an ill F/A.


User currently offlineFLYACYYZ From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1914 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3785 times:

It's different strokes for different folks.

While the FAA allows their flight attendants to occupy jump seats (while off duty/commuting/pass riding), Transport Canada forbids this practice, unless the crew member is operating that flight.



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