>>>Is the cable disconnected before or after pushback?
I can recall one time that it was -never- disconnected.
True story. The airline and airports are changed to protect the guilty.
It was a 2-person pushback crew, with one agent driving the tug (no headset) and the other agent acting as the wingwalker (with headset). After the aircraft stopped being pushed and set brakes, the wingwalker takes off the headset, hangs it on the open access door, and proceeds to the nose gear area so as to disconnect the towbar so the driver can pull away from the aircraft. They do so, and the wingwalker goes to the captain's side of the aircraft, and directs the aircraft into a left turn for taxiing.
You can guess what happened. The wingwalker forgot to get the headset hanging on the open access door, and the aircraft not only taxied out that way, they also took off! Shortly after takeoff, the crew radioed back that there were loud noises emmanating from the outside, just aft and below the F/O's seat. The aircraft made a precautionary landing at another airport about 70 miles away (underneath his route of flight to the original destination).
Lo and behold, the access door was open, and partially bent backwards from the airloads. The headset itself was gone (never did find it), and all that was left was about a 10-foot lenghth of cord where it was still plugged in. The noise the crew had heard was the cord flailing away at the outside of the fuselage.
Door was removed, inspections made, speedtape applied, and CDL applied, and flight left for original destination a little tardy. Offending ramp agent at the original departure airport was flogged (not really, but 2-weeks off w/o pay).
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.