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Airbus747
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Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:59 am

Haven't seen this on any English-language press yet, but it's extensively covered on Thai news and there's Thai Airways press release apology in Thai language on Facebook.

Flight TG971 from Zurich to Bangkok on October 11th, delayed due to pilot refusing to fly.

My understanding is that all First Class seats were already filled by paying/upgraded passengers, but the pilot insisted on getting to seat his friends (other pilots / passive crew?) in those same seats although there were many free seats available in Business Class.

Since he couldn't convince the passengers to move away, he refused to take off. This resulted in a 2.5 hour delay.

Thai news sources:
https://www.khaosod.co.th/special-stories/news_1708103
https://mgronline.com/onlinesection/det ... 0000104534
https://www.sanook.com/news/7547042/

Thai press release apology on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ThaiAirways.TH ... 72/?type=3

Native Thai speakers please feel free to check accuracy and details.
 
sibibom
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:25 am

Such a great friend....such an infantile pilot...
 
Kikko19
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:30 am

Love... And troubles, is in the air. for the guy.
 
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zeke
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:35 am

The pilot may have have been contractually entitled to this, and ground staff overstep their authority denying them of that under the view they can do whatever they want.

As it is a seat allocation issue of unsold seats in F, the responsibility of it rests with ground staff, and the operating crew left to deal with the fallout.

I have seen this many times over in the years. It is often only after you tell them you will not close the doors and depart when things get done as then it is clear to everyone the cause of the delay.

I assume the length of the delay is a function of them missing their initial slot waiting for ground staff to sort their self created problem out and getting a new departure and enroute slot.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
Varsity1
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:42 am

It sounds like it might have been a deadheading pilot or crew member in rest contractually obligated to an F seat.
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stylo777
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:25 am

In the CH Aviation forum I just mentioned a few days ago how TG switchs around 77W and 744 these days on the ZRH route. I can't read the articles, but it could have been deadheading crew going back home.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:46 am

Varsity1 wrote:
It sounds like it might have been a deadheading pilot or crew member in rest contractually obligated to an F seat.



Ah the end titled airline staff. Deadheading employee more important than a paying passenger :roll:
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
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zeke
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:24 am

Dutchy wrote:
Ah the end titled airline staff. Deadheading employee more important than a paying passenger :roll:


The point was it was not a paying F class passenger.

So please feel free to harp on about entitled passengers that expect free upgrades from airlines they did not pay for.

For all we know this could have been a crew member that just flew in and has been asked to stay on the aircraft and passenger back. I.e. being at work for over 24 hrs.

If their contract says that’s the class of travel, there were seats available, and some ground staff thought they knew better to deny the contractural obligation.

Nothing about being entitlement, it is about the passenger getting what they paid for, and the crew getting what they are obligated to receive.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
worldranger
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:26 am

What Zeke said, spot on.
 
Virtual737
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:59 am

Isn't this where airlines are different from most other businesses?

The customer should always come first. They pay for everything. They are number 1 above all else. Forget all this "if you didn't have pilots you wouldn't have an airline" crap. It's true, but customers drive the demand above all else.

In every business I've worked in, across many industries, there have been mistakes in which the aftermath has been that employees have been put out a little to make sure we did the right thing for our customers. Yes sometimes these mistakes cause situations whereby the employee could play the "that's against my contract" card, but I've very rarely seen it.... except in the airline industry.

Certain countries in Asia are all about "saving face". I have to be careful what I write here but.. the caring about saving face ONLY happens after face is lost, and do not underestimate how important it then becomes. There is little care about the potential loss of face before it happens though.
 
ltbewr
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:26 am

Seems there was confusion or a breakdown of communication that meant the F seats were given as upgrades to qualifying lower class passengers before the off-duty crew were given them. Perhaps the ground agents didn't know of the need for the F seat for an off-duty pilot or other off-duty staff who should have been given those seats first. This is a long flight and if someone gets an upgrade to F, they for sure won't give it up at the last minute and for the airline to push it would in this day and age of instant social media, would come off really ugly.
 
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keesje
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:55 am

In the end everybody should have the company priorities clear.

And that is with the ones that pay all the mortgages, seats, company offices, fuel, meals, pilot hats and aircraft: the passengers.

As has probably been explained to the people in question by their superiors.

I don't envy the person defending the bed in business class wasn't good enough & 300 elderly, men, women, children had to be put on hold.

Thai Business Class:

Image
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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Airbus747
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:40 pm

The airline has opened an official investigation into the matter; it seems like it was the pilot/s who caused some commotion.

Furthermore it appears that it was someone who had paid for First Class who had to move back.
 
JAGflyer
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:11 pm

If pilots/crew are "contractually obligated" to F/J for official rest purposes, the seats should have been blocked in the system by the crew travel arrangement department. After checking on SeatGuru, it doesn't look like the 77W has F seats. It's just Y and J.
If you flew today, thank a Flight Dispatcher!
 
ushermittwoch
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:20 pm

I doubt that anyone who got an upgrade to F was flying for "free" or hasn't given the airline 10's of thousands of Francs, Euros or Dollars in business in 2018.
Where have all the tri-jets gone...
 
UAL777UK
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:21 pm

Airbus747 wrote:
The airline has opened an official investigation into the matter; it seems like it was the pilot/s who caused some commotion.

Furthermore it appears that it was someone who had paid for First Class who had to move back.


If that is the case I hope they are going to be getting a shit load of miles/compensation for that!
 
CX Flyboy
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:32 pm

The truth or facts don't matter. This is airliners.net. We are all free to make strong entitled opinions about incidents armed with vague "facts" from internet articles, which as we know are always 100% accurate.
 
kalvado
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:12 pm

Virtual737 wrote:
Isn't this where airlines are different from most other businesses?

The customer should always come first. They pay for everything. They are number 1 above all else. Forget all this "if you didn't have pilots you wouldn't have an airline" crap. It's true, but customers drive the demand above all else.

In every business I've worked in, across many industries, there have been mistakes in which the aftermath has been that employees have been put out a little to make sure we did the right thing for our customers. Yes sometimes these mistakes cause situations whereby the employee could play the "that's against my contract" card, but I've very rarely seen it.... except in the airline industry.

Certain countries in Asia are all about "saving face". I have to be careful what I write here but.. the caring about saving face ONLY happens after face is lost, and do not underestimate how important it then becomes. There is little care about the potential loss of face before it happens though.

There is something specific about airlines: crews spend a good chunk of their lives on board - where most passengers spend only a few hours a year. 300 people in the back have to put up with few hours of the sealed tubes, crews almost live there.
So I can see crews needing some comfort when they spend time in the tube beyond their 800-900 annual service hours.
Somewhat similar issues exist, for example in trucking industry (rest within the truck vs motel) or cruise ships (crew lives in inner windowless rooms, often 2 people per room). Those are less restrictive examples as a full length lie-flat bed is a given in these cases.
Now thinking that airplane is necessarily the most restrictive environment in terms of personal space...
 
ushermittwoch
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:19 pm

kalvado wrote:
Virtual737 wrote:
Isn't this where airlines are different from most other businesses?

The customer should always come first. They pay for everything. They are number 1 above all else. Forget all this "if you didn't have pilots you wouldn't have an airline" crap. It's true, but customers drive the demand above all else.

In every business I've worked in, across many industries, there have been mistakes in which the aftermath has been that employees have been put out a little to make sure we did the right thing for our customers. Yes sometimes these mistakes cause situations whereby the employee could play the "that's against my contract" card, but I've very rarely seen it.... except in the airline industry.

Certain countries in Asia are all about "saving face". I have to be careful what I write here but.. the caring about saving face ONLY happens after face is lost, and do not underestimate how important it then becomes. There is little care about the potential loss of face before it happens though.

There is something specific about airlines: crews spend a good chunk of their lives on board - where most passengers spend only a few hours a year. 300 people in the back have to put up with few hours of the sealed tubes, crews almost live there.
So I can see crews needing some comfort when they spend time in the tube beyond their 800-900 annual service hours.
Somewhat similar issues exist, for example in trucking industry (rest within the truck vs motel) or cruise ships (crew lives in inner windowless rooms, often 2 people per room). Those are less restrictive examples as a full length lie-flat bed is a given in these cases.
Now thinking that airplane is necessarily the most restrictive environment in terms of personal space...


So, are you saying that hotel employees should spend their nights in the highest tier suites instead of valued ( possibly upgraded) guests?
Where have all the tri-jets gone...
 
peanuts
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:21 pm

Thai Airways shouldn't even have First Class. I don't see the business case for it. J, Y+ and Y should work fine for them.

Zeke has the best argument though. A contract is a contract. Happy employees= Happy customers.
The press always butchers these kind of stories, for obvious reasons.
 
kalvado
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:31 pm

ushermittwoch wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Virtual737 wrote:
Isn't this where airlines are different from most other businesses?

The customer should always come first. They pay for everything. They are number 1 above all else. Forget all this "if you didn't have pilots you wouldn't have an airline" crap. It's true, but customers drive the demand above all else.

In every business I've worked in, across many industries, there have been mistakes in which the aftermath has been that employees have been put out a little to make sure we did the right thing for our customers. Yes sometimes these mistakes cause situations whereby the employee could play the "that's against my contract" card, but I've very rarely seen it.... except in the airline industry.

Certain countries in Asia are all about "saving face". I have to be careful what I write here but.. the caring about saving face ONLY happens after face is lost, and do not underestimate how important it then becomes. There is little care about the potential loss of face before it happens though.

There is something specific about airlines: crews spend a good chunk of their lives on board - where most passengers spend only a few hours a year. 300 people in the back have to put up with few hours of the sealed tubes, crews almost live there.
So I can see crews needing some comfort when they spend time in the tube beyond their 800-900 annual service hours.
Somewhat similar issues exist, for example in trucking industry (rest within the truck vs motel) or cruise ships (crew lives in inner windowless rooms, often 2 people per room). Those are less restrictive examples as a full length lie-flat bed is a given in these cases.
Now thinking that airplane is necessarily the most restrictive environment in terms of personal space...


So, are you saying that hotel employees should spend their nights in the highest tier suites instead of valued ( possibly upgraded) guests?

No, I am saying that Y class is airplane is not a long term sustainable environment for normal people - unlike most hotel rooms. And crews can easily accumulate enough time on board that their comfort on board should be treated as long-term comfort. I wouldn't compare comfort of even cheaper room in hotel (with a twin bed) with Y seat. Twin bed is a F-level luxury on board.
Your example should be more about this situation:
I can, with some mumbling and rumbling, survive a night at the airport, if needed (and I can easily seat there 1-2-3 hours during connection) - but forcing crew to seat there for extended period on each trip is a no-go.
 
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longhauler
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:53 pm

zeke wrote:
Nothing about being entitlement, it is about the passenger getting what they paid for, and the crew getting what they are obligated to receive.

Hear hear.

I see this time and time again where gate agents feel that deadheading pilots don't "deserve" to ride in premium cabins so do everything they can to make that not happen ... even breaking the rules. The resulting investigation usually results in the statement ... "You are right, you should have been in J, too bad, so sad. Next." It is nice to see a Captain standing up for one of his fellow employees.

If this is a contractual obligation, who cares whether anyone feels it is "deserved" or "entitled" ... it is a contract. It would be no different than if a gate agent arbitrarily stated, "OK, today, I have decided that you will only receive 60% pay for this flight." or "You don't need all your vacation this year, I have decided you will get a week less."

Sometimes, it takes an event like this to make those higher up on the totem pole see there is an issue. Then ... educate all involved in proper procedures.

Also, I am not sure what happens at Thai Airways, but where I fly, if a pilot rides in a revenue seat, then the cost of that seat comes out of Flight Operations operating budget. Technically, it is not free, so it is not accounted so.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
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hOMSaR
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:29 pm

ushermittwoch wrote:

So, are you saying that hotel employees should spend their nights in the highest tier suites instead of valued ( possibly upgraded) guests?


Hotel employees typically aren't 5,000 miles from home.
The plural of Airbus is Airbuses. Airbii is not a word.
There is no 787-800, nor 787-900 or 747-800. It's 787-8, 787-9, and 747-8.
A321neoLR is also unnecessary. It's simply A321LR.
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Virtual737
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:34 pm

I'm not sure anyone is arguing that the crew shouldn't get the best seats available to them (and if they are, they are probably wrong). The point is that this should not be at the expense of a customer.

Once the customer has been assigned a seat, the only reason for them to lose that seat should be an emergency.

It is not clear in this case if the crew were expecting F or J, and whether they were offered J or Y. If they were offered J, why not just take it and then file a grievance with their employer? Why should 300+ people suffer because of a contractual issue between the employer and employee?

Heck if they felt that bad about it, don't get on the flight. The point is, why should the customer take the hit when it was the carrier's (or their employees, but that's essentially the same thing) issue?
 
Varsity1
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:40 pm

Virtual737 wrote:
I'm not sure anyone is arguing that the crew shouldn't get the best seats available to them (and if they are, they are probably wrong). The point is that this should not be at the expense of a customer.

Once the customer has been assigned a seat, the only reason for them to lose that seat should be an emergency.

It is not clear in this case if the crew were expecting F or J, and whether they were offered J or Y. If they were offered J, why not just take it and then file a grievance with their employer? Why should 300+ people suffer because of a contractual issue between the employer and employee?

Heck if they felt that bad about it, don't get on the flight. The point is, why should the customer take the hit when it was the carrier's (or their employees, but that's essentially the same thing) issue?


The point here is to get management's attention. The gate agent's wildly violate contracts all the time with no repercussions. Grieve it, nothing happens. "Tough luck."

In this instance the pilot refused to close the door (accept the aircraft from the gate agent) until the loading was contractually correct. It will all fall on the gate agent, the passengers are collateral damage.

If airlines don't honor their contracts, there won't be any experienced pilots willing to work for them. No experienced pilots = no captains, no captains, no airline.
"PPRuNe will no longer allow discussions regarding Etihad Airlines, its employees, executives, agents, or other representatives. Such threads will be deleted." - ME3 thug airlines suing anyone who brings negative information public..
 
WayexTDI
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:45 pm

longhauler wrote:
zeke wrote:
Nothing about being entitlement, it is about the passenger getting what they paid for, and the crew getting what they are obligated to receive.

Hear hear.

I see this time and time again where gate agents feel that deadheading pilots don't "deserve" to ride in premium cabins so do everything they can to make that not happen ... even breaking the rules. The resulting investigation usually results in the statement ... "You are right, you should have been in J, too bad, so sad. Next." It is nice to see a Captain standing up for one of his fellow employees.

If this is a contractual obligation, who cares whether anyone feels it is "deserved" or "entitled" ... it is a contract. It would be no different than if a gate agent arbitrarily stated, "OK, today, I have decided that you will only receive 60% pay for this flight." or "You don't need all your vacation this year, I have decided you will get a week less."

Sometimes, it takes an event like this to make those higher up on the totem pole see there is an issue. Then ... educate all involved in proper procedures.

Also, I am not sure what happens at Thai Airways, but where I fly, if a pilot rides in a revenue seat, then the cost of that seat comes out of Flight Operations operating budget. Technically, it is not free, so it is not accounted so.

We all want the crew to be well rested so they can perform their duty.

As you said, there are some contractual obligations for deadheading pilots to occupy a first class seat.

But let me ask you a question: when one pays full price for a first class seat, isn't that a contract between the airline and the customer? So, which contract is the most valuable? The one that brings money in the coffers, or the one that links you to an employee?
Customers who keep hearing issues like that one will stay away from companies that will value a contract with the customer to be less than a contract with its own employees.
 
Virtual737
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:47 pm

Varsity1 wrote:
The point here is to get management's attention. The gate agent's wildly violate contracts all the time with no repercussions. Grieve it, nothing happens. "Tough luck."

In this instance the pilot refused to close the door (accept the aircraft from the gate agent) until the loading was contractually correct. It will all fall on the gate agent, the passengers are collateral damage.

If airlines don't honor their contracts, there won't be any experienced pilots willing to work for them. No experienced pilots = no captains, no captains, no airline.


I hate to point this out but crew can and will be replaced, especially in Asia. It is MUCH harder to replace customers.
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:51 pm

JAGflyer wrote:
If pilots/crew are "contractually obligated" to F/J for official rest purposes, the seats should have been blocked in the system by the crew travel arrangement department. After checking on SeatGuru, it doesn't look like the 77W has F seats. It's just Y and J.


This comment wins.

None of us have all the facts, and it is okay to speculate - in fact, that's healthy. We are considering both sides. Was this a mix-up in allocation? Was this a case of overly-entitled crew? I have no clue, and unless I'm on a jury locked in a room deliberating after receiving ALL the facts, I'm not going to guess.

But if there are certain things that are contractually stipulated, then it behooves the airline to make triple-sure that this situation is avoided at all costs. The best way to fix a problem is to do everything you can to make sure it never happens in the first place. Are all problems avoidable? No. But dealing with something like this as passengers are boarding is the WORST possible time. Hopefully Thai will clarify their procedures so this becomes as rare as a complete solar eclipse.
 
Virtual737
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:57 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:

This comment wins.

None of us have all the facts, and it is okay to speculate - in fact, that's healthy. We are considering both sides. Was this a mix-up in allocation? Was this a case of overly-entitled crew? I have no clue, and unless I'm on a jury locked in a room deliberating after receiving ALL the facts, I'm not going to guess.

But if there are certain things that are contractually stipulated, then it behooves the airline to make triple-sure that this situation is avoided at all costs. The best way to fix a problem is to do everything you can to make sure it never happens in the first place. Are all problems avoidable? No. But dealing with something like this as passengers are boarding is the WORST possible time. Hopefully Thai will clarify their procedures so this becomes as rare as a complete solar eclipse.


Very sensible comment. I just hope that when a complete solar eclipse does happen that the customer is elevated above acceptable collateral damage..

I booked a long haul 4 leg itinerary in J from BKK a few hours ago. I looked at 2 different airlines for pricing and timing before booking. None of them were Thai. This incident has more financial impact than the passengers directly involved.
 
BAeRJ100
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:58 pm

hOMSaR wrote:
ushermittwoch wrote:

So, are you saying that hotel employees should spend their nights in the highest tier suites instead of valued ( possibly upgraded) guests?


Hotel employees typically aren't 5,000 miles from home.


And aren't solely responsible for the safety of hundreds of people at a time, thus requiring adequate facilities to ensure they are well-rested. That hotel example is absolutely ridiculous.
B737/738/739/744ER/752/753/763/77L/77W/788/789
A223/320/321/332/333/346/359/388
MD82/MD88/717/F100/RJ85/RJ100/146-100/200/300
E175/190/CRJ700/900
 
lawair
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:08 pm

Based on what I gather, the scheduled 77W for this flight was subbed with a 744, which created some complications. It may have led to mismatched crew, for one thing, and it also led to a situation in which J passengers were able to assign themselves to the F cabin, which is not sold for this flight (since the usual 77W doesn't have an F cabin). J class hardproduct is also inferior on the 744 (not fully flat) than it is on the 77W, so that added some conflict. I'm not sure about the labor contract issue, but I've read that this incident involved two deadheading cockpit crew that were unable to fly in F as all of the seats had been assigned to other J passengers, and the crew were instead assigned seats in the upper deck (J) with two other deadheading crew. The situation was resolved when two of the passengers assigned in F agreed to sit in the J seats instead.
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:13 pm

I'm both amused and saddened by the seeming lack of understanding what a contract is - it's a legally enforceable agreement. Do any of you anti-labor or pilot-haters have contracts for your car, your home or something else? Aren't you expected to abide by it? What about the other party? Well then, here's news for some of you - there's always at least two signatories to a contract!

If* the company agreed to deadhead pilots or flight attendants (or any other employee, for that matter), then that's a cost of doing business. IF the company agreed to it, then decides to not comply with the contract, what items do they refuse to comply with next? At some point the employees will draw a line - is that a surprise to anyone?

I used to be an airline employee; now I'm an employer. Treating your employees well - as in abiding by your employment contracts, for example - is a smart and beneficial thing to do for all parties.

*Based on the article, we don't know for certain what the circumstances were - does any one have a copy of the Thai pilot contract?
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
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kjeld0d
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:57 pm

This is why most airlines have gotten rid of F. Everyone uses and abuses them except paying customers.
 
Coexstud
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:07 pm

Dutchy wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
It sounds like it might have been a deadheading pilot or crew member in rest contractually obligated to an F seat.



Ah the end titled airline staff. Deadheading employee more important than a paying passenger :roll:

Yes without crew planes goes. NO where and most likely as most crews are over worked under paid and sure as hell under appreciated ask any crew.......
 
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zeke
Posts: 13700
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:12 pm

Airbus747 wrote:
The airline has opened an official investigation into the matter; it seems like it was the pilot/s who caused some commotion.

Furthermore it appears that it was someone who had paid for First Class who had to move back.


There were no first class seats available for sale. It was sold as a 777 without F and operated as a 744 with F.

WayexTDI wrote:
But let me ask you a question: when one pays full price for a first class seat, isn't that a contract between the airline and the customer? So, which contract is the most valuable? The one that brings money in the coffers, or the one that links you to an employee?


As I said above there were no F seats available for sale.

When aircraft are swapped in like this often the pilots that bring the aircraft in stay onboard and passenger back, cabin crew go to the hotel. The 777 pilots from the previous day would still be in the hotel for an extra night, and the cabin crew from the previous day would work the return flight.

Back in BKK the pilots would get 12-24 hrs off and then fly a couple of hundred more people.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
SurlyBonds
Posts: 324
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:32 pm

Dutchy wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
It sounds like it might have been a deadheading pilot or crew member in rest contractually obligated to an F seat.



Ah the end titled airline staff. Deadheading employee more important than a paying passenger :roll:


Um, yes, they're entitled -- it's part of their compensation, which they airline failed to deliver them. Any exhortations to waive this perk "just this once" rightfully get met with skepticism. Blame the ground staff, not the pilot.
 
aircatalonia
Posts: 600
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:50 pm

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:33 pm

lawair wrote:
J class hardproduct is also inferior on the 744 (not fully flat) than it is on the 77W


Is it more difficult to sleep in those seats than it is in F? Is it much louder in the J cabin or something? The only way I would understand the captain's actions is if the crew were going to miss an entire night's sleep and they had to work in those conditions.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:37 pm

SurlyBonds wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
It sounds like it might have been a deadheading pilot or crew member in rest contractually obligated to an F seat.



Ah the end titled airline staff. Deadheading employee more important than a paying passenger :roll:


Um, yes, they're entitled -- it's part of their compensation, which they airline failed to deliver them. Any exhortations to waive this perk "just this once" rightfully get met with skepticism. Blame the ground staff, not the pilot.


It is the mindset, man. Passengers pay the pilots not the other way around.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
Whatsaptudo
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:54 am

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:07 pm

Man, some on this site are frustrating. How is ensuring you abide by your contract being entitled. Do you give away your entitlements because someone else makes a mistake and you lose out. If that’s the case, go on you Dutch, but we know you wouldn’t .


Anyway this is quite Simple. The Passengering crew go back to the hotel and wait until the company sort their [email protected]#t out. It’s a contractual right. If they don’t want to move the paying passenger, fine but I’m not travelling, and the company can pick up the pieces of having crew out of position. I would say it was the company’s crewing department that caused the delay through the Captain.
Last edited by Whatsaptudo on Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Varsity1
Posts: 1874
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 4:55 am

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:13 pm

Virtual737 wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
The point here is to get management's attention. The gate agent's wildly violate contracts all the time with no repercussions. Grieve it, nothing happens. "Tough luck."

In this instance the pilot refused to close the door (accept the aircraft from the gate agent) until the loading was contractually correct. It will all fall on the gate agent, the passengers are collateral damage.

If airlines don't honor their contracts, there won't be any experienced pilots willing to work for them. No experienced pilots = no captains, no captains, no airline.


I hate to point this out but crew can and will be replaced, especially in Asia. It is MUCH harder to replace customers.


Then why are head hunting firms scouring the globe for high time widebody captain jobs in Asia? Offering Americans and Europeans with consummate experience 500k+ a year?

You can't put some cadet fresh out of training in the left seat of a 7,000 mile flight.

The real disconnect is the public and prevailing idea on this site that pilots are easy to find and experience doesn't matter. If it were that easy, they wouldn't be making what they do.
"PPRuNe will no longer allow discussions regarding Etihad Airlines, its employees, executives, agents, or other representatives. Such threads will be deleted." - ME3 thug airlines suing anyone who brings negative information public..
 
Varsity1
Posts: 1874
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 4:55 am

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:15 pm

Dutchy wrote:
SurlyBonds wrote:
Dutchy wrote:


Ah the end titled airline staff. Deadheading employee more important than a paying passenger :roll:


Um, yes, they're entitled -- it's part of their compensation, which they airline failed to deliver them. Any exhortations to waive this perk "just this once" rightfully get met with skepticism. Blame the ground staff, not the pilot.


It is the mindset, man. Passengers pay the pilots not the other way around.


The company pays the pilots.

What the company fills the plane with is none of the business of the pilots. They will fly boxes, outsized cargo, rich passengers, poor passenger, exotic animals. It doesn't matter.

If your company can't play ball we'll go somewhere else. Air Japan is offering 350k commuting contracts right now, and they honor the contract.
"PPRuNe will no longer allow discussions regarding Etihad Airlines, its employees, executives, agents, or other representatives. Such threads will be deleted." - ME3 thug airlines suing anyone who brings negative information public..
 
ikramerica
Posts: 14840
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:23 pm

Varsity1 wrote:
Virtual737 wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
The point here is to get management's attention. The gate agent's wildly violate contracts all the time with no repercussions. Grieve it, nothing happens. "Tough luck."

In this instance the pilot refused to close the door (accept the aircraft from the gate agent) until the loading was contractually correct. It will all fall on the gate agent, the passengers are collateral damage.

If airlines don't honor their contracts, there won't be any experienced pilots willing to work for them. No experienced pilots = no captains, no captains, no airline.


I hate to point this out but crew can and will be replaced, especially in Asia. It is MUCH harder to replace customers.


Then why are head hunting firms scouring the globe for high time widebody captain jobs in Asia? Offering Americans and Europeans with consummate experience 500k+ a year?

You can't put some cadet fresh out of training in the left seat of a 7,000 mile flight.

The real disconnect is the public and prevailing idea on this site that pilots are easy to find and experience doesn't matter. If it were that easy, they wouldn't be making what they do.

So true. Experience does matter very much in the cockpit. Much much more so than in the cabin. Beyond 1 year of service, most service jobs rewarding experience aren’t adding value to the company by paying more. Maintenance, experience matters. Scheduling and operations, experience matters. FA? Not so much. Baggage loading? Not so much. Boarding Agents? Maybe 2 years gives them all the experience they would ever need, but still, more easily replaceable.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1015
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:38 am

FlyHossD wrote:
I'm both amused and saddened by the seeming lack of understanding what a contract is - it's a legally enforceable agreement. Do any of you anti-labor or pilot-haters have contracts for your car, your home or something else? Aren't you expected to abide by it? What about the other party? Well then, here's news for some of you - there's always at least two signatories to a contract!

If* the company agreed to deadhead pilots or flight attendants (or any other employee, for that matter), then that's a cost of doing business. IF the company agreed to it, then decides to not comply with the contract, what items do they refuse to comply with next? At some point the employees will draw a line - is that a surprise to anyone?

I used to be an airline employee; now I'm an employer. Treating your employees well - as in abiding by your employment contracts, for example - is a smart and beneficial thing to do for all parties.

*Based on the article, we don't know for certain what the circumstances were - does any one have a copy of the Thai pilot contract?

When you buy a plane ticket, it's also called a Contract of Carriage.
If a customer is either kicked out of his scheduled flight, or downgraded to a lower class than what he/she paid for, it's a violation of the contract.

You're an employer; I'm assuming you understand what it means to your customer when you fail to deliver what they paid for.
Treating your employees well is a very smart thing as it ensure your company is not one of those with revolving doors for employment; but, treating your customers well is also a very smart thing to ensure your company's existence...
It's a fine balance.
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 13700
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:31 am

WayexTDI wrote:
When you buy a plane ticket, it's also called a Contract of Carriage.
If a customer is either kicked out of his scheduled flight, or downgraded to a lower class than what he/she paid for, it's a violation of the contract.



As it has been mentioned a number of times already, this flight is sold as a 77W service. TG do not have first class on the 77W, they have 42 J seats.

They used a 744 to sub in for the 77W that day, no F seats sold. The 744 has 14 F seats and 50 J seats.

Therefore even if they had sold every J seat on the 77W, the 744 should have had vacant 14 F seats and 8 J seats.

That seat assignment issue is totally down to ground staff.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
Virtual737
Posts: 556
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:16 am

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:20 am

Varsity1 wrote:
Then why are head hunting firms scouring the globe for high time widebody captain jobs in Asia? Offering Americans and Europeans with consummate experience 500k+ a year?

You can't put some cadet fresh out of training in the left seat of a 7,000 mile flight.

The real disconnect is the public and prevailing idea on this site that pilots are easy to find and experience doesn't matter. If it were that easy, they wouldn't be making what they do.


I would wager money on 2 things.

1.) Your headhunters trying to fill 500k+ a year jobs are not working on behalf of Thai Airways,
2.) The crew that held up the flight, happy for the passengers to be collateral damage, are not a target of your headhunters.
 
mm320cap
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2004 12:35 pm

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:35 am

None of us were there, so what the “right” thing to do would be impossible for anyone on this site to sort out.

Those saying “it’s always all about the customer” are absolutely correct. And sometimes, what’s best for the customerS is for one customer to be inconvenienced in order for the next flight to be operated safely.

We do Hawaii turns out of the West Coast, Deadhead to Hawaii, turn around and fly back. It’s not legal for us to fly 2 pilots there and back in one duty period. The only way to do it is for one segment to be a DH. So on that DH leg, you’re supposed to be able to get rest. For that reason, our contract says it will be a first class seat (for a flight over 3 hours with a flying segment after). Having done those turns, I can tell you that I would be too fatigued to operate at the highest level of safety if I didn’t get a nap on the flight out to the islands. A middle seat in coach will simply not allow me to get adequate rest. So let’s say I show up and my first class seat is gone. What’s the solution? Either a first class passenger is bumped (and should be compensated), or I get to Hawaii and have to call in fatigued until I can rest enough rest to feel I can fly safely. In this case, SOMEONE is going to be unhappy. Is it going to be one first class customer, or 200 coming back who are now faced with a cancelled return? So “it’s all about the customer” is correct. But it’s not always about that ONE customer. The Dao debacle is a prime example. We will have MANY downline cancellations due to the fact that we can no longer put last minute crew on full flights. Stinks for the hundreds of people who will have their flights cancelled.

Lastly, deadhead upgrades in a contract ARE a form of compensation. Unfortunately, history has shown that some airline managements will push as hard as they can to eliminate as many benefits as possible by willfully breaking the contract and seeing what happens. First it’s deadheads. Next it’s hours work. Next it’s vacation. Next it’s pay. I know it’s popular to hate on pilots as overpaid primadona’s on this site. That’s fine. I’ll still make sure you get safely from A to B even though you think my skills aren’t worth anything. But would YOU allow your employer to randomly reduce your pay or benefits because “oops, looks like another reservation error!! Weird!”? If you would, you must not value your worth to the company very much.
 
CX Flyboy
Posts: 6118
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 1999 6:10 pm

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:18 am

Pilots are not easily replaceable. It costs huge money to train to be a pilot and airlines cannot have their pilots all resign for greener pastures all the time and simply interview, train new ones and replace them on a whim. "Good" pilots with experience are not easy to come by in this day and age and if you want monkeys you pay peanuts but if you want some of the best pilots then your contract had better one good enough to attract those pilots. Things like deadheading in certain cabin classes as well as many other features of an employment contract ensure that the better pilots are attracted to your company. If you want to treat your pilots (or any other staff for that matter) like an inconvenience to the company, then don't expect to be able to retain good staff.

As a customer, sometimes you have to put up with things like what happened in this incident. Perhaps you prefer the airline you are flying on to treat it's staff badly but know that the guys in charge of looking after your life are probably not the best out there. Many customers don't care who their pilots are, as long as the ticket price is cheap. This has always amazed me to be honest how people can be so nonchalant about their own lives....

At the end of the day, a contract is a contract and the customer isn't always right.
 
peanuts
Posts: 980
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:17 am

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:27 am

Are we using the word compensation/benefits correctly though?
If it's contractually arranged and mandated as such to move crew to the next flight in a First Class seat , as contractually arranged, it's not a "compensation" or "benefit'. Those would be potentially taxed as income...
It's just a "term" of contract.
And I agree with the captain. Stick to your guns. A B747 Captain who knows he still has the F seats on his plane (unlike the 777's) can make sure the contract is enforced properly.
Zeke has explained the details of this occurrence several times now and it completely makes sense. Not even paying customers had dibs on those F seats. For crying out loud.
 
airtechy
Posts: 704
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 7:35 am

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:09 am

Hard to have an opinion without seeing the actual contract language. Do the pilots get the highest class available? Does it depend on aircraft type ... flat beds? What if they had subbed a A380 ... would they get a suite? Obviously, if no sub had been made a business class seat would have been acceptable as there is no F class on a 77W.

A lot of pilots commenting about how flight circumstances dictate that they should get the best seats and I tend to agree. However, unless I missed it none have been from Thai so we don't know what is in their contract. Also, I note this happened at Zurich and the pilot picking order may not have been clear to whoever handles Thai there. I'm sure it is now.

Regardless of whether he was right or wrong, the captain prevailed by whatever means after 2.5 hours, but I think staying in the cockpit until all the passengers had deplaned in BKK would have been a good idea ... if they were told what the reason for the delay was. Trying to explain the contract language to them would probably not go over well.
 
Virtual737
Posts: 556
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:16 am

Re: Thai Airways pilot on ZRH-BKK refuses to fly because his friends couldn't get First Class seats

Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:26 am

CX Flyboy wrote:
As a customer, sometimes you have to put up with things like what happened in this incident. Perhaps you prefer the airline you are flying on to treat it's staff badly but know that the guys in charge of looking after your life are probably not the best out there. Many customers don't care who their pilots are, as long as the ticket price is cheap. This has always amazed me to be honest how people can be so nonchalant about their own lives....

At the end of the day, a contract is a contract and the customer isn't always right.


Let's reword that a little.

As a highly experienced, highly trained, highly paid pilot, sometimes you have to put up with things like what happened in this incident. What you don't do is hold 300 passengers hostage for 2 hours and then expect them to sympathise with your working conditions and remuneration even though you don't give a damn whether they are humans, cargo or anything in between (paraphrasing from other posts in this thread).

...and why worry that your employer undervalues you when there are headhunters ready to offer you $500k per annum to jump ship?

I have every respect for pilots, especially the ones that consistently show good judgement. When they don't give a damn about me, my respect starts to wain and, to be honest, I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing how hard done by you are. If your working conditions and remuneration don't match the value you put on yourself then answer that call from the headhunter...

It was mentioned that it was better to inconvenience a few to reduce the inconvenience for many. How did that work in this incident? The whole planeload was inconvenienced right from the start. The flight was returning to BKK, the home base of the airline. Is it likely that if this particular crew did not make it back fully rested on that particular flight that there would not be another crew available to take over their duties? It's possible, but you've already inconvenienced a full load of passengers while still proclaiming that if that crew didn't get their entitled seats then a full load of passengers might get inconvenienced on a later flight.

Fight to retain your working conditions by all means, but don't use paying passengers as the first sacrifice.

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