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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 1:50 pm

Quoting huxrules (Reply 61):
This whole thread is amazingly unsympathetic. United needs to increase training (and probably just customer service) on how to deal with mentally disabled passengers. Autism is a weird disability in that not every autistic passenger is going to have the same issues.

So let me ask you this, in sincerity and out of a concern to be realistic. Currently, airlines have trained Conflict Resolution Officials (CRO), and FAs have customer service training as well. It is simply not realistic or practical to ensure everyone is trained on every possible aspect of autism, much less all potential disabilities.

It falls outside the spectrum of the airline’s job to ensure everyone is well versed on mental health issues; it’s just not feasible.

In this case, was there or could there have been a happy medium? Perhaps. Probably. Certainly. Maybe not. All of those are valid answers…..we weren’t there so we can’t say definitively.

But I will say that at the moment, when the PIC has to make a decision, he or she is making it with ONE interest in mind and one only: the safety of that aircraft and the passengers onboard. And doing so with often limited—and certainly, biased—information. It’s not a decision made lightly, to be sure.

Sympathy at that point really has no place in that equation when that decision needs to be made.
 
cyeg66
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 2:08 pm

A lot of poeple pay great lip service to feeling "really sorry for the girl and her family" when in reality they know damn well they would feel truly irked, uncomfortable, and put out had they been seated within a few rows of this situation. "Why couldn't these people be on another flight? I just wanna sleep", so on and so forth. True compassion is something very few people can conjure up, even more so now than in generations past.

I admit to having felt that way in the past, until diagnoses for my older 2 sons (with high functioning autism) slapped me in the face. While I guiltily admit that my sons are impossibly well off when compared with other children on the spectrum, I absolutely understand what struggles other parents face. For those of you here suggesting that parents of kids with disabilities are enablers and opportunists for a good lawsuit, words can't describe my thoughts on that. As I mentioned, what you lack is compassion, and more importantly, 1st person experience in the shoes of those parents. We/they didn't sign up for this. Try to keep that in mind.


That said, UA still got them to their destination, no one was harmed, if a little put out (irked) by the howling, and woke up to a new day the next morning. Why the mother feels the need to sue is anyone's guess. They say parents with kids on the spectrum have to become strong advocates for their children's rights and needs, but not to become ACTUAL advocates like in this situation. Perhaps she was embarrassed by the whole de-planing fiasco and is unwilling to swallow her pride. Who knows? Only the courts will get the whole story.
slow to 160, contact tower, slow to 160, contact tower, slow to....ZZZZZZZ......
 
AWACSooner
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 2:18 pm

Quoting 777ER (Reply 97):
Yes the family handled this badly by not preparing in advance but from videos shown on TV here in New Zealand on tonight's news, the pilots handled this badly also. Several passengers are heard stating a law suit would come from this and one expressed his disgust at the flight crew for their handling of it.

Why? When the mother ADMITTED that she told the flight crew the child had the potential to claw and scratch.

From the mother's own mouth:
"She told KOIN 6 News she explained that if her daughter didn’t get a hot meal, she would “get to the meltdown point” and maybe scratch someone."

UA will win this one in any reasonable court, imo.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 3:09 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 83):

Can't agree with you Doc. Respect you a lot from all your posts, but sometimes not everyone can do everything they want.

You say the family shouldn't suffer if it's difficult to fly with their daughter. The question I have is: why not?

It's a sad situation, but it's the hand they were dealt. The world can not accommodate every one in every situation.

Hears an example. We have a young son who isn't yet potty trained, doesn't sit still very long, etc. He isn't special, but we are still restricted in what we can do or where we can go. Either leave him behind or don't go. No fancy restaurants. Can't take a cruise because they don't allow swim diapers in the pools and he would melt down if he couldn't go swimming.

Now things will improve because my son will grow out of it. But my sisters daughter, not yet. She's 10 and has multiple learning and sensory issues. She seems okay most of the time but she is afraid of flying. My sister and her family haven't been on a flying vacation in 11 years. They drive more locally.

This is life. Life isn't always easy.
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justplanenutz
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 3:19 pm

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 103):
You say the family shouldn't suffer if it's difficult to fly with their daughter. The question I have is: why not?

It all comes down to what is a reasonable accommodation. Would an advance request for a hot meal on a somewhat lengthy flight be unreasonable? Obviously, if there was a genuine safety concern, that is a different issue. But, otherwise, we (society) should not erect unnecessary or arbitrary barriers to normalcy for the disabled.

[Edited 2015-05-12 08:30:05]
 
cyeg66
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 4:01 pm

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 103):
This is life. Life isn't always easy.

No kidding. Try "never easy" for many of these well-intentioned and loving parents. In the meantime, and from both perspectives, we shouldn't assume either party is guilty until proven otherwise. There's more to this story than we'll ever be made aware of, though truthfully, based on what is available, I fail to see how UA was negligent. That said, it's *possible*.
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ikramerica
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 4:21 pm

Quoting cyeg66 (Reply 105):
No kidding. Try "never easy" for many of these well-intentioned and loving parents. In the meantime, and from both perspectives, we shouldn't assume either party is guilty until proven otherwise. There's more to this story than we'll ever be made aware of, though truthfully, based on what is available, I fail to see how UA was negligent. That said, it's *possible*.

No doubt. My sister's life is very hard. She runs a company with her husband that takes a lot of time. She home schools her daughter because the schools can't handle her needs and their solution is to "leave her back" even though she has learned everything else but can't read well due to her problems. She drives her son to school and activities. And my Dad is a complete invalid and mentally incapacitated and needs to go in a home but is fighting it in court while still demanding my sister make all the medical plans to keep him out of a home and that my sister visit him constantly to take care of issues. Life can be very hard. I have sympathy for this family's troubles, but not for their expectation that the airline or the world accommodate them.

I've both driven and taken the train from where they live to Disneyland area. It's doable, and the SoCal mix of Disneyland + Universal + Legoland + Sea World + Knott's + The Beach is not a bad substitute for Orlando. The family would hardly be suffering to make that sacrifice rather than flying to Florida. Or because it seems the daughter only melts down during meal times, PDX-LAX flights exist that happen during non-meal times and the flight is relatively short...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
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ssteve
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 4:32 pm

Tough day on the job for the parents and the crew. Based on the very limited information, I don't think anyone should be castigated.
 
justplanenutz
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 4:36 pm

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 106):
I have sympathy for this family's troubles, but not for their expectation that the airline or the world accommodate them.

Really? In the abstract, due to a presumed medical necessity they asked for hot food on flight that served it. Leaving aside what we don't know (did they ask in advance, were they polite, was any available, should it cost anything) is that an unreasonable request to make of the world?
 
eaa3
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 4:50 pm

A child with autism was thrown off a flight because of the nature of her potential symptom (scratching someone) without her showing those symptoms. If that's not discrimination then I don't know what is.
 
Maverick623
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 5:09 pm

Quoting eaa3 (Reply 109):
A child with autism was thrown off a flight because of the nature of her potential symptom (scratching someone) without her showing those symptoms. If that's not discrimination then I don't know what is.

If the child had shown those symptoms after being warned of them, and caused injury to someone, United would be liable for not ensuring the safety of everyone else on the plane.

Yes, it is discrimination. Perhaps you should look the word up in a dictionary and stop using it as a negative action that should never be used.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
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ssteve
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 5:25 pm

Quoting eaa3 (Reply 109):
A child with autism was thrown off a flight because of the nature of her potential symptom (scratching someone) without her showing those symptoms. If that's not discrimination then I don't know what is.

I haven't seen any accounts that make it quite that simple.
 
bennett123
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Tue May 12, 2015 5:58 pm

Seems likely that no hot food was available. Even if it was, would it stop the meltdown.

On that basis, do you just cross you fingers on the meltdown, presumably no one is advocating her being restrained.
 
billreid
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 4:17 am

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 42):
Also, did getting the hot meal change her behaviour. Surely, that is the key point.

Sure ....... But was her behavior worthy of a very expensive diversion?
Could the crew have done a better job? I suspect so.
I mean do you divert every time someone sneezes?

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 42):
If the "Meltdown" resulted in her assaulting another passenger, then 1 and/or 2 are probably yes.

But what I understand that hadn't happened. So do we divert on the basis of what might happen if the passenger is not a real threat to flight safety in any shape or form. Maybe obnoxious, even assault another with her nails but this is not a 9/11 situation. Pre 9/11 the crew would have handled the passengers and sought out a solution. Post 9/11 divert and spend about $100,000 doing it!

Quoting FlyHossD (Reply 44):
Wow. That doesn't even reach the level of speciousness. Further, it's irrelevant to the question at hand.

Sure it is. The pilot said this was about customer "Comfort" so where do we draw the line for other situations? Reality is putting 150 strangers into a tin can cal lead to all sorts of stuff.
I recently took a C-17 military hop across the Atlantic and let me tell you having only 12 on board (including crew) is a totally different environment.

Quoting DDR (Reply 72):
By the way, saying "America" shows your ignorance. Everyone in North and South America are Americans, not just people from the United States.

As much as you are correct people from the USA call themselves Americans. Brazilians don't, Argentinians dont, Canadians dont, Chileans dont, Mexicanos dont. And on and on!
You are from Germany, but don't Brits refuse to consider themselves European -- hence the anti-Euro position.
99% of the people in the world are ignorant at different levels. So tell me who is the PM of Italy? Who is the King of Holland? Who is the king of Sweden? Who is the head of Slovakia? Who is the PM of Canada? Who is the PM of Australia?
If you do not know the answer to these questions then perhaps you should admit that everyone is ignorant at different levels including Americans and Germans too!
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eaa3
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 4:27 am

Quoting DDR (Reply 72):
By the way, saying "America" shows your ignorance. Everyone in North and South America are Americans, not just people from the United States.

It's not ignorance. Using the word American's to describe people from the USA is 100% accepted as legitimate even though the word can have a wider meaning.
 
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 5:07 am

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 103):
You say the family shouldn't suffer if it's difficult to fly with their daughter. The question I have is: why not?

No, I never said that. But to automatically assume that they can't fly ever is also not OK.

But put yourself in their shoes. They've traveled with her without an issue. They didn't know this would come up today. They tried to plan by getting her a hot meal before the flight but she refused. Now they are left with either canceling their trip or pressing on. What would you have done? Canceled your trip because your kid wouldn't eat?

It's a pity that you can't get refunds on airfares. But you can't.
-Doc Lightning-

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flyguy89
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 7:47 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 115):

To be fair, I don't think that most people here are particularly criticizing the family about the situation itself, but rather the mother's too-cliché "let's sue them" reaction. Both UA and the family faced a difficult situation, and I don't quite see how UA is to blame, nor do I blame the family, but the mother's reaction left a bad taste in my mouth.

The current litigious and regulatory environment airlines operate in result in these reactions (diversions, denial of boarding such as with the cancer patient on AS), it's a lose-lose situation for them: they're flamed in the court of public opinion in this instance, yet had they continued the flight and the girl injured or assaulted another passenger, they'd be facing a heft lawsuit.
 
jah718
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 8:57 am

Sorry to be the one, but someone has to say it. This wouldn't have happened on EK!   
 
peterinlisbon
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 10:08 am

Quoting jah718 (Reply 117):
This wouldn't have happened on EK!

Why not? Did they put a sign up that says "no scratching"?
 
jah718
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 10:30 am

Quoting peterinlisbon (Reply 118):
Why not? Did they put a sign up that says "no scratching"?

I see that your sarcasm detector must be faulty....  
 
rbavfan
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 10:31 am

Quoting XAM2175 (Reply 96):
Just out of curiosity, have you ever wondered why the US might have the reputation it does for extraordinary levels of frivolous litigation?

No I do not, the US is sue happy. Thats why I made the comment. It's meant to show how stupid the lawsuits can get.
 
rbavfan
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 10:40 am

Quoting eugdjinn (Reply 98):
I've also worked day in and day out with some of the most amazingly alter-abled people who went out of their way to teach my crews how to help them on and off of aircraft. People I treasure and call friends to this day. I've seen and helped and cared for relatives, friends, and lovers who were blind, deaf, and in all manner of ways covered by the ACAA and ADA. But this thread and it's originating incident are ridiculous. That United crew did all they could and then some... and this family's expectations and later accusations are WAY out of line.

Nice response. I do like the alter-abled idea. Sounds better than what we usually get. I have to agree there are way to many alter-abled people that choose to push it in your face and go out of their way to use the ADA to make them happy while crewing a hardship for others. Your disable yes, You need extra help fine, you become over demanding and threaten the ADA police and I will download the regs and use them to get you to stop being an ..... as it makes people dislike all the rest of us.
 
rbavfan
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 10:56 am

Quoting justplanenutz (Reply 99):
So, I could believe anything from the FA was having a bad day and diverted the flight for no good reason to the family created the situation so they could seek jackpot justice. Both extremes seem highly unlikely, so the truth is likely somewhere in between. Where, none of us know.

You forgot that she has stated including in interviews that she could have a melt down and scratch people. Once she said that the pilot has to consider "from her own remarks" if there could be a danger with her currently not under control and weather there may be danger to other passengers. I've seen kids with this kind of issue and know of people, including parents that have gotten quite a lot of damage while trying to control the child having a meltdown. Also know one that has permanent eye damage from one kid. So tell me while she is having a meltdown and your told she may start scratching people, would you A: want to risk others injury & other legal action or B: land, let them get the situation under control which can sometimes take hours and arrange for transport the rest of the way as they did do.

I find it sad the mother would make that statement, then claim we all need to be taught to better understand the illness. I think she needs to understand the illness, what she needs to prep for including making arrangements as there are normally few hot meals on a domestic flight & usually never in Y class and look at her kids needs & safety as well as other passengers, or people in contact with them. Not just decide her right outweigh everyone else's rights including the disabled person writing this. Her rights end at my rights & your rights.
 
rbavfan
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 10:58 am

Quoting Slider (Reply 100):
But I will say that at the moment, when the PIC has to make a decision, he or she is making it with ONE interest in mind and one only: the safety of that aircraft and the passengers onboard. And doing so with often limited—and certainly, biased—information. It’s not a decision made lightly, to be sure.

Sympathy at that point really has no place in that equation when that decision needs to be made.

100% agree!
 
rbavfan
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 11:05 am

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 103):

Agree, I don't always get to do what I want. Usually because I'm in pain and can't get around some days. So I suck it up and miss things I really wanted to do. Oh well thats what life has given me.
 
rbavfan
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 11:18 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 115):

Yes but they did not try and make sure a hot meal was on the flight just in case she wanted one. If it had been and they were aware in advance it could come up the minute she wanted it they could have quickly took care of it and it might not have went this far into her partial meltdown. At the same time it might not have made a difference. However to have not made arrangements with the airline, having not let them know the possible result if this was to happen means they did not care about the other passengers & to some extent must care less about their daughters safety than they are willing to admit. Otherwise they would not have failed to make arrangements.
 
rbavfan
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 11:21 am

Quoting jah718 (Reply 117):

Funny. Mind you if it was on Iceland Air they would have had plenty of fish to cook.
 
mjoelnir
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 12:03 pm

If one reads the facebook entry all the pr

Quoting rbavfan (Reply 125):
Yes but they did not try and make sure a hot meal was on the flight just in case she wanted one. If it had been and they were aware in advance it could come up the minute she wanted it they could have quickly took care of it and it might not have went this far into her partial meltdown. At the same time it might not have made a difference. However to have not made arrangements with the airline, having not let them know the possible result if this was to happen means they did not care about the other passengers & to some extent must care less about their daughters safety than they are willing to admit. Otherwise they would not have failed to make arrangements.

How do you know that? They could have talked to UA and got the answer: "just talk to the purser" and landed on a pretty unhelpful crew.

There are examples of parents preparing for the flight, talking to the airline and nothing is forwarded to the crew or the ground personal.

For me it looks that after a lot of discussion the crew provided a hot meal, meltdown was prevented, but still diversion arranged.

Retaliation by the crew against the parents for asking for help?
 
777ER
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 2:16 pm

Quoting AWACSooner (Reply 102):
Quoting 777ER (Reply 97):Yes the family handled this badly by not preparing in advance but from videos shown on TV here in New Zealand on tonight's news, the pilots handled this badly also. Several passengers are heard stating a law suit would come from this and one expressed his disgust at the flight crew for their handling of it.Why? When the mother ADMITTED that she told the flight crew the child had the potential to claw and scratch.

So should we also ban beer/wine being sold on board because a person who had a bit too much or a person who is afraid of flying could easily also claw someone!

Sounds like the crew needs training on handling special needs customers as there is simply no single way to solve every problem
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longhauler
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Wed May 13, 2015 8:48 pm

Quoting 777ER (Reply 128):
So should we also ban beer/wine being sold on board because a person who had a bit too much or a person who is afraid of flying could easily also claw someone!

No, but if that drinking passenger became a "threat" then the aircraft would divert, and lately ... the passenger is charged the cost of diversion.

Quoting 777ER (Reply 128):
Sounds like the crew needs training on handling special needs customers

Cool theory, but basically impossible. And why? Because ....

Quoting 777ER (Reply 128):
there is simply no single way to solve every problem

I read what actual physicians have written on here and what I can gather is that Autism is a huge spectrum, with thousands of permutations and combinations of triggers, effects and actions. Also, that it is not hard and fast, with exact cures and treatments. That being the case, if a physician can't do it, why would you expect a Flight Attendant to be able to?
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
bond007
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Thu May 14, 2015 12:58 pm

Quoting 777ER (Reply 128):
So should we also ban beer/wine being sold on board because a person who had a bit too much or a person who is afraid of flying could easily also claw someone!

There are several occasions when somebody has too much to drink and the FA/PIC has decided to stop serving them, or they became a threat and the aircraft diverted.

Quoting 777ER (Reply 128):
Sounds like the crew needs training on handling special needs customers as there is simply no single way to solve every problem

This thread is way too much discussion about special needs and autism education!!

It's about a risky situation and a threat from a passenger (perceived or not, doesn't matter), and the PIC made a decision based on this situation taking into account the safety of the flight and passengers.

Whether the FA has a PhD in Autism or not, is largely irrelevant to how the situation should (or would) have been handled at this point in time.

The folks that should have been smarter educated on their child's disorder, and how to handle it, are the parents.

Jimbo
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777ER
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Thu May 14, 2015 1:27 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 129):
Quoting bond007 (Reply 130):

Yes I fully agree the parents should have handled it better but as I've said, not every passenger is the same and the normal training an FA receives isn't going to work for every person.

When I worked at a USA summer camp in 2006 and 2007, all staff received training and had to pass an exam on handling/dealing with special needs kids before being allowed to work with children. My sister is an ISD driver in Michigan and each year is required to have special needs children training. Why did we while working at summer camp/my sister with her job have to do this? Because not all children/passengers are the same and the basic training won't work with everyone. United and all airlines crews can learn a lot with handling special needs passengers. Extra training will make them all more aware and in turn this will make the passengers experience more enjoyable. Could also say extra training would also be a safety benefit as a crew member would be able to identify a possible safety situation and maybe prevent it before it becomes a problem.
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peterinlisbon
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Thu May 14, 2015 4:57 pm

I don't think that cabin crew need special training on how to handle every different type of crazy person depending on what type of mental illness they may have. An aircraft is not a mental asylum with wings. It's the parents that should be responsible for handling their own kids and if they can't keep their kids under control then it is only right that they are kicked off the flight.
 
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RE: Girl With Autism Causes Diversion Of UA1535

Thu May 14, 2015 5:41 pm

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 127):
For me it looks that after the mother implied a threat of the girl having a meltdown they took a hot meal from a First Class passenger because the parents were unprepared

There, fixed that for you.
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Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos