ExpressJet/DOT

hou757

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Posts
225
Total Time
much
DOT 127-09
Friday, August 21, 2009
Contact: Bill Mosley
Tel.: (202) 366-4570



STATEMENT BY U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD ON CONCLUSION OF THE PRELIMINARY PHASE OF THE CONTINENTAL TARMAC DELAY INVESTIGATION

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today that his department has concluded the preliminary phase of its investigation into the Aug. 8 tarmac delay by Continental Airlines on a flight operated by ExpressJet Airlines. Passengers were stranded in a plane on the ground in Rochester, MN from 12:28 a.m. to about 6:00 a.m. with only pretzels provided by the carrier to eat.

“We have determined that the Express Jet crew was not at fault. In fact, the flight crew repeatedly tried to get permission to deplane the passengers at the airport or obtain a bus for them,” Secretary LaHood said.

“The local representative of Mesaba Airlines improperly refused the requests of the captain to let her passengers off the plane. The representative incorrectly said that the airport was closed to passengers for security reasons, which led to this nightmare for those stuck on the plane,” he said.

Mesaba is a wholly owned subsidiary of Northwest Airlines, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.

The representative of Mesaba – the only carrier able to assist Continental at the airport – said that the airport was closed to passengers, apparently because there was no one from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) available to screen passengers. In fact, TSA procedures allow passengers to get off the plane, enter the terminal and re-board without being screened again as long as they remain in a sterile area.

“There was a complete lack of common sense here,” Secretary LaHood said. “It’s no wonder the flying public is so angry and frustrated.”

Members of the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office interviewed passengers, the flight crew, airport personnel and others with knowledge of the situation. They also listened to audio recordings from the aircraft and the dispatcher. In addition, Continental’s customer service commitment, contingency plan for flight delays and contract of carriage were reviewed.

“This is one of the most thorough investigations ever conducted by the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office,” LaHood said.

The Aviation Enforcement Office is considering the appropriate action to take against Mesaba as it completes the investigation, which it expects to conclude within a few weeks. The Department has proposed regulations requiring airlines to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and to incorporate these plans in their contract of carriage, and asked for comment on whether it should set a uniform standard of time after which carriers would be required to allow passengers to deplane. The findings from this investigation will be used to help formulate a final rule that will provide better protection for airline passengers.

Finally, the preliminary investigation showed that while the crew of the ExpressJet flight did all it could to assist the passengers, more senior personnel within Continental or ExpressJet should have become involved in an effort to obtain permission to take the passengers off the plane.

http://www.expressjetpilots.com/the-pipe/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=339938
 
Last edited:

ex j-41

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Posts
881
Total Time
8013
more senior personnel within Continental or ExpressJet should have become involved in an effort to obtain permission to take the passengers off the plane
What, get management to work after 4pm? Like that is ever going to happen.
 

79%N1

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Posts
2,441
Total Time
2 many
I owe the Captain an apology.

Once again, the lowest bidder disease rears its ugly head!
 

Max Q

ಠ_ಠ
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Posts
801
Total Time
Eleven
“The local representative of Mesaba Airlines improperly refused the requests of the captain to let her passengers off the plane. The representative incorrectly said that the airport was closed to passengers for security reasons, which led to this nightmare for those stuck on the plane,” he said.
Ohhh yes.... :D
 

Max Q

ಠ_ಠ
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Posts
801
Total Time
Eleven
National media exposure first... next is bent sheet metal and finally loss of life.

You dumb bastards.
 

Dornier 335

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 3, 2005
Posts
1,089
Total Time
10300
In fact, TSA procedures allow passengers to get off the plane, enter the terminal and re-board without being screened again as long as they remain in a sterile area.
Good to know! Next time I divert to TOM ...

Anybody has the excerpt from the TSA manual?
 
Last edited:

piav8r

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Posts
102
Total Time
enough
National media exposure first... next is bent sheet metal and finally loss of life.

You dumb bastards.
Dude... people make mistakes all the time. Unless of course you are the first person who hasn't... Maybe if you live in a glass house you shouldn't throw stones???
 

Max Q

ಠ_ಠ
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Posts
801
Total Time
Eleven
Dude.... bro... homey...

Mistake? Right, it was a mistake that the ground personnel didn't want to 'deal' with the passengers so they left them on the airplane for the crew to deal with.
 

piav8r

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Posts
102
Total Time
enough
Dude.... bro... homey...

Mistake? Right, it was a mistake that the ground personnel didn't want to 'deal' with the passengers so they left them on the airplane for the crew to deal with.
"Minneapolis Center this is Xjet, 1234, we are declaring an emergency on the ground in Rochester due to the fact that we are unable to safetly accomodate the passengers in our aircraft."

Next, the flight crew says the same thing on Rochester CTAF (118.3), and Unicom (122.95) and finally the operations frequency. Adding that if no help is seen in the next 5 minutes, their net phone call will be to 911.

By this time ATC should have 4 ARFF trucks swarming around that airplane, and Rochester PD would already have been notified and been responding.

As the Captain of a 121 airliner (or entire flight crew) can't think out of the box to get something done, then they probably shouldn't be there...

To quote a Captain that I have flown with, "I don't care if you are male or female, if you want 4 stripes... you better get a pair of balls to go with them..."
 

flyboyzii

This is like Romper Room
Joined
Feb 9, 2004
Posts
424
Total Time
tens
Declare an emergency......Pull up to a gate...ANY gate.........open the door....let the Pax run free.They WILL deal with them at that point. Of course, tell ops what you are doing...Don't ASK them for permission..TELL them what you are doing. I know hind sight is always 20/20 but I have discussed this situation with other people after the JetBlue incident.
 

Max Q

ಠ_ಠ
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Posts
801
Total Time
Eleven
piav8r- I deliberately neglected to address the crew's responsibility in the matter as I am only commenting towards the incompetency of the Mesaba ground crew and how their actions reflect about 90% of the Mesaba stations I deal with.
 

Minimaniac

Benevolent Dictator
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Posts
455
Total Time
5500
I don't buy the blame game towards Mesaba. There was an NWA flight on the ground at the same time. They had no problems getting their people off the plane and into a bus. A bus, with seats made available to the XJet flight, I might add.
Ok, believe the first news article printed versus the multi-week investigation that accessed all information, including recorded conversations between the pilots and ground services. I am sure the investigators are trying to cover up ExpressJet errors and are throwing Mesaba under the proverbial bus. That makes so much more sense!

NW may have offered bus seats, but if that message was never relayed to the captain, as evidenced by recorded conversations, then the fault lays with the person charged with properly relaying the message.

No doubt the captain should have just made things happen, but if she was in contact with operations, and ops continually communicated that it was not possible to offload the pax, then it is reasonable to expect the operations staff to shoulder the majority of the blame. The captain was working off of information provided. Garbage in, garbage out.
 

Max Q

ಠ_ಠ
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Posts
801
Total Time
Eleven
"Minneapolis Center this is Xjet, 1234, we are declaring an emergency on the ground in Rochester due to the fact that we are unable to safetly accomodate the passengers in our aircraft."
"Xjet 1234, will you require medical personnel?"

"Center, negative. If anything, maybe just some food and a lav dump... but it's an emergency"

( :laugh: )
 
Last edited:

flap operator

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Posts
507
Total Time
5000+
Wow... just more proof the media consistently gets it wrong, there is always more to the story and that we shouldn't prejudge anyone. Having said that, while the Mesaba ground staff might be negligent here, I'm sure there is plenty of blame to be shared by all parties involved, including Delta. I'm sure there is even more to the story, as to how the Mesaba rep came to this conclusion. Perhaps, the ground staff were al busy with the NWA/DL flights and didn't have time? Who knows... there's 2 sides to the Mesaba angle here. Sounds like Mesaba tried to work with them, but I guess we know the end game and how it turned out. Maybe I was a little quick to initially post. I had no idea the Startrib has links to the tapes etc...

MaxQ - what airline do you fly for when you encounter XJ stations? If it's Pinnacle... wow, pot calling the kettle black?
 
Last edited:

sweptback

Guess that wasn't solid
Joined
Sep 18, 2003
Posts
1,876
Total Time
.
"Minneapolis Center this is Xjet, 1234, we are declaring an emergency on the ground in Rochester due to the fact that we are unable to safetly accomodate the passengers in our aircraft."

Next, the flight crew says the same thing on Rochester CTAF (118.3), and Unicom (122.95) and finally the operations frequency. Adding that if no help is seen in the next 5 minutes, their net phone call will be to 911.
Declaring an emergency would be a terrible idea. You're already on the ground, what more could ATC do for you?

What the Captain should have done is use her Captain's authority to find a solution to the problem. This is evidently beyond the grasp of some on here, but Captain's authority and declaring an emergency are two totally separate things.
 

piav8r

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Posts
102
Total Time
enough
piav8r- I deliberately neglected to address the crew's responsibility in the matter as I am only commenting towards the incompetency of the Mesaba ground crew and how their actions reflect about 90% of the Mesaba stations I deal with.
Fine then Max Q, I deliberately took offense to your whole post because you felt the need to correlate the ALLEGED actions of one XJ GROUD employee across the entire company, including I might add:

"National media exposure first... next is bent sheet metal and finally loss of life. You dumb bastards."

Had you not posted on a public forum that the ALLEGED actions of ONE groundsperson would lead to bent sheet metal and loss of life is ignorant at best. Since you didn't explain further I can only assume you meant to lump grounds personel, and a professional flight crew in the same category.

And if you have had a problem with XJ stations in the past, go through channels at your company to bring them to the attention of XJ management and things will change. If you aren't willing to do that... you have no right to complain.

There are WAY to many inconsistencies in this story, mysterious other flights that were able to get bussed at the same time, etc...
 

Max Q

ಠ_ಠ
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Posts
801
Total Time
Eleven
Fine then Max Q, I deliberately took offense to your whole post because you felt the need to correlate the ALLEGED actions of one XJ GROUD employee across the entire company, including I might add:

"National media exposure first... next is bent sheet metal and finally loss of life. You dumb bastards."

Had you not posted on a public forum that the ALLEGED actions of ONE groundsperson would lead to bent sheet metal and loss of life is ignorant at best. Since you didn't explain further I can only assume you meant to lump grounds personel, and a professional flight crew in the same category.

And if you have had a problem with XJ stations in the past, go through channels at your company to bring them to the attention of XJ management and things will change. If you aren't willing to do that... you have no right to complain.

There are WAY to many inconsistencies in this story, mysterious other flights that were able to get bussed at the same time, etc...
piav8r- I am speaking directly to those ground stations occupied by underpaid and under-trained ground handlers, whom in many cases, have no desire to provide timely assistance to any piece of equipment not painted in red. None of my posts require further explanation by customers and crew who deal with these stations on a regular basis.

I can understand your reluctance to accept the above statement by the DOT as fact but I can assure you, these allegations come as no surprise to many of us in the business.

You get what you pay for.
 
Top