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SWA Pilot Suspended

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Jan 11, 2002
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A Southwest Airlines pilot who became involved in an incident at a security checkpoint has been suspended for six weeks without pay.

Larry Hargis was suspended for his role in a dispute with security screeners at Will Rogers World Airport, said Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association.

But Weaks said Thursday that the suspension indicates a larger problem, and that the union is still investigating the case.

"And we will make sure that the pilot's rights are upheld," Weaks said. "We are gravely concerned about the growing number of security-related incidents involving pilots and our own company personnel. We are seeing the same incidents after conferring with other airlines."

Airline spokesman Ed Stewart said he could not discuss the action taken, but he said a reasonable decision was made.

"We have reached a resolution," he said. "The pilot is still with us. He hasn't been terminated. We can't go any further. The chief pilot felt appropriate action was taken."

According to an Oklahoma City police report, Hargis became agitated about the time it took to search his bag at a security checkpoint on Feb. 3. Hargis asked screeners twice to search his bag so he could walk to his aircraft, the report stated.

At that point, a National Guard member assigned to airport security asked Hargis for identification. Hargis lifted the identification badge on his shirt but would not remove the card when the Guard member asked, the report stated.

When the Guard member grabbed the tag from Hargis' shirt, Hargis responded by grabbing the identification tag on the guard member's shirt, the report stated. Police then arrived and mediated the dispute.

According to the report, Hargis told officers he was not upset that his bag was being searched, but that it wasn't searched immediately.

After talking to Southwest ground personnel, Hargis made a phone call, during which he stepped into the hall and began loudly telling passengers at another gate why the plane was late, the report said.

Hargis was not allowed to fly and was escorted from the security area. When he returned in civilian clothes to fly as a passenger, a Southwest supervisor would not allow him on the flight, the report stated.
There needs to be a way to positively identify crews as being crews so that we can go to work in peace. Having to go through security numerous times a day (much more than the average Joe passenger) and taking off shoes, hat, keys, tie, wallet, glasses, pens, belts, epulets, etc. is ridiculous since we fly the planes!
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Personally, I feel this SWA pilots was probably acting like a real red-neck fool.

I've been through security at every major northeast airport hundreds of times in the last 5 months and I've not had a problem one time.

If security asks me for my badge, I give it to them. If security asks for my shoes, they can have those too. Want to look in my briefcase? Go ahead.

I've seen so many pilots get upset at security checkpoints, and every time there has been NO reason for it. Screeners are just doing their jobs. They don't need a attitude, just like we don't need a attitude from some irate passenger.

The arrogance and superiority complex of pilots has shown its ugly head. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

As a model to the traveling public, we should remain cool, we should remain professional. If a passenger see's a pilot acting like a moron...that passenger is probably more likely to act like a moron as well. It damages our whole profession. What do passengers think, "this childish schmuck is flying me around?".

If a pilot has a problem, do what the security personnel ask and after he/she passes the checkpoint talk to a manager, talk to a ground security coordinator, talk to the union. But, act up and almost get arrested! Ridiculous.

The guy in the article is probably very immature and probably has other egotistical/psychological issues.
"There needs to be a way to positively identify crews as being crews"

On that note, my best friend (a WN Capt) told me he had a HP pilot jumpseating out of SLC two days ago. He took a seat in the cabin. Out of curiosity, he asked the HP guy why he was taking Southwest. The reply was that HP ticket agents failed a FAA check and many did not know how to determine if pilots requesting the jumpseat were actual HP employees. :eek: Because of that, jumpseating on their own airline was now prohibited (guess their cabin was full) until they can develop a means of positively IDing crew members. Hmmmmm. Anyone else with more details?

Airlines/FAA need to issue frequently updated and accurate ID cards for cockpit and cabin crewmembers. There is no reason the professional crews need to be subjected to the constant removal of personal items: tie clips, pens, hats, shoes, etc.

If a quality and updated ID card swipe or eye scan was put in place much of the friction/annoyances for our good guys could be avoided.
I was going through security the other day with a military guy behind me. He was griping like mad about being searched. "I fought in desert storm and I never..." I was in front of him taking off my shoes and belt. I looked at him and said "Hey dude, I'm gonna' fly the plane, if I can take it, so can you." I love showing the public that no one is free from suspicion. Pilots can do bad things too. By the way, that metal spiral in my "little red book" is a bitch through the metal detector. I can't wait for my shoes to wear out so I can buy Loafers!;)
Hey datafox, you might be a butt pirate, and enjoy the daily anal cavitity search, but the rest of us don't. Profiling is the answer.
Datafox you are the fool and you should be ashamed of yourself for posting such propaganda!

I WILL SAY AGAIN.............PILOTS GOING TO WORK SHOULD NOT HAVE TO BE SCREENED! There are ways to prove to any Joe Blow that we are working crew members.

Second giving pilots a harder time at security to show the public how safe the airports are now is utterly ridiculus.
Simon Says,

Dude, don't put words into my mouth. Re-read my post.

#1: I never said that airports or security was safe.

#2: I didn't say that the treatment pilots get at security is fair either.

Pilots must act professional, especially when in public view. This bickering and acting like children I've seen at security checkpoints is damaging to our profession. There are better ways to deal with the security issue than to start yelling at some $6/hr immigrant or an 18 y/o guardsman.

I agree we all need to be professinals at the security check points, but there is a limit of humiliation for a normal human being. You may not have seen abuse against flight crews at check points, but I have.

Case in point, I try to put everything I carry through the X-Ray machine so I do not BEEP going through the metal detector. Last week I went through and I beeped so the security folks had to wand me down. My wallet that had several hundered dollars in cash was sitting in basket on a table 15 feet away from me. I requested that my wallet be placed within arms reach away from me, and they denied my request. At that time I requested to see the Officer at the check point, told him that I wanted my wallet within arms reach or that he could watch my wallet and be responible for it. He said no to both of those requests. So I told him that I was going to dismiss myself from the security screening process and asked to be escorted out of the secure area. Which he granted. I called my Chief Pilot. He called the airport. The airport police eventually agreed that I may have my wallet within arms reach of me. I went through the security check again with an officer escorting me. The flight was delayed 36 minutes.

This is just one of many headaches I go through when I attemp security. I will be **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED**ed if someone denies my constitutional right of proper searches. Once again I am hot under the collar about all of this, but I will and do handle it in a professinal manner.

And I have yet to meet any Red-necked fool SWA pilot.

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