America West Complaint - Complaint Letter
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- Re: The actions of Capt. of flight 729 LV-ORD 1/12/2001
I have been the victim of a most outrageous abuse of power by the captain of the flight above described, solely, it appears, for the sake of exercising the absolute power granted to captains. America West must review whether this individual is indeed competent to consistently make the critical decisions of one entrusted with the lives of its passengers. In this instance, at least, the captain of flight 729 was driven by (unprovoked) rage, his judgement impaired, he made a poor and damaging decision, unwarranted by the preceeding events.
AW Las Vegas gate supervisor Corinne, gate agents Tom, Kevin and Mark, flight attendant emp # C3798, the rest of the in-flight staff and first-class passengers within feet of me and the captain are witnesses to this captain's explosive fit of anger and capricious decision.
The events were as follows:
Upon boarding the plane for the 1:18 a.m. flight I sat in my assigned isle seat, 15C. It was the middle of the night, I fell asleep. After the announcement that all passengers were aboard and that we were free to move about, I reached to fasten my seatbelt and found it to be smeared with chewing gum. Further, I found that there had been more chewing gum on the seat and that it had stuck and smeared a pair of new Armani pants I had purchased in Las Vegas the day before at a total cost of $638.
I got up from my seat and requested help getting the gum off my pants; the flight attendant walked me to the station just outside the cockpit where various AW staff attempted to help me get cleaned up. I was given a bag of ice, told to hold it to the gum for 5 minutes and try to then pick off the gum, I was also given a voucher for a $15 cleaning reimbursement and was further told this was the claim form I was to use if there was irreparable damage to the pants. I pointed to them that according to the printed voucher I had just received they had made a mistake and that a claim form for further damages had to be different. They agreed, and went to the gate in search of a form. While this occurred, the captain yelled from the cabin asking what was happening. He was told, and he yelled back in a mocking, dismissive tone "you already gave him some ice, now tell him to get back in his @#$ seat!"
While gate staff were explaining to me that they did not have a form, the captain burst from the cockpit visibly angry and demanded I either go handle the matter outside the plane and miss my flight or go to my seat. Corinne then said she had made a note of the incident on her computer and that I could file a claim at a later date. I requested a printout of the entry so that I would have a reference if I needed to make a claim. Corinne said she would have to do that at the gate. The captain then said: "for the last time, either get off the plane or go to your seat!" My response -- in front of many of your staff and passengers -- was to say "well I can't get off the plane," shrug my shoulders and return to my seat.
When I turned to take my seat I heard the captain yelling that I would not get off the plane and that he wanted me off the plane. I was dumbfounded -- as were the passengers around me, and I'am quite sure some of your own staff -- I approached the captain calmly wondering (in my mind) why he had changed his mind, but realized then that this was an angry out-of-control man intent on making a point of his authority regarless of justification. At no time did I ever raise my voice or say or do ANYTHING but that which was proper and businessline. I was polite.
My 4-year-old son was awaiting me in Chicago for I was to chaperone a field trip with his school, so I pleaded with him to be understanding, reminded him that I had neither said nor done anything wrong and that there was NO ONE on the plane that either felt threatened or upset by any of my actions. But I was cut off by the captain "one more word and you'll be facing federal charges!" Some of your staff quietly said to me "he's right, he has the authority to have anyone arrested even if he's wrong. He's the captain."
As I left the plane I heard him trying to justify -- to staff and a planeload of passengers bewildered by his actions -- that I had delayed departure. Yet the plane sat at the gate for at least 11 minutes after I deplaned!
The actions of the captain of flight 729 on 1/12/2001 were abusive, unnecessary and out-of-control. I was damaged further for the flight was the last one of the night and I had to wait until 6:30 before the next available flight on United. Not only did I miss an important appointment with my infant son, but I had to re-schecule a crucial business trip to London later that day. I paid full-fare but did not receive from your airline the service I paid for; instead, my clothes have been ruined, and your captain made himself feel powerful at my expense, unleashing his venom on me.
I request that America West thoroughly investigate this incident, that you interview your own gate personnel, flight staff and passengers aboard this flight. You will find that on this date, the captain of flight 729 could not and did not act properly in this situation and that his judgement was poor because it was controlled by rage rather than a calm assesment. What the captain was faced with that evening was a calm, rightly grievous, but polite and respectful request for a simple verification that your crew properly note what could perhaps be irreparable damage to valuable property.
The question facing America West is then, what to do when it is the plane's captain who suffers from "air rage," and a rule intended to prevent air rage is used by him in an impulsive, headstrong use of power for the sake of power.
I feel this individual and your airline owe me a personal apology, and will expect to hear from you as sooon as you complete your investigation.