“Do not open door ... flt attendants out of time and none available.”
So read a message from a person in Delta Air Lines’ operations control centre to a Delta gate agent after a maintenance issue caused a lengthy delay to a flight leaving Atlanta and it was feared cabin crew might walk off the plane following a long shift.
According to internal communications seen by Huffington Post, the employee, who was seemingly worried that flight attendants would hit their maximum duty hours and would want to leave, advised the gate agent to “let [maintenance] do their work without opening door thanks”.
If the crew had left, the airline would have been forced to find another crew or cancel the flight.
About 30 minutes after the initial message, which was sent at 10:19pm, a second note was sent, saying, “Ok… if door is not closed by [11 p.m.] Flt attendants walking.
We will most likely have to delay flight until morning if this happens”.
A flight tower worker replied with a “Copy”.
FlightAware.com tracking shows the Toronto-bound flight (apparently DL1990) departed almost 3.5 hours behind schedule, at 11.27pm.
One of the crew on board the flight listed as “flight leader” said they knew the operation team was trying to trap them on the plane.
But according to the crewmember, the flight attendants would have stayed anyway.
“Since we are deciding to stay although y’all are trying to trap us on the plane, and now our layover has been shortened and we will be past our duty day, hungry and tired,” they said.
It would be nice to have a deadhead [a flight as a passenger, but still paid] at some point tomorrow.”
In a statement to HuffPost, Delta acknowledged the incident and said it went against company protocol.
“Delta’s unique culture is built on supporting one another and that didn’t happen in this case,” wrote the company, who said the door was opened after the maintenance was done.
“We have followed up directly with the team members involved to address this situation.”
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