United Can’t Fire Flight Attendants Who Ignore Safety Duties and Passenger Brought Back to Life

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. While I’m not a union fan, I think employees should be inherently entitled to due process and progressive discipline.

    It appears from the article that UA failed badly in this regard. Based only on the article, I would applaud that verdict.

  2. I’ve gotta agree. 30 years of flying for the airline with no other incidents and you truly believe she should be fired for this? I understand getting talked to and noted in the file, but to be terminated is harsh.

  3. Which 15 minutes? If they neglected safety briefings or pre-takeoff checks, then yeah. But if they’re at cruising altitude and everything is fine, then there’s clearly no safety issue caused by them not walking the aisle for 15 minutes. Maybe a minor customer service issue, but if domestic carriers fired the FA every time they went 15 minutes without walking the aisle, there’s be nobody left.

  4. Gary, I think you are way over reacting on this one. Tell me you have never taken time away from work to watch a video online. You sound like a whiner when citing the safety aspect. This type of article makes me not want to read your website.

  5. @Every commenter above me —

    you are all missing the big picture, which is as Gary said “we can’t have nice things.”

    If we want better inflight service from US airlines–and we all want this–we have to get tough. I agree that watching a video during downtime is not a problem (I wouldn’t even bat an eye), so this specific example is weak, but the bigger picture is that it’s difficult to fire FAs, and that difficulty entrenches lousy service.

  6. I wish the union “campaigning” was taking place one day while I was walking into the United Club in SFO. I love walking through picket lines and “informational” protests.

  7. “At Killmer, Lane & Newman,” his law firm, Lane says, “we are message senders. Generally, that’s why we’re in business — to send messages to civil-rights violators. And the message is always the same, which is, if you fail to protect the civil rights of your employees, it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg.”

    Actually, Mr. Lane, you are a bloodsucker.

  8. Can someone tell me how and where to book seats on Air New Zealand, nonstop Auckland – Houston, using MileagePlus Miles? Seats in Economy, though not my first choice, will be OK.

    United reservations/customer service just can’t seem to give me a clear, concise, consistent and direct answer to this (simple?) question.


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