Problems in the Sky

August 24, 2009 by admncc

Mesaba Airlines, a unit of Delta Air Lines, found itself in some hot water last week after refusing to let passengers off of a Continental flight in Minneapolis.

ExpressJet (Continental) was cleared of any wrongdoing and the investigation has since turned toward Mesaba, who was in charge at the time because they had the only employees left in the airport.

What happened, you ask?  Mesaba refused to let passengers off of the plane from 12:30 a.m. until 6:00 a.m.  The plane’s toilet was full, there was no food and the plane stunk according to the Associated Press’ story.  You can also read USA Today’s story on the incident.

The pilot was heard saying “that’s ridiculous” (when told that they couldn’t de-board the plane) on the recorded conversations, which you can listen to here.

I’ve done my fair share of flying over the years, and I could tell you horror story after horror story about airport hassles, airline waits, poor customer service, etc.  And I can also remember extremely bizarre stories, such as my buddy Tom sitting stranded in an airport for 13 hours while one customer service representative took care of hundreds of angry customers.  Or how many times my wife has been stranded or forced to rent a car and drive through the night because end-point destinations were cancelled at the last minute.  I’m sure many of you can share personal stories too.

But doesn’t it seem like the stories are getting worse year after year instead of getting better?  I truly believe that the people on that plane were falsely imprisoned.  Maybe they should have tried to get out, even if it meant getting the authorities involved.  Well, hey, at least they got a refund for their flight, a $200 travel voucher and a $50 American Express Gift Card.  Yeah, that would make me feel better for being locked up for more than six hours.  NOT.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand safety and agree that it should be their #1 priority.  But I think what Mesaba did to those travelers was absolutely uncalled for.  And I don’t blame them for being livid.

All Posts / Business / Family/Lifestyle / Law and Order Airline Industry / Airline Problems / Airline Safety / Airport Problems / Airport Safety / Bad Customer Service / Customer Service / Delta Air Lines / Lengthy Airport Lines / Mesaba Airlines / Passengers Stranded on a Plane / Poor Customer Service /


  1. NeoConDon says:

    Every time an airline goes out of business or files bankruptcy, I let out a series of giggles. This is absurd behavior for an airline. I would have done everything I could have to be removed from the plane and placed in the hands of authorities…

  2. Dan says:

    I hate to admit it, but I agree with Don.

  3. That was crazy. How about some common sense, folks?

    It’s sad to hear about another “for our safety” incident that makes no sense and punishes the wrong people.

  4. Deb says:

    I’ve never had a problem flying. Wait. Once I did. 1984. Crap weather in Boston made us miss connecting flight in Chicago to Vegas. Maybe that was a good thing. I can count on one finger the times I’ve flown after that, which has cut down on the number of airport horror stories. Hey, it works.

  5. Ron says:

    Yup…I’d have to agree with Don too.

    This is why I fly as little as possible. Flying use to be one of the most luxurious and outstanding service-oriented experiences. Now? It’s like being though into a crammed cattle car with 300 people. I swear to god, planes have shrunk. No, I’d rather take a train, car or….walk.

  6. Good luck bringing such a case — the back of the ticket has so many waivers and “agreements” that you pretty much consent to them doing whatever they want when you purchase the ticket.

    Hence the possibility of Congressional reform to override the parties’ “freely negotiated” contracts.

  7. Sugar says:

    When I was around 5, my brother and I flew up to visit my Dad in Ohio. I still remember the ditzy flight attendant that kept calling me the wrong name and actually put my coat on inside out, ‘because the fur should go on the inside and keep you warm’. I looked like the dumbest little kid running through the airport with my coat turned inside out with bright blue lining and a tag showing, lol.

    Seriously though, it’s hit and miss with service anywhere. I’ve flown numerous times and not one flight service was the same.

  8. Tristan says:

    It’s comical how much it takes before we will stand up for ourselves.

  9. Mike N says:

    You know, I’ve only flown once and I didn’t have a bad experience at all. The only problem I ran into was a delay on the way back from Vegas because of a torrential downpour. For those of you that have been to Vegas, they have absolutely no idea what the hell to do when it rains. Other than that though, it went smoothly. Does anyone actually know why this particular flight wouldn’t let it’s passengers off the plane for six hours? I’d have to imagine there would be good reason for it. No I wouldn’t like it either and would probably complain as much as the next person, but with a good explanation I might calm down a bit. Because there was no explanation is probably why so many were upset, and that is the airlines fault. However, they might have though that the truth would cause an outright panic aboard the plane and that is never good. Just a thought, sometimes ignorance is bliss.

  10. Jane says:

    Mike, one of the news stories I read said they couldn’t get off the plane because all of the security at the airport had gone home. That sounds silly. At an airport!?

  11. I’ve had soo many issues with flying over the past 10 years its incredibly stupid. Last year I took a direct flight from Dallas to Montreal. It’s meant to be a 3 hour and 55 minute flight. It turned out to be 9 hours on a plane. We had to touch down in Albany due to bad weather and to refuel. They ran out of ice, water, and drinks. We were grounded on the plane with the engines OFF therefore no AC… it made me never want to fly again.

  12. Leo Nevoli says:

    I have only taken 3 round trip flights in my life, mainly because I don’t like to travel, and I keep hearing horror stories about the airlines just about everyday. On the flight to Bermuda, I was next to a girl who was scared and ready to throw up at any minute, so I can’t really blame the airline for putting her next to me; and no it was not my Wife. And then there was the return flight when the attempted landing resulted in the plane having to pull up and try to land again, because the pilot was instructed to land on a runway that had a plane taking off on it.
    Then there was the return flight from Dallas a few years ago. We were on one flight that was cancelled, and they called to tell us that, and gave us the option of another flight later in the day or an early morning flight, we picked the later flight, but they then moved us to the earlier flight, and never told us. So when we got to the airport, they had no seats for us on the later flight. Still have yet to receive an apology for that. I really feel bad for the people stuck on a runway for hours, because along with them being stuck, the airlines are going to treat them with a “we don’t care about you” attitude.

  13. NeoConDon says:

    Libby might actually have a point here…I’m not sure if it was this particular flight, or another one last week that had a nearly identical issue of incompetence where the plane was stranded at the gate or on the tarmac for an obscene amount of hours…but it was because security had gone home, AND it was a foreign flight and in order to be let into the airport, they would need to go through customs. Problem was customs went went home too. In either instance, the treatment of these human beings was cruel and obscene.

  14. MajorLeague09 says:

    This seems to have become a trend latly among the airlines. I have heard several stories about planes landing and not letting the passengers off, keeping them there for hours without food,drink or access to a bathroom. And then the airlines wonders why people don’t want to fly. I have flown quite a bit and I haven’t had a problem yet (knock on wood). Recently my husband and I flew to Las Vegas. We flew southwest, there are no movies on the flight, but the flight attendents were nice and when they handed out drinks and snacks they let you take more then one snack and throughout the flight, they were constantly asking us if we needed anything else to drink. It was a very nice and I would fly them again. But if I was on that flight that wouldn’t let people off, I would have been on the phone to 911 telling them I was being held hostage and maybe that would have brought some security back to the airport. I feel so sorry for people that were trapped, no food or water. The airport could have easily brought food and water and emptied the bathroom facilities, but I think that they were too lazy and just didn’t care. What if someone such as a diabetic was on board and needed to have something to eat and drink, or traveling w/ a child. I’m sure people brought some type of snack but they were planning on a 2-3 hour flight, not 6-9 hours. So as travelers should we plan to bring enough food and water to last us a couple days if we’re going to fly. If the airlines wants to make any money you would think they would put the passengers on top of there list. They end up losing more money because they have to keep reimbursing the passengers that they keep stranding on tarmats. It all come back to customer service. Take care of the customer and the customer will take care of you by coming back for more business.

  15. tallelf says:

    I have had a doozie when I flew back from Mexico sick as a dog.. (not Montezuma’s revenge) and the staff was excellent but that was back in 1998, so things are changing.

    Majorleague… If we did bring drinks for 9 hours, wouldn’t that violate the carry-on regulations or could we put them all in small bottles?

    I think John Madden did it best by spinning across the country by a bus. His own bus at that.

    I will not fly in the near future if I can help it.

  16. Extreme John says:

    I hate flying, always have and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. I would have lost my mind on that plane and probably ended up spending the night in jail or breaking limbs jumping from the plane, but there is no way in hell I would stay trapped on a smelly, hot disgusting plane for 6hrs through the night. For no good reason.

  17. otin says:

    I don’t have to worry, I don’t fly!

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