United Flight Attendants Refused To Fly Due To Safety Concerns, Were Fired

There was something unusual about a United Airlines 747 waiting at the San Francisco airport. Someone had drawn a picture in an oil slick on the back of the plane, and the flight attendants scheduled to work the next flight, to Hong Kong, found it threatening. They refused to fly, fearing an explosive or some other kind of attack. The flight was ultimately canceled, and the flight attendants were fired for insubordination.

You can see the graffiti over at the Chicago Tribune if you’re curious. It consists of two smiley faces, one a crude caricature of an Asian person that’s looking down at the other. The message “BYE BYE” and what looks like a burst of fireworks accompany the faces.

The flight attendants, all of whom had at least 18 years of experience on the job, feared explosives or another safety threat was on board, and refused to fly until the passengers were taken off the plane and the aircraft was thoroughly checked. United counters that the airline performed a “comprehensive safety sweep” and deemed the plane safe to fly.

This incident happened back in July, but the crew’s complaint wasn’t filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration until this week.

United flight attendants say they were fired over security, safety concerns [Chicago Tribune]

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