26 June 2010

Arrest Threatened If Pilot Of International Flight Lets Passengers Off Aircraft

HARTFORD, Conn. — The pilot on a Virgin Atlantic flight that spent several hours on the tarmac after being diverted to Connecticut had asked for permission to unload the stranded passengers, but a customs official threatened to have them arrested if they did, the airline said Thursday.

FYI! International flights are not included in the latest "3 hr delay" program that passed earlier this year. Also anytime an international flight that has not pre-cleared customs cannot let any passengers or crew members off of the aircraft for any reason with clearing customs and immigration. In the event of an emergency then Customs will clear passengers after they have been sequestered and cleared in a controlled area.

Customs officials denied the airline's allegation.

The trans-Atlantic flight's captain was told by a customs official at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks that passengers couldn't get off the plane until more immigration officials arrived, Greg Dawson, an airline spokesman in London, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. It took more than two hours for the officials to arrive, he said.

The London-to-Newark, N.J., was diverted because of storms. Passengers sat on the tarmac in Connecticut for four hours late Tuesday and early Wednesday in rising heat and darkness. Travelers said they were offered water but no food; some fainted.

A federal rule limiting tarmac time to three hours does not apply to international flights.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not receive a call from the pilot, and no one from the agency refused a request to allow passengers off the plane, said Theodore Woo, an agency spokesman in Boston.

Customs officers headed for the airport "as soon as we got the call at 11 p.m.," Woo said. At that point, customs had enough officers to "escort passengers to a safe area," he said.

Airport officials have said there was only one customs official at the airport Tuesday night when the flight arrived in Connecticut.

The airport called for customs inspectors around 11 p.m. when it learned the Virgin flight was canceled, said John Wallace, a Bradley spokesman. Passengers were allowed off the plane about an hour and 15 minutes later, when customs officials arrived, he said.

Bradley's only regular international passenger flights are to Canada and it does not house many customs agents, Wallace said.

AA flight attendant helps deliver baby in 737

American Airlines flight attendant Patricia Sund holding the newborn boy she helped deliver minutes earlier in the back row of a 737 as it flew from Haiti to Florida.


Original Story: http://www.wfaa.com/news/AA-flight-attendant-helps-deliver-baby-in-737-96702679.html

FORT LAUDERDALE - "My new slogan is going to be, "Coffee? Tea? Deliver your baby?," quipped Patricia Sund, an American Airlines flight attendant.

Patricia Sund helped two doctors deliver a baby boy in the last row of seats, on Friday, June 11, as they flew from Port-au-Prince, Haiti to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A Boeing 737 is the stage for this performance yet being very much lacking for space to deliver a baby but anything is possible when the flight attendants are put to the test of their training and cool heads during a situation.

"It took quite a bit of improvisation to figure out a way to position the mother, the medical kit, two doctors, the equipment needed and a way to pass what was needed in-between and over the seats to the attending physicians in order to make this delivery a successful one," Sund said.

Flight 2288 was about 35 minutes from landing in (KFLL) Fort Lauderdale when an extra passenger was announced on the flight and added to the passenger manifest according to American Airlines.

"Watching that baby being born and having him placed in my arms 30 seconds after he was born was an incredibly raw and emotional moment for me," Sund reflected. "It will remain one of the highlights of my Flight Service career. It also most likely makes this crew the newest members of a very small club of flight attendants who have assisted with the birth of a child inflight."

American Airlines said the baby boy was born healthy.

This is a fine example of what flight attendants are trained to do and what so many passengers take for granted. So the next time a passenger thinks that flight attendants are "glorified sky waitresses" hopefully they will remember hearing about this beautiful incident over the skies of the Atlantic and know that the flight attendants are there for more important things than passing out peanuts and opening cans of Coke!