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posted by on Saturday January 07 2017, @11:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-a-window-seat dept.

Investopedia reports:

A week after United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) settled a lawsuit over baggage handler workplace injuries, a United worker was locked in an airplane's cargo hold.

The Washington Post reports that the worker spent over an hour locked in an airplane traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C., on the afternoon of Jan. 1. The flight was operated by Mesa Airlines, an airline operating regional feeder flights for United and American Airlines Group Inc.

[...] The worker was unharmed in the incident and told The Washington Post that he was advised by his lawyer not to discuss the incident.

Less than a week earlier, on Dec. 27, United Airlines announced it settled a lawsuit brought by its baggage handlers. The workers alleged more than 600 musculoskeletal workplace injuries between 2011 and 2015.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by wonkey_monkey on Saturday January 07 2017, @11:42PM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Saturday January 07 2017, @11:42PM (#450887) Homepage

    Days After United Settlement, Baggage Handler Locked in Cargo Hold on NC-to-DC Flight

    Less than a week earlier, on Dec. 27, United Airlines announced it settled a lawsuit brought by its baggage handlers. The workers alleged more than 600 musculoskeletal workplace injuries between 2011 and 2015.

    Musculoskeletal injuries? So nothing to do with lax cargo hold procedures, or anything like that?

    I'm really not sure what someone wants to infer from this.

    --
    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
    • (Score: 2) by chromas on Saturday January 07 2017, @11:53PM

      by chromas (34) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 07 2017, @11:53PM (#450894) Journal

      Punishment for snitching. This was just a warning. Next time, they'll drop him off in the middle of the sky with balloon boots.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Saturday January 07 2017, @11:56PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 07 2017, @11:56PM (#450895) Homepage Journal

      Musculoskeletal injuries. It just means that after a hard day's work, they have to go home and rub some Ben Gay on tired, sore muscles. Err - wait - can we say that anymore? Is Ben Gay politically correct? Maybe it's Benji Queer now? Fek, I can't keep up with the changing times.

      --
      There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @12:08AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @12:08AM (#450898)

        I religiously object to using Ben Gay.

      • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Sunday January 08 2017, @08:23AM

        by davester666 (155) on Sunday January 08 2017, @08:23AM (#450974)

        Rainbow Benji!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @03:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @03:04AM (#450926)

      You expected something sane?!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @06:33AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @06:33AM (#450961)

        This item made the front page because there wasn't anything more interesting in the queue.

        There wasn't anything more interesting in the queue because folks spent all their time whining rather that submitting better, more interesting stuff.

        ...and I'm sure that your fellow laborers are all thankful for your wonderful show of solidarity and are hoping that you don't see a similar lack of concern for your wellbeing at your workplace.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @12:08AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @12:08AM (#450897)

    Get yourself locked in the belly of a plane, take a nap, sue for big money. Nice try.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @05:42AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @05:42AM (#450951)

      Whether he did it on purpose or not, the company handling that fucked up big time. There's just no excuse for not knowing where people are in operations like this. This kind of thing is why they invented things like lockouts and the buddy system.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @06:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @06:09AM (#450953)

        That's my thought as well.
        The cabin crew does a count of passengers and compares it to the list before they pull away from the gate.

        It seems logical that someone would do a head count of the ground crew before moving on to the next task.

        Airlines were among the first of industries to standardize procedures and use checklists.
        This episode looks quite sloppy.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 1) by tftp on Sunday January 08 2017, @07:08AM

      by tftp (806) on Sunday January 08 2017, @07:08AM (#450969) Homepage

      Intentional or not, this case revealed a huge hole in the procedures. The last person leaving the compartment and locking the door is supposed to check everything and make sure that there are no loose items (or forgotten workers.) Probably in this case that was not done. Here is what a mechanic says about that on FlightAware [flightaware.com]:

      sparkie624
      I remember a long time ago on a 737, I was working in the Aft Compartment just in front of the APU finalizing some work. I had a tall ladder and the door was open. Next thing I knew the a/c started pushing back form the gate. I had the log book locked up in the vehicle.. First thing I did was start pulling cannon plugs... especially when I heard the #2 engine starting to spool... I disconnect the stabs, and any other cannon plug that I could find (at least a dozen of them). Upon being pulled back into the gate another mechanic climbed up and opened the door and I flew out! he hollared at me and said (Before you go and kill someone, what did you do"... I yelled back! "Canon Plugs"... Never did find that moron, and I think he knew better than to show his face that day!... I talked with the Captain and asked to see his log book... He could not find it.... I advised him that it was locked in my truck! He had nothing else to say!

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday January 08 2017, @05:21PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 08 2017, @05:21PM (#451088) Journal

        Intentional or not, this case revealed a huge hole in the procedures.

        And/or it reveals that procedures weren't followed.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11 2017, @08:25AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11 2017, @08:25AM (#452418)
        On a related note before you dive to work on a boat's propeller make sure you have all the relevant keys in your pocket or similar...

        Same goes for fixing a forklift especially if Klaus is around... (google for Forklift Driver Klaus if you like gory training videos ;) ).
    • (Score: 2) by purple_cobra on Sunday January 08 2017, @11:46AM

      by purple_cobra (1435) on Sunday January 08 2017, @11:46AM (#451002)

      What they need is one of those supermarket self-service checkout systems to say "unexpected item in packing area".

  • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Sunday January 08 2017, @02:07AM

    by deimtee (3272) on Sunday January 08 2017, @02:07AM (#450913) Journal
    --
    No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
  • (Score: 2) by hopp on Sunday January 08 2017, @04:11AM

    by hopp (2833) on Sunday January 08 2017, @04:11AM (#450938)

    I'm waiting for baggage handler robots. Sue the weather is more unpredictable bit it can't be much more difficult than Amazon warehouses.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @06:23AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @06:23AM (#450955)

      With the big planes, there is considerable mechanization of cargo handling.
      The hand labor is largely done away from the aircraft. [google.com]

      With the feeder airlines and their smaller planes, it's more piece-by-piece right at the aircraft.

      Maybe some day soon some smart guy will develop a gadget that can deal with all the stuff of various sizes and shapes like a self-playing Tetris game.
      Now, how much will that cost and will the shoestring-budget outfits find it cheaper than humans?

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bradley13 on Sunday January 08 2017, @08:25AM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 08 2017, @08:25AM (#450975) Homepage Journal

    This all sounds so silly that I had to do a bit of Google research...

    On the lawsuit: "...baggage handlers at Newark Liberty International Airport often were forced to lift heavy bags or perform other functions while leaning over, twisting or reaching overhead." [go.com] It's hard to tell from the online info, but reading between the lines I expect that some minor issues with the baggage handling setup were exaggerated beyond all reason to enable this lawsuit. For example, UAL also had to pay a fine of $7000 - that's such a laughable amount that there cannot have been any real workplace-safety issues.

    On the baggage-handler taking an unexpected flight: Planes are loaded under time pressure, so this happens: Someone is arranging baggage in the hold; someone else thinks the hold is clear and closes the door. This is where pets travel, so it is not a hostile environment. Cargo holds are pressurized, lit, and heated to at least 40F (4C) [quora.com]. Given that you're in with people's luggage, if you get cold, you can certainly find something to wear. So getting locked in for a one-hour flight may be irritating, but it's hardly a hardship.

    tl;dr: Clickbait

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @08:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @08:58AM (#450979)

      I have known many techies who were physically soft.
      One wonders how long -you- could do that job before your body quit on you.

      $7000 - that's such a laughable amount

      They got a judgment in their favor.
      Perhaps the precedent was what they were really after.
      It seems likely that a contract was renegotiated or will be the next time around using that precedent.

      someone else thinks the hold is clear and closes the door

      It occurs to me that standard practice would be for the person doing that to say in a loud voice "CLOSING THE HATCH" and waiting a moment before doing it.
      If they aren't already doing that, this should be added to the procedures manual.

      getting locked in for a one-hour flight [is] hardly a hardship

      A writeup I saw said an hour and a half (one way).

      ...and your vision is quite narrow.
      If it's your wife's birthday or your wedding anniversary or your kid is the featured soloist in the band's presentation that night, being hundreds of miles away could be considered a hardship.

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Sunday January 08 2017, @09:25AM

        by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 08 2017, @09:25AM (#450981) Homepage Journal

        So what is your point?

        The question isn't whether handling baggage is hard physical work. Of course it is. The question is: was the baggage area at this airport set up in a way that endangered the people performing that work? The main result of the lawsuit will be the installation of baggage conveyor belts in a place where they have never existed, in any airport, namely, in the jetways. This is indeed a new precedent, and as such indicates that there was no violation of existing workplace standards.

        Getting locked in the cargo hold: Of course they have procedures for clearing the hold. Working under time pressure, something obviously went wrong. Again, what's your point?

        As for the involuntary trip: The article is attempting to make this sound dramatic. If you read TFA, it makes a point of saying the baggage handler was "unharmed". Other articles emphasize the altitude of the flight, and express doubt about the hold being pressurized. They are doing their damnedest to make this sound dramatic and life-threatening, when it was simply inconvenient. The guy lost half-a-day of time; odds are 50/50 that he was back before his shift would have ended anyway. He has already retained a lawyer to extract a settlement from the airline, because that's what you do in the US.

        --
        Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @03:03PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @03:03PM (#451033)

          Yeah, what a jackass. Next think you know he thinks he just deserves his hourly rate for free while he was just sitting on his ass in the cargo hold. What a libtard shit. No wonder he's a baggage handler. He's an idiot. If he weren't a moron, he'd be doing something better for a living. But nope, had to get that women's history degree. NO SYMPATHY HERE!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @03:32PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08 2017, @03:32PM (#451043)

      >This is where pets travel, so it is not a hostile environment.

      Many of the things we regularly do to our pets would certainly land is in prison if done to a human. You know not all animal-lovers (pet owners) actually love animals.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by choose another one on Sunday January 08 2017, @02:07PM

    by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 08 2017, @02:07PM (#451019)

    I've seen internet rumours elsewhere that when the baggage handler was released from the hold he had no ID, and was held as a suspected stowaway for a while.

    That suggests more to this than a simple procedure error. At the very least two errors lining up (airside without ID and getting locked in hold), but possibly something more, maybe lax security wrt. airside ID, maybe he got airside _without_ ID (shouldn't happen), or maybe someone took his ID and locked him in the hold where he would be unable to report it missing for a few hours. None of these are good.