Super Bowl Parade Not Super For Departing UAL Passengers

Epic Super Bowl parade canceled United flight to Los Angeles

By Bruce Nolan, The Times-Picayune
February 10, 2010, 4:00PM

The New Orleans Saints Super Bowl parade through the streets of New Orleans on Tuesday apparently led to the cancellation of a Los-Angeles bound flight from Louis Armstrong International Airport. Tuesday’s late afternoon Super Bowl parade trapped a United Airlines crew downtown and so delayed their arrival at Louis Armstrong International Airport that the airline was forced to cancel the Los Angeles-bound flight, an airline spokeswoman said.

United 216 was scheduled to leave at 7:18 p.m., spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said. Passengers boarded for the scheduled departure, but the crew did not arrive until about 9:30 p.m., she said.

Some passengers apparently thought something else was amiss.

Someone told the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office the crew had reported too impaired to fly. The sheriff’s office said deputies interviewed the crew and decided that report was untrue.

McCarthy said the crew was late because an airline shuttle was unable to reach the two United pilots at the downtown pickup point as parade crowds gathered for the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory parade.

Then they were delayed getting out of the Central Business District, she said.

By the time the crew reached the aiport, McCarthy said the flight was so delayed that its transit to Los Angeles would have exceeded flight attendants’ work rules, so the flight had to be canceled.

McCarthy said United apologized to customers, arranged overnight hotels for those who wanted them, and will compensate them with free travel vouchers.

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3 comments for “Super Bowl Parade Not Super For Departing UAL Passengers

  1. Martha Stewardess
    February 11, 2010 at 11:29 am

    How I see it………
    The Flight Attendants most likely flew in with the plane, and scheduled to work the outbound flight. The inbound pilots were laying over in New Orleans. While they’re being tranported to their layover hotel, the pilots working the outbound flight were stuck in the SB parade mayhem while trying to get to the aiport. Gate agents want the plane out. Knowing the pilots were on their way, the flight would have been boarded. All the while, the clock was ticking for the Flight Attendant crew, and they ran out of time. Flight Attendants and Pilots fly different schedules, and not always laying over at the same time.

    Passengers got pissed. Allegations flew. They didn’t.

    All speculation on my part.


  2. Jxxxx Lxxxxx
    February 12, 2010 at 7:53 am

    i like martha’s take on this, here’s mine….
    the pilots lay over at the swish downtown hotel while the flight attendants mark time at the damp airport layover hotel. the flight attendants have no problem making their show time b/c there’s nothing even remotely interesting to do near their layover. infact, they had to check-out early inorder to get something to eat at the airport. hee hee hee
    they prob had a 12 hour scheduled duty day and timed out quickly. too bad, i hear they were really, really looking forward to the next well-earned 10 hour layover on their ID.

  3. Martha
    February 12, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Well, I’m between flights at LAX, enjoying a Starbucks and listening to piped in airport music only suitable for LAX. It’s a very cool, sort of a 50’s cocktailing vibe with a jazzy twist. Anyway, yours truly had a New Orleans layover last night and spoke to someone very close this story.

    My source shared the following info, (well to the best of my recollection anyway). ‘The pilots waited outside their hotel at the designated pick-up time. The downtown parade scene was fierce, the crowd insane, and security tight. While they waited at the hotel, the van driver, inching toward the hotel, had all but given up. The concerned pilots, in communication with both UAL and the transportation service, began walking in the direction of the van, dragging their flight bags and roller-board suitcases for several blocks, through the masses and mayhem, pushing and shoving through the ‘hoopla’ that is New Orleans after a Super Bowl Win (and I feel if any city deserves a celebration, it’s New Orleans!). Unfamiliar with the territory, they remained in constant communications navigating a way out of the crowds and to a safe pick up spot. At the same time the van driver continued his crawl deeper into the crowd.

    After what seemed like an eternity, the van and pilots hooked up. Now in the van, the driver begins the slow navigational crawl out of the mayhem. Once cleared from the parade celebration, the driver put the petal to the metal, whisking the pilots off to the airport.

    Now at the airport, and cleared through security, the pilots were met by an angry crowd who actually ‘booed’ them. Yes, ‘booed’! This bunch included a few bad apples who only made matters worse for everyone involved, as they began hurling out the accusations. Some were so hostile toward the staff, that a UAL gate agent called for the airport police.

    At the same time, the flight attendants were dangerously close to their maximum time limit for that duty period. With police at the scene, the pilots were cleared of any suspicion. However, a few stinking apples continued acting belligerent and unreasonable. The pilots then decided against flying the plane with the hostile and unreasonable (bad apple) passengers on-board. This is about when the meter ran out for the flight attendants. Their time on duty had now expired.’

    What a clusterf**k! In my opinion, they had two pilots who did the best they could, under the circumstances. A van driver trying to get from point A, point B, and finally point C, flight attendants limited by their regulated (and needed) work rules, frustrated agents, and an upset angry mob failing to completely understand the circumstances, and without all pieces of the puzzle. This same mob also managed to make a bad situation worse through the actions of a few bad apples.

    For every action, there are consequences. Unfortunately for this bunch, the actions of the bad apples resulted in the same consequence for all, a ‘spoiled’ flight.

    Disclaimer- Martha is a fictional character. She is not a spokesperson for UAL, New Orleans Airport, the New Orleans Police Department, the van driver, the entire bunch of apples (good, bad, or ugly). Martha does enjoy her apples, usually eating an apple a day. Her fav ? ~ Fuji of course, with a slice of pepper-jack cheese.


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