To the Capt of Westjet Flt23 - You're a KNOB!!

Mrs. Bernse had to fly home yesterday from Edmonton. Now, she is a good flyer and not scared of flying at all.


As they were taxing to the runway to take off, the plane sat on the taxiway for 10 minutes. After which the Capt came on:

“Sorry for the delay. I am concerned about our #1 engine. Its idling lower than I like. I spoke to our Tech/Mechanics in Calgary and they assure me its OK, but it is still lower than I like. However, since they say it is OK we’re going to take off anyway.”

Now, that was not exactly verbatim, but it is damn close. He did specifically say that he didn’t like the engine idling low, but the Techs said it is OK and told him to go, but he still didn’t like it. No bullshit.

I have all sorts of respect for Airline pilots. Maybe its out of envy. However, you sir, are a total fuckwad for telling your passengers that. Did you want a clean conscious in case the aircraft became a flaming wreck killing everyone on board? In case you crashed, did you want to be able to tell your superiors “I told you so?”

For fucks sake, get a grip and keep those opinions in the cockpit. I’m actually tempted to write Westjet and tell them this guy was an ass-clown.

Tempted to write? I’d say you absolutely should! I’m sure his bosses would like to know that their pilots are scaring their passengers, and probably causing them to not use their airline again. Go for it.

Reminds me of a time a number of years ago, when I was seeing a new dentist for the first time. During the examiniation, he told me he was going to check under my jaw and around my neck, and that he was looking for signs of cancer. Okay, fine. So he finds something that interests him. “Hmmm,” says he. “Hmmmm.” He calls the nurse over to check it out. She has a feel and agrees with him: “Hmmm”. He feels it again and frowns. Finally, he tells me everything is fine, and that I just have an inflamed something or other, and I should go have a doctor check it out, which I did, and it turned out to be nothing. But I sat there in that dentist chair, for what seemed like an eternity, thinking I was dying of cancer. I never went back to him again.

I think sometimes these people; pilots, doctors, etc., who do these things every day of their lives, forget that their passengers or patients don’t.

I would have stood up, screamed, and insisted on getting off the plane. Hell, sometimes just a loud noise sends me into a state of nerves when flying, much less the captain saying something like that. What an asshat.

I would definately write a letter.


I wouldn’t give the dentist grief… He was doing a good and conscientious thing, IMHO, telling you about something that had caused him concern, and recommending that it be checked.

The Westjet pilot, OTOH, is definitely a Knob, also IMHO.

The difference is: The Dentist gave a course of action that could be followed, and whatever he found wasn’t likely to be instantly fatal. The Pilot, OTOH, gave useless info: There was nothing to be done, and there was damn little the passengers could do but but sit there and pray they didn’t become part of an inescapable flaming mass.

He didn’t give useless info, he was offering an explanation for why they were delayed. He was concerned about an engine reading, so he phoned it in and got the go ahead to takeoff. I suppose he could have lied, or offered no explanation whatsoever.

I agree with Zette, I think I would want to get off of the plane and take another flight. I also agree it was useful information, but I’m paranoid to fly as it is, and I really don’t think I could remain on the flight after hearing what the pilot said. Definitely write a letter, he could have said it differently in order to avoid scaring the passengers.

Perhaps a better way to state his concerns would have been, “Sorry for the delay. I was concerned about our #1 engine, but the techs have checked and assure me it’s okay, so we should be taking off soon.”

Instead, he emphasized that he was still concerned about the engine, and wasn’t pleased about taking off with it in that condition. “The techs assure me it’s okay” is one thing, “The techs assure me it’s okay but I don’t think it is” is entirely another. Especially in light of many people’s fears of flying.

I agree with Zette, I think I would want to get off of the plane after what the pilot said. I also agree he provided useful information to the passengers but he could have worded it differently and said something like, “Sorry for the delay folks, it was thought that we were experiencing some engine trouble but we have been given clearance and will be taking off shortly.” IMHO, at least then he could have had a lesser chance of alarming the passengers.

Double post…DOH!

Maybe he was hoping that the prayers of the passengers would somehow stabilize that slightly off balance compressor blade…

Anybody else remember that episode of amazing stories, the ball turret gunner drawing cartoon landing gear…


“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Sorry about the disturbance a moment ago. One of our engines is malfunctioning, but with three stable engines, we will be able to make an unscheduled landing in Kansas City. Also, it may comfort some of you to know that we have four Jesuit bishops on this flight.”

Voice from business class: “If it’s all right with you, I’d rather have four engines and three bishops.”

For a different point of view: Pissed off customers are the fastest way to effect change in any company, could it be the pilot is trying to get passengers to write in? As in “The pilot didn’t like what he saw, but the tech said take off anyway!!!”

I think the pilot knew exactly what he was doing.

I see your point, Beelzebubba, but I think this is one of those situations where I would rather know less than more. Conflicts between techs and pilots is not something I ever need to know about. The pilot complaining to the passengers about the techs is pretty inappropriate to my way of thinking; the only change that I would effect is to have a long talk with the pilot, if people wrote in to me complaining about this episode.

Well, for everyones info I emailed the company immediately after I posted this message. I wasn’t able to check the boards/email until shortly ago and I did get a response from them. The person that wrote back was very kind and assured me that kind of behaviour is not condoned or usual and to be sure that it will be brought up with the Pilot relations exec (whatever that is).

I suppose that is as good as to be expected. We don’t want anything out of them as the flight was fine other than that (albeit 10 mins late). Hopefully some good will come of it though.

I looked at the postmark on the email, and they actually responded yesterday afternoon which is a Sunday. That suprises me.

pzzzzrrrt Uh… attention ladies and gentlemen, we have activated the seat belt sign because we will be experiencing some mild turbulance shortly. My co-pilot has informed me that we have a gremlin tearing engine 3 apart, but it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Please remain calm while I attempt to shake the problem off of our starboard wing. Thank you.

Okay, now that was funny.

No explanation would’ve been more constructive. Actually, a lie would’ve been more constructive, too. Telling the passengers that he was worried about an engine, and he still doesn’t agree with the mechanics that it’s running correctly, does precisely what for the passanger…?

Can the passengers make any use of this info? Nope.
Will the passengers feel better about their delay now? I doubt it.

Useless info. He’s a Knob.

Reminds me of an airline horror story of mine. This one had to do with the company instead of the pilot, but it was a nightmare nonetheless.

I’d spent a week in Negril, Jamaica and had nonstop flights from between Detroit and Montego Bay each way. I so much prefer nonstops I can’t begin to tell you.

Anyway, it’s a pretty long bus ride (a couple or three hours) between Negril and Montego. I got up at six a.m. on Saturday morning to catch the bus to the airport. I got to the airport on time, went through security was waiting near my gate (still about an hour to kill before the flight) and saw the board change from “on time” to “delayed”. I decided to go to the desk and find out what the problem was, how long the delay would be, etc.

I was told by the Northwest agent that the wrong plane had been sent. Regulations required the plane to have three radios. This one was equipped with two. No, I don’t know (and really don’t care) what kinds of radios they were and which one was lacking. Mind you, the two-radio plane was on the runway at Montego as I was being told this. Next I was informed that they had to send another plane FROM DETROIT and the delay would be about six hours.

When we were finally able to board the right plane at four in the afternoon, the flight crew confirmed the screw up. Full credit to them for being honest with us. I swore, however, that I would never fly Northwest again, and I said as much in my letter to the company. I’m a man of my word and haven’t used them since 1994. It was, and still is, inconceivable that the company would/could send an incorrectly configured plane on an international flight like that, with all the checks and double checks they have to go through.

At least no one terrified me to cover his own butt or push his own agenda, though. If I were Mrs. Bernse, I think I’d have ripped someone a new orifice. You did the right thing in notifying the company.