Woman Left to Sleep on Plane While Everyone Else Leaves: Another Airline Customer Service Fail

Cindy McGuire had an exhausting day: four of her flights out of Detroit were canceled, then she had a ten hour layover at Dulles, so when her United Express flight finally landed in Philadelphia after midnight on Tuesday, she’d fallen asleep. And no one woke her.

Well, actually, the cleaning crew woke her – after she’d been left snoozing on the plane for four hours.

And the excuse is…none!

A TV station in Philly is reporting that United said, “We are working closely with our partner Trans States [Airlines] to investigate the cause and remedy the situation with the customer.”

Meanwhile, a Trans State spokesperson reportedly responded with, “It is standard protocol to make sure all passengers are safely off the plane at the end of every flight.” Then, why didn’t they?

What are we paying for?

Now, to be fair, an airline isn’t a hotel and wake-up call service is generally not included; but to leave a passenger onboard, all by herself, ranks right up there with airline bag fees for carryons.

Okay, no more free airline meals, we can deal with that. Having to pay a fee for pillows and blankets on a plane, we can deal with that. Being abandoned on an aircraft, alone, for hours on end – sorry, that is completely unacceptable. What a frightening and disorienting experience that must have been.

Must be serious, look at the lawyer she hired

Apparently it was harrowing: McGuire’s “remedy” is plans to file a lawsuit against United Airlines for “false imprisonment, emotional distress and negligence”. Her lawyer is Geoffrey Fieger and if the name sounds familiar, you may remember him as the defender of Dr. Jack Kevorkian (currently the subject of a well-regarded movie on HBO starring Al Pacino).

But let’s get serious for a moment. In this era of terror incidents on airlines, shouldn’t we expect airline crews to be extra alert? Or even just “normal” alert?

Attention must be paid

Here’s a question: if flight attendants missed seeing a sleeping adult in an airline seat, what else might they be missing? It’s not as if this woman was trying to hide or anything. But a bad guy might.

Watch those pills

I don’t know about you, but I’d think twice before swallowing that “sleeping-aid” on your next flight.


Published: May 27, 2010