Which one of you guys at Eagle...


New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
American Eagle pilot tries to amuse his passengers and fails
by Scott Carmichael Aug 24th 2008 @ 2:00PM

Passengers on American Eagle flight 4891 from New York's La Guardia airport en route to Cleveland were already running 2 hours late when the pilot asked the flight attendant to advise the passengers that the aircraft would be diverted to Toledo. The reason given was "an emergency has shutdown Cleveland Hopkins Airport".

Once the plane landed, passengers whipped out their mobile phones, expecting the need to make plans to get to their final destination, only to discover that the pilot had played a prank on them. There was no "emergency" and the plane has actually landed exactly where it was supposed to be.

Needless to say that some of the passengers didn't share his sense of humor. American Eagle has confirmed the incident, and claims the matter is now "a personnel issue". Fingers crossed for the pilot that someone at HQ understands the need for a joke every now and then.

I've been on the receiving end of a couple of cockpit pranks before, but I can't say I've ever run into a pilot who tricked his entire plane into thinking they were going to land somewhere else.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you laugh it off, or immediately write a letter demanding one million miles?


Never say die
I think its a pretty funny prank myself.

Its not like they said there was an aircraft emergency.

People need to lighten up a little. The problem is when you play a prank on a bunch of strangers you're going to get a couple tools that are going to get their panties in a wad. :rolleyes:

Oh wait, I forgot that pilots are supposed to be very uptight people without a sense of humor. Fire these unprofessional sons of bitches!! :sarcasm:


New Member
I have a great sense of humor---but don't find that particularly funny. You're never sure who your "audience" is and it's not very cool to scare the crap out of a little old lady, UM, someone who has to be in the original city to perhaps visit a sick relative/friend, attend a very important meeting, etc., etc.

Not saying the pilot should be fired, but he should certainly be educated on why that's not a very smart thing to do.


New Member
This might be a good prank if your airline is having trouble filling classes with 50 airplanes coming. Not when the company is looking to get even one pilot off of the payroll.


Sitting in the median
I made a PA like this once, but not to this extreme.

It was the week before the Super Bowl, when Indianapolis was playing Chicago. We were over Northwest Indiana on arrival into O'Hare, and ATC turned us for spacing. I quickly went to the PA and told the passengers, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Chicago Air Traffic Control has notified us that we are unable to land at O'Hare at this time. We are now being forced to divert to Indianapolis... *pause* where we can drop off all Colts fans before we continue our trip to Chicago. Thank you for your understanding."

The flight attendant called up right after and asked if I was serious. :rolleyes: So I then made a follow-up PA telling them that even though I am a Bears fan, I've negotiated with Chicago Approach and they'll allow us to continue to Chicago. Everyone getting off kept saying either "Go Bears!" or "Go Colts!" We had a good laugh, except the FA who thought we were really diverting...


New Member
On a strictly personal level I hate stupid "jokes" like this. They are not funny, and I think are generally the result of a person with a severely limited sense of humor trying and failing miserably to be funny.

On a professional level I think it shows extremely questionable judgement. If I were the CP, we'd be talking about some time off to think about it after an uncomfortable carpet dance. Depending on the attitude of the pilot, termination wouldn't be out of the question. It's not a matter of the action itself, but the decision-making ability of the pilot in question.


Well-Known Member
If the guy would had done what Flychicaga said he did, and made a follow up PA a few minutes later to let everyone in on the joke, it may have ended being kinda comical. But the thought of this flake behind the flightdeck door, giggling like a school girl as they touched down, "heheheheeehehe they think we diverted, heehehee they think we diverted"!

I can't help to think of Beavis and Butthead. And yeah, Beavis, ya shoulda gotten fired.


Malko In Charge
Staff member
I am curious as to why these people did not figure it out themselves. I cannot believe that nobody on the plane realized where they actually were. Unless none of the pax had ever been to the destination, someone HAD to know.


Well-Known Member
"Cockpit humor" should stay in the cockpit. This wasn't very funny, and I think I'd be a bit upset if we had landed and I had done something like call to book a nonrefundable ticket or reserved a taxi to wherever I needed to go before being "let in" on the joke. More importantly, imagine what goes through people's minds when they hear something like "an emergency has shutdown Cleveland Hopkins Airport". Some might think of flying on 9/11/01 when most passengers were told little more than "an emergency has shutdown New York Kennedy Airport". I can see the wheels spinning---"has there been another attack?; are my loved ones okay?" You can't predict people's reactions; some things just don't need to be joked around with, like emergencies, security, etc.


Well-Known Member
Unprofessional. Is AMR liable to compensate each passenger who was ticked off, errr, I mean inconvenienced (Breach of contract, Careless and Reckless, Etc Etc)??


Squawking 7600
Sounds like a few of us have just moved up the seniority list by one or two numbers.
The only thing that comes to mind is immature and unprofessional.


Well-Known Member
Yeah, not funny. . .but really - is this a big deal?

Did the people make it to their destination? Did they make it on a reasonable time once they left their departure point? If they didn't, was it due to any action or inaction by the crew or a much larger issue?

The talking faces in the back just need to complain every once in a while. Let's amuse them and listen. :whatever:


Well-Known Member
While on reserve I've spent more than my fair share in the back of our planes lately. You guys would be surprised what sort of reaction passengers have to an FA announcing "welcome to XYZ" when instead it is "ABC" you arrived at. People get all panicy and start freaking out. Business travelers to the leisure types.

This was kind of a big deal, especially from a customer service standpoint, which is what our industry is. Sometimes joking is OK when you are on time or early, when it's a small joke like "So folks, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is there is no bad news!!". OK haha, over and done with. But this is way over the top. Maybe not "firing" material but certainly "hey lets chat".

I've also learned that NO MATTER WHAT, people hate to wait for a gate upon arrival. Kinda funny actually, I fall into the same mind set. I could care less if we are 30 mins early or 2 hours late, I find it inexcusable that we wait for a gate in most cases. There is no reason a marshaller can't be waiting for us at an empty gate when we get there. Yet 50% of the time it takes 5-10 mins to get one.


I may just be old and uptight...but it seems to me that a key ingredient of a "prank" is to inject humor at some point and be funny. This may be a radical concept, or just old fashioned. Not sure he should have been canned for making a prank...but perhaps canned for making an unfunny prank that had no comical value.


Well-Known Member
I may just be old and uptight...but it seems to me that a key ingredient of a "prank" is to inject humor at some point and be funny. This may be a radical concept, or just old fashioned. Not sure he should have been canned for making a prank...but perhaps canned for making an unfunny prank that had no comical value.

Agreed. A revenue flight is not an episode of "Punk'd".

Humor on the PA, if any, should used to improve the experience for the passengers. Anything that makes them laugh or lightens the mood while the aircraft is shutdown often goes over well. The flying is done, therefore reasons for anxiety are done. Otherwise, they expect the flight crew to be ALL business. That's their warm and fuzzy.

Regardless of what part of the operation we are responsible for, an airline is ultimately in the business of customer service, safety and comfort. If you're consciously doing anything to compromise those three things, you don't belong in this business.