United Airlines and FAA are Investigating Passenger’s Cockpit Presence During Charter Flight

by Anthony Losanno

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A passenger named Hensley Meulens was seated in the cockpit of a United operated Major League Baseball (MLB) charter flight between Denver International Airport (DEN) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) on an April 10th. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and United Airlines are investigating how this happened.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that while the plane was at cruising altitude, Meulens (the Colorado Rockies’ hitting coach) is seen mimicking pushing the plane’s yolk and giving a thumbs up gesture in the cockpit of the Boeing 757. The video was posted to his Instagram, but it has since been taken down (other outlets have saved and published it, like the post above).

A United spokesperson released the following statement:

We’re deeply disturbed by what we see in that video, which appears to show an unauthorized person in the flight deck at cruising altitude while the autopilot was engaged. As a clear violation of our safety and operational policies, we’ve reported the incident to the FAA and have withheld the pilots from service while we conduct an investigation.”

This is the latest in a series of incidents that have made United newsworthy in recent months. Multiple maintenance issues caused the FAA to step in and increase its oversight. This has caused several new routes to be postponed, no other routes to be added, and new aircraft not being allowed to enter service. The last thing that United needs at the moment is another perceived safety issue. Passengers are not allowed to be in the cockpit while the aircraft is in flight. This is both a United policy and an FAA regulation.

Anthony’s Take: United can’t seem to get out of its own way lately. This is another incident that will need to be investigated and these pilots should have known better.

(Featured Image Credits: Wuttichai Kaewklang.)

(H/T: One Mile at a Time and Paddle Your Own Kanoo.)

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