JetBlue Responds to Pilot ‘Panic Attack’

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Mashable has posted a short clip from the incident on a Las Vegas-bound JetBlue flight in which the captain had what some are calling a “panic attack.” The clip shows a relatively calm scene. Passengers are, of course, looking to see what’s going on, but it’s not the chaos one could imagine.

On the other hand, there’s this clip on ABC News that’s really frightening, not just for the passengers, but for the pilot, Clayton Osbon, who is clearly distraught. He has been suspended and is now getting medical attention while in FBI custody. This is barely two years after a JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater decided he had enough and decided to quit his job via the plane’s emergency exit ramp.

What the heck is JetBlue doing to its employees? Yesterday, as details were just emerging, JetBlue had updates about the flight’s progress on its blog, with PR Daily noting that some commenters felt the company was engaging in a bit of spin. The company has also been responding on Twitter, thanking many people for the support the company is receiving.

CEO Dave Barger was on the TODAY show this morning, clip above. From the start, he emphasizes the “training” of the pilots, and their ability to take over the flight and “work with the customers,” a weird way of saying that passengers had to subdue the pilot. He also addresses the categorization of the incident as a “medical situation,” which some people have a problem with.

Back in 2010 following the Slater incident, we spoke with the company spokesperson Steve Stampley, who focused on the failure to respond to the situation more quickly. On the issue of internal comms, he said, “We’ve worked out a robust set of tools with which we carry on a dialogue and engage with our crewmembers.”

Obviously, this is something  they still have to work on.

*Update: Federal authorities have charged Osbon with interfering with a flight crew.