Tag Archives: American Airlines

Hucker Aide Leads MCDCC Slate

Dave Kunes and other candidates on a recently formed slate for the leadership of MCDCC have issued the following press release. In it, the group promises focus on maginalized groups and party building oriented toward GOTV.

Kunes is an aide to County Councilmember Tom Hucker and very tight with the unions. In the wake of union unhappiness over MCDCC supporting the all-Democratic County Council’s unanimous position on effects bargaining (further supported by the voters), he played a key role in putting together the 2014 organized slate for MCDCC. Several were Montgomery County Young Democrats, an organization he helped revitalize.

Kunes, the slate candidate for chair, had a spot on the MCDCC slate in but failed to win enough support from primary voters to gain a seat in 2014. He was named to MCDCC to fill a vacancy. Emily Shetty, the slate candidate for vice chair, joined the committee as a gender balance member.

If this slate is elected, neither the chair or the vice chair will have been elected by Democratic voters to the committee. I have also learned that there is some debate as to whether gender balance members can also serve as MCDCC officers.

Regardless, MCDCC is currently very fractious and badly needs leadership oriented toward the goal of re-energizing the local party. As Adam Pagnucco has pointed out, Democratic turnout in general elections has been steadily declining. Both Kunes and Shetty have campaign experience–Shetty lost a primary for delegate but ran a good race–that could prove very useful.


December 10, 2016 — Understanding the challenges and embracing the opportunities that lay before the Democratic Party in Montgomery County, the slate has been formed to ensure the Party’s success in 2017 and beyond.

The slate is as follows:

Chair – Dave Kunes
Vice Chair – Emily Shetty
Treasurer – Julian Haffner
Assistant Treasurer – Erin Yeagley
Secretary – Johntel Greene
Assistant Secretary – Mimi Hassanein

If elected, the slate will be focused on strengthening the Party’s fundraising apparatus, identifying and supporting the next generation of party leaders with particular focus on marginalized groups, and ensuring the Party’s focus on diversity and inclusion, which in light of the recent Presidential election, is more critical than ever.

“Our current Executive Committee has maintained a strong foundation including an open office and staff, successful major events in the Brunch and Spring Ball, and precinct organization. If elected, I will work to re-direct and maximize our existing resources towards our mission: inspiring more Democrats to vote.” said slate Chair candidate Dave Kunes.

“Now, more than ever before, our Committee needs to be committed to transparently and actively engaging voters in the community, to ensure that the hard work of our Democrats elected across the county and state is heard. We must engage in sustained, modern outreach to ensure that we continue to build up our party from the ground up. We are fortunate to have years worth of state, county, and federal campaign experience on our team, and hope to utilize our skills to benefit our party’s efforts.” said slate Vice Chair candidate Emily Shetty.

“The County’s rapidly changing demographics present challenges, certainly, but also provide our Party with a tremendous opportunity to amplify voices which historically haven’t been heard. I believe this is the group that will usher our Party into the future, and I am excited by the prospect of serving with them.” said slate Treasurer candidate Julian Haffner.

The election of officers will be held December 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm at Central Committee Headquarters located at 3720 Farragut Ave, Suite 303. Kensington, MD 20895.


Shame on American Airlines II

On Thursday, the Washington Post published a story (“Shame on American!”) about how a woman was bullied by an American Airlines flight attendant to the point of tears and forced off the plane for doing nothing wrong according to the other passengers.

Earlier the same week, American Airlines showed off its shameful company values when it blamed someone else in a sad effort to cover up its own incompetence and poor security (The events occurred on USAirways, owned and operated by AA. Indeed, USAirways ceased entirely to exist as a separate carrier this weekend.)

On USAirways Flight 1718 from Orlando MCO to Washington DCA on October 12th, the plane taxied to the runway but then returned to the gate and asked a passenger to leave the plane. It then took off around an hour after its scheduled departure time.

Roughly 15 minutes into the flight, the pilot announced that we had to return to Orlando because the passenger who was removed from the flight had “faked a ticket” but his luggage was still on the plane. The pilot explained that he did not believe that there was any significant security threat, but as we were heading to “DC,”  he didn’t want to take any chances.

I contacted American Airlines after the flight to investigate. After all, faking your way on to a plane is a serious matter. Was anyone arrested? How did this occur?

Turns out that no one “faked a ticket.” There were two people with the same name. Apparently, both were headed to DCA (or AA thought they were both going to DCA). An AA agent issued a boarding pass mistakenly for “John Smith” #2 after checking his driver’s license, according to AA.

Both passengers managed to board the plane. Indeed, when they had the same seat, the airline announced an overbooking situation and offered vouchers to induce someone to leave the plane. We ended up returning to the gate the first time because the wrong John Smith was still on the plane.

At this point, one wonders how two people with the same seat could be allowed to board the same flight without the second one being flagged since the first had already boarded. Additionally, why did AA fail to sort out the problem properly before we left the gate?

We had to return to Orlando after takeoff because only then–after we had already returned to the gate one time and finally left for DC– did AA realized that the wrong John Smith’s luggage was still on the plane.

The pilot’s announcement that a passenger had “faked a ticket” was “incorrect” according to Alexis Coello, AA’s Corporate Communications Manager at American Airlines Miami Hub. She explained that the pilot had made a safety call to return to Orlando because the wrong man’s luggage was still on the plane.

Of course, this doesn’t explain why AA did not remove Smith’s luggage after we returned to the gate the first time. When I asked if AA should have removed his luggage at that point, Coello stated “I’m not going to answer that question,” which is a nonetheless a very revealing answer.

Letting the wrong person get on a plane is bad enough but failing to sort out whether his luggage was on the plane after he had already been removed was flat out negligent. It also doesn’t explain why the passengers were misinformed about a faked ticket or why AA has not corrected the record.

While Coello says that pilot did not have complete information, “faked a ticket” comes across as an attempt to evade responsibility for poor security and why the flight that took more than twice as long as scheduled on a clear, sunny day with no traffic issues at either airport.

No apology for either the incompetence or the incorrect information has yet been issued by AA. When I asked Coello if AA had plans to do so, she sounded shocked by the very idea and asked: “How would we be able to do that?” Um, perhaps it wouldn’t be so difficult because AA has the addresses and phone numbers and probably email addresses of the passengers.

So AA doesn’t just bully customers off its planes, it mishandles security issues and then tries to mislead their customers in order to minimize responsibility.