13 former United flight attendants file whistleblower complaint with OSHA

A group of United Airlines flight attendants saw this written on an aircraft and refused to fly. They were fired and now want their jobs back. Photo: Katz, Marshall & Banks LLP.

A group of United Airlines flight attendants saw this written on an aircraft and refused to fly. They were fired and now want their jobs back. Photo: Katz, Marshall & Banks LLP.

UPDATE: You can read the entire 26-page OSHA complaint here. 

Thirteen United Airlines flight attendants fired by United Airlines for refusing to work a July 2014 flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong are asking federal regulators to help them win their jobs back. 

The flight attendants told United that they were spooked by markings written on an oil slick on the Boeing 747s tail cone, near the auxiliary power unit, according to a press release from the group's law firm. 

"The Flight Attendants requested that the airline conduct a thorough inspection of the aircraft to ensure that no explosive devices had been planted on the plane," the release states. "When the airline refused, the Flight Attendants refused to fly on the aircraft on the basis that doing so might endanger the lives of all of the crew and passengers on board."

The flight attendants have filed a whistleblower complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. As of this writing, I have not seen a United response to the complaint. 

United ended up canceling the flight in July. “The flight attendants did not make a decision that United could not fly the plane,” the attendants’ attorney, David Marshall at Katz, Marshall & Banks LLP in Washington, told Bloomberg in an interview. “They just decided that they were not going to endanger the passengers, themselves, the crew.”

What do you think? Should the flight attendants get their jobs back?