13 United Airlines crew members, each with at least 18 years experience of flying, got fired on July 14 for insubordination when they refused to fly on a plane with an ominous message written on the tail.
The words “BYE BYE” along with a a smiling and a devilish face were scrawled on the tail of the 747-400 aircraft bound for Hong Kong from San Francisco.
Now, according to Reuters, the crew is suing the airline because there is a law that prevents an airline from seeking punishment on its employees if they raise questions of safety or security.
They are asking for their jobs back and to receive compensation.
The pilot, mechanics and security all said that the plane was safe despite the message, but the crew still refused to fly, causing the flight to be delayed and eventually canceled.
The ex-crew members told the court that they would still fly if the more than 300 passengers were taken off of the plane and the plane was screened for explosives, but United Airlines refused to do so and perform the security inspection.
They also said that the images and words might have been drawn on the fuselage at the plane’s previous stop in Seoul, South Korea, meaning the airline did not perform a thorough security sweep prior to takeoff there.
This incident happened in the wake of the Transportation Security Administration announcing it would be implementing stricter security measures because of a phone and laptop bomb warning, so the flight crew had a right to be concerned.