United Airlines’ public image crisis -- replete with scorpions, deserted lovers, emergency landings and a dead rabbit -- grows worse over a month since it forcibly removed a passenger from a flight, prompting outrage far and wide. In fact, recent news concerning the carrier gets downright alarming: According to a report in the Wall St. Journal, cockpit access codes were mistakenly posted online by a United flight attendant.
The access codes, which unlock the doors to the cockpit in commercial aircraft, weren’t stolen as part of a data breach or hack, a pilot with knowledge of the situation confirmed to the paper. Rather, the information was inadvertently revealed, along with other airline intel, in a post on a public website.
The incident occurred over the weekend, and while it didn’t cancel any flights or interrupt air traffic, it did prompt a memo from the airline, which informed pilots “flight deck procedures may have been compromised.” The carrier also issued a statement, writing: “The safety of our customers and crews is our top priority...United utilizes a number of measures to keep our flight decks secure beyond door-access information.” While pilots waited for the airline to issue new codes, they were told to follow “existing procedures requiring them to visually determine the identity of someone before allowing entry into the cockpit,” reports the Journal.
Officials from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) -- the union representing United and several other major carriers -- said on Sunday that the issue had been resolved. Still, the episode is spurring a call for heightened security measures onboard planes. "The installation of secondary barriers on all passenger aircraft is a simple and cost effective way to bolster the last line of flight deck defense," the union said in a statement.