VIP Passenger Syndrome

The death of the Polish President and 95 members of his entourage recently on April 10th  in an air-crash has now been speculated, not to be due to pilot error, but to this modern-day syndrome.

Polish President Lech Kazinski - a victim of his own doing?

‘VIP passenger syndrome’ means simply that a very important passenger uses his or her clout to influence the pilot and/or crew to make a bad decision under pressure. Could this also be the real reason for the deaths of Dodi and Diana when their chauffeur could have been persuaded to drive at extreme speeds to avoid the pursuing paparazzi?

In the Polish president’s case, the Telegraph speculated that President  Lech Kaczynski had previously tried to sack a pilot who refused to land a plane for him in dangerous circumstances. In that incident in 2008, the President shouted furiously at a pilot who had disobeyed his order to land his plane in then war-torn Georgia for safety reasons. He later tried to have the pilot removed from his post for insubordination.

The crashed Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft. (Photo: AFP/GETTY)

In last Saturday’s crash, black box recordings have confirmed that the pilot, Arkadiusz Protasiuk, an experienced airman serving with the Polish air force, had ignored warnings to divert to another airport because of heavy fog. It was speculated that the late President may have put some pressure to land as he did not want to miss a ceremony for the 22,000 Poles massacred by Soviet forces in the Second World War and may have urged the air crew to continue trying to land the plane.

I must confess that I have never heard this syndrome before, and it surely ranks as one more of new modernistic terminology describing illnesses of the new millennium!

More examples of VIP Passenger Syndrome: -an Indian leader.

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3 responses

  1. Doc,

    Assuming that it was, indeed, true that the pilot was pressured and relented, it would be difficult to conclusively determine the “truth”.

    Maybe this “VIP Passenger Syndrome” should be renamed as “VIP Syndrome” as it is not confined to only travelling. There are many other instances where VIPs ignore sound advise for “mileage” (whether political or non-political).

    Unfortunately, almost none would ever admit their mistakes. More unfortunate, most would continue defending their decisions even if they were proven “beyond reasonable doubt”. 😉

    Doctor2008: I think I get your drift 🙂

  2. Here’s another example. How many commercial airline flights have been delayed because of a VIP or member of royalty not being able to check in on time?
    Used to be common previously but glad to know its rather rare nowadays.

  3. Dr. Bakar,
    Well written and informative blog you have over at “Doctor 2008”. Enjoyed your post about VIP Passenger syndrome and the quote, “It was speculated that the late President may have put some pressure to land as he did not want to miss a ceremony”. It seems celebrities have a sense of entitlement that they can get their way and bypass normal protocol. I once heard of an executive that would ride across the United States in a limo that would speed at about 100 miles per hour on the interstates to get him to his destinations. Once his driver reached to many tickets he would fire them and hire another one. It’s a sad world.

    David Patterson

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