Pilot faulted for remarks on religion

February 10, 2004|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

An American Airlines pilot from the Annapolis area might have violated company policy when he invited passengers to participate in a discussion of Christianity during a flight last week, an airline spokesman said yesterday.

During Flight 34 from Los Angeles to New York on Friday, Capt. Rodger K. Findiesen, who lives near Annapolis, asked Christians on board to raise their hands, according to Tim Wagner, an airline spokesman.

He then suggested they discuss the faith with other passengers during the 4 1/2 -hour flight, Wagner said.

The pilot's behavior falls "somewhere between questionable judgment and inappropriate behavior," Wagner said. Apparently, Findiesen had recently visited a Christian mission in Costa Rica, Wagner said, and wanted to "share his emotions."

The spokesman said the company, which employs 11,000 pilots, has "policies in place that try to ensure that all of our customers feel comfortable when they use American Airlines."

"Obviously, there's a situation here where passengers feel uncomfortable with the pilot's remarks," Wagner said. "All of that will figure into the inquiry."

He said the results of the inquiry would not be made public because it is a personnel matter.

Findiesen answered the door of his Holly Drive home yesterday afternoon but refused to answer questions.

Wagner said the airline learned of the pilot's actions through news accounts from a passenger on the flight. He said American Airlines "sincerely apologizes" if any passengers were offended.

Sun staff writer Molly Knight contributed to this article.

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