A video of an altercation between an American Airlines flight attendant and a passenger went viral after the flight attendant reportedly grabbed the passenger’s stroller and nearly hit her baby in the process.
A different passenger approaches and asks the flight attendant’s name, presumably so he could file a complain about the man’s behavior towards the mother.
Nearly two minutes into the video this man has watched all he can as the woman cries. He gets up and intervenes. The flight attendant flails at him and orders “you stay out of this.”
American Airlines suspended the crew member, apologized publicly, and upgrade the woman and her family. Clearly the airline acted quickly to get out ahead of a video that’s spread virally across the world in the 24 hours since the incident.
Via David Koenig Association of Professional Flight Attendants President Bob Ross, representing flight attendants at the airline, put out a statement. And it’s deplorable.
The goal of our 26,000 members is to make every flight safe and secure for our passengers and crew. All passengers deserve to be treated with respect. We also must assure that our Flight Attendants are treated respectfully and safely on board.
Our dedicated Flight Attendants at American strive every day to make the passenger experience the best in the industry. However this has become more challenging due to tight schedules, overcrowded planes, shrinking seats, and limited overhead bin space. All of these factors are related to corporate decisions beyond the control of passengers and Flight Attendants.
There are really two stories here related to the incident aboard a San Francisco to Dallas flight. One, we don’t know all of the facts related to a passenger who became distraught while boarding a plane and therefore neither the company nor the public should rush to judgment.
Second, it appears another passenger may have threatened a Flight Attendant with violence, which is a violation of federal law and no small matter. Air rage has become a serious issue on our flights.
We must obtain the full facts surrounding these incidents. Our passengers and the Flight Attendants deserve nothing less.
The statement begins with the goal of union flight attendants to provide security, and not service. Any frequent flyer will tell you that a flight which begins with an announcement that flight attendants are there ‘primarily for your safety’ is going to be a Very. Long. Flight.
The concern then emphasizes the importance of better treatment for flight attendants, not customers.
The flight attendants union statement fails to even mention the passenger in the video until the 7th sentence — and only then does so in the passive voice describing her as becoming “distraught while boarding a plane” as though it simply ‘happened’ and the flight attendant in the video had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
He says flight attendants try to provide a good passenger experience, but if they don’t it’s the airline’s fault for myriad reasons — so don’t blame a flight attendant, apparently, no matter how a flight attendant treats a customer. Shameful.
In addition to the whole thing really being the airline’s fault, apparently the focus of our anger should be the passenger who tried to stick up for the crying mother because that’s a violation of federal law and air rage — once again turning customer service challenges into law enforcement problems, exactly what precipitated the United Airlines incident where the airline called Chicago Aviation Police who dragged a passenger off a plane and bloodied him.
I can only hope that the elected President of American’s flight attendants doesn’t actually represent their sentiment.
The proper response, it seems to me, is to say that ‘one bad apple’ in no way reflects the dedicated, professionalism, and service that American’s 26,000 flight attendants strive for day and in day out.
But he can’t do that without being seen as weak to his base, so not releasing any statement at all would have better.