American Airlines Ceiling Panel Falls on One Year Old’s Head

A mother and child were seated towards the back of economy in window seat 35L of American Airlines flight AA126 from Hong Kong to Dallas Fort Worth yesterday.

After touchdown 53 minutes early “an entire ceiling panel, including a tank full of oxygen, fell” on the one year old sitting on his mother’s lap. It hit him in the head.

She says that she flagged this for a flight attendant who directed the family to “wait for a gate agent to document the incident” but no one met them at the gate. They waited and waited until the captain came off the plane (who apologized)

They finally went to customer service where they spent an hour and a half. Needless to say the mother is not happy though apparently her child is fine.

American Airlines says “flight attendants offered to request medical personnel meet the aircraft upon arrival at the gate, but that request was declined” and that their “customer relations team is in the process of reaching out to Mrs. Zanone to offer additional support and obtain details of what transpired” in the incident.

The aircraft was repaired and four hours later took off for São Paulo.

(HT: Mommy Points)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You do understand they were seated in American Economy
    This couldn’t have happened in premium first class 😉
    Unfortunately the company left no room between the seats for the workers
    to do be able to fit in the plane to do routine maintenance

  2. That is terrible. As a loyal AA flyer, this actually makes me more glad about that one time my BA pilot came out to check a loose ceiling panel. I thought it was ridiculous he did that, but now I know why it was important.

  3. People complain about anything. How do we know the baby didn’t cause the problem to make the panel fall? You can’t blame AA if the baby caused the problem.

  4. A few months ago when discussing the state of disrepair that might be suggestive of “cutting corners” for the repair & maintanence of aircraft the issue was an abundance of damaged and/or completely dead charging outlets aboard American’s planes…

    …then, a few weeks’ ago it was photos of seats so damaged they lacked backs and were taped off like a crime scene that screamed not just cheap, but DESPERATELY CHEAP…

    …not to mention spoke volumes about just how far this once great, or in fact, best in class, airline has actually fallen under its new management…

    …and now, the state of maintanence and repair from CUTTING CORNERS at AA is so bad that interior ceiling panels are falling off their mounts and crashing onto passengers…


    This downward trajectory of aircraft cabin (dis)repair isn’t exactly comforting…

    …and it brings to mind long gone airlines like ValuJet since even “bad airlines” that failed when we still understood the virtues of competition, for example, Pan Am and Eastern, even at their worst STILL WEREN’T THIS BAD!!!

    But hey, when there’s an oligopoly and no REAL competition to worry about, is it any surprise at all that:

    …electrical/charging outlets/ports are left in a state of disrepair at an airline where the threat of meaningful competition ever emerging is so remote, the CEO even had the chutzpah (hubris?) to declare his airline and its shareholders need NOT worry about losing money ever again?

    …dilapidated aircraft with broken seats and/or unusable seats missing their backs are seen in revenue service?

    …and as if that already is not scary enough, his dilapidated aircraft are in such a bad state of (dis)repair that even ones with interior ceiling panels falling off their mounts are also in service, too?


    Like I said, even Eastern or Pan Am weren’t THIS horrible…yet they failed because there were many other MUCH BETTER airlines than those two iconic names were during their post-deregulation decade of mismanagment during the pre-oligopoly era when “competition” was seen not only as necessary, but as a virtue…in fact, just like LEGACY AMERICAN of that era was…to CHOOSE from!

    Here’s hoping the seemingly worsening progession of recent examples suggestive of excessive “corner cutting” in the repair and maintenance area at AA doesn’t get any worse than what’s been reported over the past few months…weeks…days…coz what’s already been seen ain’t exactly cool at all, and it certainly isn’t what one expects to see from a company that is so wildly profitable that it can afford to shovel billions of dollars into buying back its stock, much less one that bills itself as the world’s largest airline…

    …except of course, once upon a time there was also an airline empire in the USA that in its era billed itself as the then ‘World’s Largest’…

    …and yet, that World’s Largest airline empire was an utter failure, with its CEO ultimately exposed for all of his greed and malfesance he was actually BANNED from running an airline ever again…

    Oh, that’s right, that CEO was the one who took over several airlines, gutted them, stripped out their assets for himself and his financial backers to the point that flyers flew the better options then widely available, while the ones he bought and destroyed (like Dougie is now doing to AA) are long gone…

    …and one of those destroyed airlines is…yep, you gussed it, EASTERN!

    (This destroyer of airlines almost killed off Continental, too…but for Gordon Bethune, that is…)

    …while another airline that claimed to be among the world’s largest was better known in its time for horrific service and crappy planes, too…and what a shock, that airline had NO COMPETITION, TOO!!

    …Aeroflot when the country it is based in was called the USSR (Soviet Union), and the concept of competition itself was not just unwanted as it is now by our oligopolist airlines, it was official state policy to NOT ALLOW competition, too…

    …just like it is in our country now where a government sanctioned oligopoly is only deepening and becoming further entrenched under an administration that favors oligarchs, privilege and kleptocrats over democracy and things that were once considered as American as Baseball and apple pie, like free speech – or of course, free markets and the virtues of COMPETITION…

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