American Airlines suspended a flight attendant and apologized after video of an altercation between the employee and a sobbing mother surfaced on social media.
Surain Adyanthaya shared video taken during boarding of a flight from San Francisco to Dallas on Friday showing a crying mother holding her baby and a disgruntled passenger who was defending her engaged in a shouting match with a male flight attendant.
“AA Flight attendant violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby,” Adyanthaya wrote.
The video does not show anyone coming to blows or the stroller being taken away but a mother can be seen crying while holding her baby near the door of the plane while speaking to a person who does not appear in the frame.
“Just give me back my stroller please,” she said through tears.
A male passenger near the front of the plane then stood up and demanded the name of the flight attendant who confiscated the stroller.
When the attendant emerged from behind a wall near the front of the plane, the male passenger stood up again and began pointing at the airline employee.
“Hey bud, hey bud. You do that to me, and I’ll knock you flat,” the male passenger said.
The flight attendant then shouted at the passenger to “stay out of it” as the passenger walked down the aisle toward him and the flight attendant encouraged him to “hit me, hit me … bring it on.”
The two continued to shout at each other for a short while, as the mother could still be heard sobbing off-camera before the video ended.
American Airlines released a statement on Friday apologizing to the mother and promising an investigation.
“We have seen the video and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts. What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers,” the airline said. “We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident.”
The airline also said the mother and her family were upgraded to first class following the incident.
“We are making sure all of her family’s needs are being met while she is in our care,” the airline said. “After electing to take another flight, we are taking special care of her and her family and upgrading them to first class for the remainder of their international trip.”
At the end of the statement American Airlines said the flight attendant involved in the altercation had been temporarily suspended while the company’s investigation takes place.
“The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care. In short, we are disappointed by these actions,” the airline said. “The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident.”
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