A video posted to Facebook on Friday by Surain Adyanthaya -- a passenger onboard American Airlines flight 591, from San Francisco to Dallas -- shows an intense confrontation between a flight attendant and at least two passengers at the front of the aircraft while it is still on the tarmac in San Francisco.
The heated moment began when a flight attendant took away a stroller from a female passenger, Adyanthaya told ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas, which reported that the woman was from Argentina and traveling with her two children.
The nearly three-minute video starts with the woman crying and asking the flight attendant to give her back the stroller.
The incident appears to escalate when a male passenger comes to the woman's defense, saying to the flight attendant, "Hey bud, hey bud, you do that to me and I'll knock you flat!"
The flight attendant, who is visibly angry, points his finger at the passenger and says, "Hey, you stay out of this!"
A pilot appears to attempt to calm down the flight attendant.
During the entire video, the female passenger continues to be heard crying.
American Airlines responded publicly to the incident shortly after the video began to circulate online, announcing in a statement that the flight attendant had been put on leave while the incident was investigated and that the woman and her family were upgraded to first-class for the remainder of their international trip.
An American Airlines spokesperson told ABC News that the woman passenger brought a double-wide stroller onto a single-aisle plane.
The airlines’ rules for passengers traveling with children say strollers should be checked at the gate.
The airline spokesperson told ABC News that when the passenger tried to jam the stroller down the plane aisle, a flight attendant tried to tell her she needed to gate-check it. The woman began to cry, after which another passenger got involved, and the situation escalated from there, according to the airline spokesperson.
The spokesperson said the flight attendant should not have become confrontational with any passenger.
American Airlines in its statement said, "What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers. 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 statement continued, "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 American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident."
|An American Airlines jet. (Alan Diaz/Associated Press)|
American Airlines Flight Attendant Suspended After Video Shows Confrontation
American Airlines is investigating an incident captured on video showing an argument that broke out after a male flight attendant reportedly hit a female passenger with a stroller while she was holding her baby.
The incident occurred Friday on Flight 591 from San Francisco, California, to Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas.
In the two-and-a-half minute video uploaded to Facebook by another passenger, Surain Adyanthaya, a woman is seen sobbing while carrying a baby and pleading an airline employee for her stroller back.
"You can't use violence with a baby," the woman says. "Just please give me my stroller back."
Two American Airlines employees are consoling the woman when, seconds later, a male passenger stands up and demands the name of the person who "did that with the stroller."
"I'm not going to sit here and watch this," he says in the video. "What's that guy's name that did that with the stroller, I want to know who did that with the stroller."
A tense confrontation between the male passenger and a flight attendant then breaks out.
"You do that to me and I'll knock you flat," the passenger says, with the attendant telling the passenger to "stay out of this."
Seconds later, the passenger steps into the middle of the aisle and the attendant urges "Come, hit me."
Spokesperson Leslie Scott said American Airlines' policy allows each customer to bring one stroller under 20 pounds onto the plane. Any stroller that is larger must be checked at the ticket counter.
Scott said the woman was advised that the stroller needed to be checked at the gate. The woman had twins, Scott said, and may have brought a double stroller onto the plane.
Scott was unable to confirm whether a crew member hit the woman.
"We are often right in the middle of those conflicts because we are trying to manage them and deescalate them from becoming a bigger problem," said Sara Nelson, head of the nation's largest flight attendant union, which does not represent American Airlines.
In a statement released Saturday morning, the company said the employee has been removed while an investigation is undertaken. The woman and her family chose to take a different flight and were upgraded to first class for the remainder of their international trip, 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 statement read. "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."
Another passenger, Olivia Morgan, witnessed the events unfold as she was about to board the plane with her 8-year-old daughter. The two saw the flight attendant violently yanking the stroller out of the woman's hands and nearly hitting the baby.
"He is clearly like enraged and nearly hits the baby in the head, which is the like the shocking part of it," said the 44-year-old from San Francisco, California, adding that the crew member placed the stroller in an area where bags were being gate checked.
Morgan said she informed the flight attendant that he nearly hit a baby, and he violently yelled at her in response. After taking her seat, Morgan said she walked to the front of the plane to comfort the women with the children, whose hands were visibly shaking.
"Why would you ever be violent with a passenger let alone a passenger that's holding a baby?" Morgan said.
The flight was grounded for an hour after the incident, Morgan said, and the crew did not acknowledge that a crew member was involved in the issue.
The video comes nearly two weeks after a clip spread through social media showing a United Airlines passenger, David Dao, being dragged off a flight bloody for refusing to exit a packed flight. Three days after the video surfaced, the man's lawyers said he suffered a "significant concussion" and a broken nose, along with losing two front teeth.
‘Come on, hit me!’ American Airlines grounds flight attendant after video shows confrontation.
American Airlines is investigating an incident in which a male flight attendant reportedly upset a female passenger to the point of tears, then later was recorded getting into a heated confrontation with a male passenger who tried to come to the woman’s defense.
“We have seen the video and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts,” American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott said in an email to The Washington Post on Saturday. “What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers.”
The video in question was recorded by another passenger, Surain Adyanthaya, who uploaded the video to Facebook late Friday afternoon. The airline confirmed there was an incident Friday on Flight 591, from San Francisco International Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
“OMG! 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 on Facebook. “Then he tried to fight a passenger who stood up for her.”
The video does not depict the stroller incident that Adyanthaya described, but it does show a female passenger standing at the front of the plane, sobbing uncontrollably as she holds a baby in a pink outfit. Beside her, a pilot stands mostly silent.
“You can’t use violence with baby,” the female passenger says, through tears, toward the plane door where some passengers can still be seen boarding. “Just give me back my stroller, please.”
At first, the male flight attendant in question does not appear in the frame. In the meantime, a male passenger seated near the front of the plane can be heard getting flustered.
“No, I’m not going to sit here and watch this stuff,” the male passenger says. He then gets out of his seat and demands to know the male flight attendant’s name.
As this takes place, other passengers can be heard discussing in low voices what they just witnessed.
Moments later, the male flight attendant returns to the plane.
“Hey, bud,” the male passenger who had gotten out of his seat earlier calls out, while pointing at the male flight attendant. “You do that to me, and I’ll knock you flat.”
“Hey, you stay out of this!” the flight attendant yells back, pointing his finger back at the male passenger.
The flight attendant takes a step forward and the male passenger leaps into the aisle. The passenger with the baby can be seen ducking out of the way, shielding her baby’s head. As the men’s argument escalates, it appears that the confrontation could become physical.
“Hit me,” the flight attendant urges, motioning with his hands. “Come on, hit me!”
“Tony, sit down,” a woman can be heard calling out to the male passenger.
“You don’t know what the story is!” the flight attendant says to the passenger.
“I don’t care what the story is,” the male passenger replies. “You almost hurt a baby.”
Another passenger on the flight, Olivia Morgan, told Tribune Media that she was waiting to board the plane with her child when she witnessed the flight attendant take a baby stroller away from the woman in a “violent” manner, nearly hitting the baby.
“The flight attendant wrestled the stroller away from the woman, who was sobbing, holding one baby, with the second baby in a car seat on the ground next to her,” Morgan told the news group. “He stormed by me with the stroller and I said something like, ‘What are you doing? You almost hit that baby!’ And he yelled at me to ‘stay out of it!’ just like he does in the video.”
American Airlines said the male flight attendant in the video would not be flying while the 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,” Scott, the airline spokeswoman, said in a statement. “In short, we are disappointed by these actions. The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident.”
Scott said the female passenger and her children ended up choosing to take another flight and were upgraded to first class for the remainder of their international trip.
“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 said in a statement. “We are making sure all of her family’s needs are being met while she is in our care.”
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines flight attendants, released a statement Saturday cautioning the airline and the public not to rush to judgment before they could ascertain “all of the facts related to a passenger who became distraught while boarding a plane.”
Bob Ross, the association’s president, also noted in the statement that “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.”
The recorded confrontation aboard the American Airlines flight comes not long after viral videos captured a passenger being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight earlier this month. The incident caused a public-relations crisis for United, which initially defended itself by stating that the passenger, David Dao, had “refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily.”
United chief executive Oscar Munoz, who in March received the 2017 Communicator of the Year award from PRWeek magazine, was blasted for his subsequent tone-deaf statement, in which he apologized “for having to re-accommodate these customers.” Though Munoz would eventually issue a deeper apology two days later, by then the damage to the airline’s brand was palpable. United stock prices had fallen and the incident had made the airline the butt of numerous memes online.
The incident prompted United to change its policies regarding bumped passengers, requiring airline crews to check in at least an hour before a flight’s departure. Two other major national airlines also announced changes: Delta Air Lines said it would offer passengers up to $9,950 to give up their seats on overbooked flights, The Post’s Luz Lazo reported. American Airlines stated it had updated its passenger conditions of carriage to specify they would “not involuntarily remove a revenue passenger, who has already boarded.”
This post has been updated.