American Airlines Suspends An Employee Who Allegedly Hit A Woman With A Stroller

Only a week after a shocking incident with a passenger caused outrage on a United flight, American Airlines is trying to calm a new incident before it becomes out of control. Video posted by fellow passenger Surain Adyanthaya on an American flight from San Francisco to Dallas shows a woman crying after allegedly being hit by a flight attendant with a stroller she had brought on the flight. The video captures the moments after the alleged incident and the confrontation between the employee and another passenger on the flight according to Q13 Fox:

In the video, a male passenger can be heard saying that he’s “not going to sit here and watch this.” The passenger stands up in the aisle and asks the flight crew, “What’s the guy’s name that did that with the stroller, I want to know the guy’s name.”

Moments later, a male flight attendant boards the plane, and the passenger who stood up says to him: “Hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat.”

The flight attendant points his finger back at the passenger, moving toward him as he fires back, “You stay out of this!”

When the passenger jumps out of his seat, the flight attendant holds his hands out and says, “Try it. Hit me. You don’t know what the story is.”

Several witnesses on the flight described the incidents leading up to the confrontation caught on video. Q13 Fox reports that the woman on the video is from Argentina and traveling with her children, managing to bring the stroller onto the plane. The flight attendant attempted to remove the stroller from the plane, which is the point where witnesses say he ended up “striking the woman and nearly hitting her child“:

Olivia Morgan was standing in the doorway of the aircraft with her 8-year-old daughter waiting to board when the altercation happened.

“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,” she said.

Morgan said the flight attendant was “violent” when taking the metal stroller from the woman and nearly hit the baby with the stroller.

“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,” she said.

Other witnesses concur that the flight attendant was acting “aggressively” during the incident, seeming to wrestle with the woman over the stroller before “jerking the stroller from the woman.” According to American’s rules on their official website, strollers must be checked before boarding, with larger strollers checked at the ticket counter and smaller strollers up to 20 lbs checked at the gate. How the woman managed to board the plane with the stroller is still in question, but it is clear the airline disagrees with how the flight attendant handled the situation via their official statement on the incident:

“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. We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident. We are making sure all of her family’s needs are being met while she is in our care. 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.

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.”

There is no shortage of stress for all involved in air travel, but that doesn’t excuse allegedly hitting one passenger and trying to fight another — especially one week after the United fiasco. There has to be a better way to handle things, even when the passenger is breaking the rules.

(Via Jalopnik / Q13 Fox / USA Today / WFAA8 ABC)