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Coming on the heels of United’s #BumpGate incident and fallout where a paying passenger was dragged off a flight to make room for employees, American Airlines is in the news now as a video has surfaced on social media showing one of the airline’s employees getting in a heated argument with a passenger after allegedly nearly hitting another passenger’s baby with a stroller.

Video of the incident, which occurred prior to take off on American Flight 591 from San Francisco (SFO) to Dallas (DFW), doesn’t show the impetus for the argument but starts with the female passenger crying at the front of the cabin while holding her child as the captain and a flight attendant look on. A male passenger, who appears to have observed the original incident, gets up to demand “the name of the guy who did that with the stroller,” referring to the male employee who had allegedly pulled the stroller away from the woman and who at that moment is not on the plane.

OMG! AA Flight attendant violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby. Then he tried to fight a passenger who stood up for her. AA591 from SFO to DFW.

Posted by Surain Adyanthaya on Friday, April 21, 2017

Later, when the employee returns to the plane, the male passenger gets up again and points aggressively at him, saying “You do that to me and I’ll pop you flat,” to which the employee angrily replies “You stay out of it!” The situation escalates when the passenger gets out of his seat and confronts the employee face-to-face, with the two of them physically threatening each other.  “I’ll knock you silly,” says the passenger as the employee replies, “Bring it on… You don’t know what the story is.”

An airline employee and passenger confront each other before takeoff of AA Flight 591. Image from Facebook video by Surain Adyanthaya.

Eventually the captain and flight attendants push the two men away from each other and the passenger returns to his seat while the employee steps back off the plane. As the video ends, the woman with the baby can still be heard sobbing. According to witnesses, the woman and her family were eventually taken off the plane themselves.

Unlike United’s reaction last week, American immediately announced the employee seen in the video had been “removed from duty” pending an investigation. The airline has issued a statement saying:

“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.”

While American appears to be handling this event quickly, the fact remains that grown adults crying on airplanes should not be a common occurrence. The video clearly shows a highly charged situation, one that the airline’s employee should have attempted to de-escalate rather than make worse.

What are your thoughts on this newest airline incident?

Featured image from Facebook video by Surain Adyanthaya.

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