American Airlines is investigating a video of a confrontation between passengers and a flight attendant accused of hitting a mother with a stroller. The airline has temporarily suspended the employee while it looks into the incident.
The video, taken by Surain Adyanthaya, shows the aftermath of a confrontation between a mother and a male flight attendant on American Airlines flight AA591 from San Francisco to Fort Worth, Texas.
The video has been watched more than 554,000 times since being uploaded.
“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 in a Facebook post. “Then he tried to fight a passenger who stood up for her. AA591 from SFO to DFW.”
Flight AA591 from San Francisco to Fort Worth was meant to depart at 1 pm, but according to Flight Aware and Google, it left at 2:18 pm.
The video shows a woman with a baby standing next to two American Airline employees. She is crying and asking for her stroller back. A passenger stands up from his seat and asks, “What’s the guy’s name who did that with the stroller?”
Another woman can be heard saying, “He grabbed the stroller…and wrestled it from her hand.”
When a bald man in a blue shirt enters the plane, the male passenger who is later called Tony by the woman he is sitting next to, says, “Hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat.”
“Hey, you stay out of this,” the flight attendant replies, pointing his finger at the passenger, who makes his way into the aisle.
The two men square up to each other, with the employee saying, “Try it,” and “Hit me. “Come on, bring it on.”
“I’ll knock you out,” Tony says.
“You don’t even know what the story is,” the AA employee says.
WTSP-TV identified the passenger as Tony Fierro from Dallas. “A baby almost got hurt. That’s what just fired me up,” he told WTSP-TV.
It is unclear what happened before the video started, but according to passengers’ accounts, it appears that the man tried to take the woman’s stroller from the overhead storage, perhaps to place it in the hold below. The stroller reportedly hit the woman and came close to hitting her child.
Fox Q13 spoke to a number of passengers on the flight. Olivia Morgan was standing in the doorway when the incident 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, adding that the attendant was “violent” when he took the stroller and almost hit the baby.
According to Morgan, the woman told her a female flight attendant said she could look for a space to store the stroller, but that if there was no room she would have to check it in. The woman was looking for a space when the male flight attendant confronted her.
Tom Watson, who was sitting in the first row after first class, said the woman was sitting near the back of the plane and had brought the stroller down near her seat.
She was approached by a flight attendant who said she wasn’t allowed to take her stroller on board. “She refused to let him take it and she was almost to the point of shouting,” he said.
The attendant and the woman headed to the front of the plane where Watson said she was “holding onto the stroller and refusing to let go.”
When the attendant grabbed the stroller, he hit her on the head with it, according to Watson.
American Airlines released a statement on the video, saying the attendant had been “removed from duty” and the woman was upgraded to first class on another flight.
“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.”
The footage comes in the wake of the outrage over a United Airlines passenger being dragged off a flight.
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