The days of "flying the friendly skies" appear to be long gone, but American Airlines is at least trying to fix the latest flight attendant controversy to go viral.
On Friday, a flight attendant on board American Airlines flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas heatedly scolded a female passenger travelling alone with two children for attempting to store her buggy in an overhead locker, reports ABC News affiliate WFAA in Dallas. When another male passenger came to the mother's defence, the flight attendant then reportedly got physical, threatening the man who had spoken up on the young mother's behalf before a pilot appeared and attempted to calm down the irate flight attendant.
Passenger Surain Adyanthaya caught the whole altercation on a video, which he later posted to Facebook, and American Airlines wasted no time responding. A mere 20 minutes after the plane touched down in Dallas, airline officials had reviewed the footage, grounded the flight attendant involved, and issued an apology.
To airline PR-personnel of the world: This is how you handle your business.
The moment the hullabaloo began was when a flight attendant forcibly took a buggy away from a female passenger, who Adyanthaya told ABC was from Argentina and travelling alone with her two children. The flight attendant allegedly hit the woman with the stroller and barely missed knocking into the infant when a male passenger came to her defence, asking for the flight attendant's name and calling out, "Hey bud, hey bud, you do that to me, and I'll knock you flat!"
While Adyanthaya's nearly three-minute Facebook video does not show the flight attendant actually taking the buggy, it does capture the young woman stuck in the centre of the incident crying and tearfully asking for the buggy back while chaos erupts around her. That was enough for American, who responded by immediate grounding the flight attendant, upgrading the woman and her children to first class, and issuing an apology.
"We have seen the video and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts," the airline said via statement. "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," the statement continued. "In short, we are disappointed by these actions. The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident."
This altercation comes mere weeks after a passenger was forcibly dragged out of a United airplane, another endured in-flight sexual harassment, and a bride and groom were unceremoniously kicked off the flight to their very own wedding. Let the battle of the subtle airline side-eye, begin.