Just weeks after United Airlines was forced to perform damage control after a video of a bloodied passenger being forcibly dragged from a seat on an overbooked flight surfaced, it appears American Airlines is next in line with their own public relations nightmare.
American Airlines released a statement on Saturday confirming knowledge of a video showing one of the airline’s flight attendants threatening a passenger with physical violence on Friday. Surain Adyanthaya, a passenger on American Airlines flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas, captured the video and uploaded it to his personal Facebook page.
The clip features a distraught woman discussing her child and stroller with two other flight attendants before showing a heated confrontation between a male passenger and a third, male flight attendant. The male passenger has been identified as Tony Fierro, who told Dallas’ ABC affiliate WFAA the incident started when the male flight attendant nearly struck one of the woman’s children while taking her stroller away from her.
Fierro is seen in the video asking for the male flight attendant’s name before both he and the attendant exchange verbal threats.
"Hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat," Fierro told the attendant. The attendant then pointed at Fierro and said, "You stay out of this." The pair faced off in a bizarre, middle-class Worldstar moment punctuated by the attendant telling Fierro, "Come on. Try it."
According to ABC News, the woman and her children, who were traveling from Argentina, were upgraded to first class. American Airlines apologized in a statement.
"What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers," the statement 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. 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."
American Airlines also suspended the flight attendant involved in the confrontation pending an investigation. "The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident," the airline said in its statement.
As expected, American Airlines has already started trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons:
United: we knocked an asian guy out!— Miss Gongju 🦄 (@MissGongjuHS) April 22, 2017
American Airlines: hold my unicorn frappuccino... pic.twitter.com/eoZpjXk3Ns
American Airlines be like..... pic.twitter.com/agKiWaoQaK— Byron James (@ByronJKnight) April 22, 2017
After United, it is American Airlines.— Abhishek Pratap (@AbhishekPrtp) April 22, 2017
Meanwhile at SouthWest HeadQuaters. pic.twitter.com/oVWFqiArbp
It's definitely been a tough month for the airline industry, and it doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon.