A dispute between a flight attendant and a passenger on a flight leaving San Francisco International Airport Friday and a video related to the dispute prompted quick rebuke by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.
AFA international president Sara Nelson said the video does not represent the work flight attendants do to de-escalate disputes and ensure safe departures each day.
“I am deeply concerned with the fallout of this video pitting passengers against crew who care for them, advocate for them and keep people safe,” Nelson said.
“Today, flight attendants also serve as the last line of defense in aviation security. It is critically important for our security in a post-9/11 world that we keep calm and recognize out mutual interest in maintaining procedures that keep us safe.”
The dispute took place onboard Flight 591, which was scheduled to leave San Francisco International Airport at 1:01 p.m. for Dallas/Ft. Worth.
American Airlines’ spokeswoman Leslie Scott would only say the dispute was over a baby stroller.
But AFA officials said a passenger tried to bring a stroller onboard and there was a conversation about the need to take it out of the cabin and store it in another part of the plane.
The video can be seen in a Facebook post by Surain Adyanthaya, and it has about 3.3 million views.
The post includes a statement by Adyanthaya, who alleged the flight attendant took the stroller violently from the passenger, hitting her in the process.
The video does not show that, but rather a flight attendant and another passenger having an argument about how the attendant treated the passenger with the stroller.
Officials with American Airlines apologized for the actions of a flight attendant.
“We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident,” a statement by the officials said.
The flight attendant involved in the argument has been removed from duty as American Airlines’ officials investigate, according to American Airlines officials.
The officials said they have seen the video and have started an investigation to gather the facts about the dispute.
“The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care,” the company wrote in a statement.
“In short, we are disappointed by these actions.”
American Airlines officials said the family’s needs are being taken care of by the company, and that the family decided to take a different flight. They will be traveling in first class during the remainder of their international trip.