American Airlines issued an apology to a female passenger following the release of a video that shows an airline employee in a heated exchange with a passenger after he allegedly grabbed a stroller from a mother in a “sort of violent” manner, according to the man who filmed it.
The video, which was posted to Facebook on Friday by Surain Adyanthaya, shows a passenger looking upset as she holds her child after an attendant took her stroller on a flight that was set to travel from San Francisco to Dallas.
Adyanthaya said he saw the stroller being taken away from the mother “sort of violently” and began taking a video on his cellphone.
“He was very upset,” Adyanthaya said of the flight attendant to WTSP.
“He grabbed it and just pulled it off, sort of violently yanked it and then stormed off the plane with it.”
The video shows the mother and her child crying and speaking to American Airlines staff while the attendant in question is out of the frame.
A male passenger can then be seeing standing up from his seat and asking, “What’s the guy’s name that did that with the stroller? I want to know the guy’s name that did that with the stroller.”
He then asked if the man was an American Airlines employee before he sat down again.
Some time later, the attendant could be seen coming back on the plane and being confronted by the passenger who stood up.
“Hey bud, hey bud – you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat,” he said, pointing at the attendant.
“You stay out of this,” the attendant responded, pointing back at the passenger.
The passenger then stepped out of his seat once again and approached the attendant, confronting him directly.
“Hit me – come on – hit me,” the attendant could be heard saying on the video.
“You don’t know what the story is,” the attendant said later.
“I don’t care what the story is, you almost hurt a baby,” the passenger responded.
Dallas resident and passenger Tony Fierro told WTSP that he felt fired up on the flight because a “baby almost got hurt.”
“So that was it. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it,” he said.
Dallas-based ABC affiliate WFAA reported that passengers said the mother hailed from Argentina and may not have understood what was happening when her stroller was taken away, according to KGO, a San Francisco-based ABC affiliate.
American Airlines said it has commenced an investigation in a statement provided to Global News,
“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 (she) elected 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 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 airline issued another statement early Saturday morning apologizing to the woman.
“We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident,” the airline said.
The woman elected to take another flight and was upgraded to first class, the airline said.
The incident comes 11 days after United Airlines passenger David Dao was dragged off a flight heading from Chicago to Louisville, Ky. after he refused to give up his seat.
Dao’s lawyer Thomas Demetrio later said he would probably sue the airline after the incident.
— With file from Reuters