The Association of Professional Flight Attendants president, Bob Ross has come to the defense of the airline attendant who had an ugly confrontation with a mother over a baby’s stroller on a flight that was headed from San Francisco, California to Dallas, Texas. Ross said the altercation was a result of factors that were beyond the control of the flight attendant. This included reduced overhead bin space, shrinking seats, overcrowded planes and tight schedules.
“All of these factors are related to corporate decisions beyond the control of passengers and flight attendants,” Ross said.
Ross’ statement comes after American Airlines suspended the attendant as it pursued investigations on the incident which was started by a disagreement over whether the mother was allowed to have a stroller on the flight. The altercation which resulted was captured on video by Surain Adyanthaya who posted it online.
In the video, the flight attendant is caught engaging another passenger, Tony Fierro, in a heated argument. The passenger, an insurance agency executive, had risen from his seat to protest the actions of the flight attendant. But after registering his displeasure, the flight attendant ordered Fierro to mind his business and this seemed to anger Fierro who rose from him seat as the two men almost came to blows. It was at this point that the flight attendant dared Fierro to hit him since he didn’t have the context of the altercation. Fierro then said the context didn’t matter since the flight attendant had almost hit a baby.
In an interview with New York Times, another passenger, Olivia Morgan, also disclosed that she had raised concerns over how the flight attendant had treated the mother but the attendant had warned her to stay out it. Morgan also revealed that the attendant had wrestled the baby stroller forcefully away from the hands of the mother who had been pushed to the point of tears.
On her part the mother revealed that she had been given the go-ahead by another flight attendant to only check the stroller if she couldn’t manage to find space for it. Immediately the matter came to the attention of the public, American Airlines acted swiftly to issue a statement castigating the actions of the flight attendant. In the statement, the carrier said that the attendant’s actions lacked empathy or patience. The carrier also announced that for the remainder of her international trip, the affected mother and her family would be upgraded to first class.