Not long after the April 9 incident on United Airlines, in which a passenger was dragged off a plane by security muscle, American Airlines played host to a passenger debacle. And, of course, it went viral.
A passenger accused a flight attendant of “violently” taking a stroller away from a mother traveling with children, and he shared video on Facebook of the aftermath: the woman crying and the steward and a male passenger daring each other to strike the first blow.
It would seem to be naive to expect civility in the friendly skies these days. But this time, this airline seems to be handling the matter well.
American’s response has been to accept that something went wrong and try to make it right. The airline put the mother on another flight and gave her an upgrade to first class.
It publicly apologized. And it suspended the flight attendant and began an investigation.
That investigation may yet show, as some reports posted online indicate, that it was actually the mother who caused the problem. It may condemn the worker.
For the record, there’s no injustice in saying strollers can’t be carried on airplanes; airlines have to figure out what can and can’t fit safely in the cabin.
It would be unreasonable to expect any airline to promise that no flight attendant will ever mistreat a passenger. What is reasonable to expect is that airlines (indeed all corporations and all individuals in positions of power) take responsibility when they fail. American handled its incident the right way.