First, it was United Airlines, and now American Airlines could be in real public relations trouble after allegedly assaulting passengers, the latest being a mother and baby. A single heroic church deacon stood up for the frightened mother and her three children. Other passengers also united and made statements against the treatment of a mother and three children.
Already aboard an American Airlines flight, the mother of three was traveling with her 8-year-old daughter and her infant twins. One baby was in a car seat and another in her arms. The mother of three had been told by a female flight attendant that she could bring her collapsible stroller aboard if she could find room for it in a storage compartment, according to the New York Post.
An American Airlines male flight attendant had other ideas. The New York Post quotes an eye witness.
“She was looking for space when the male attendant tried to take it away from her… and she said she told him the other attendant had told her it was OK to look. The flight attendant wrestled the stroller away from the woman, who was sobbing, holding one baby with the second baby in a car seat on the ground next to her.”
Other American Airlines passengers alleged the woman was hit in the head with the stroller by a male flight attendant while she was holding a baby. CBS News quotes one of the several passengers who witnessed the incident.
“He smacked her in the face with the stroller.”
The mother wept and clutched her infant. The Washington Post quotes the sobbing mother.
“You can’t use violence with a baby. Just give me back my stroller, please.”
American Airlines passenger, businessman, and church deacon Tony Fierro said he witnessed a harrowing scene in which a mother of two was allegedly hit in the face with a stroller. The stroller is alleged to have nearly missed the infant in her arms.
Tony Fierro let nearby fellow passengers know he had seen enough violence onboard the American Airlines flight, according to the Washington Post.
“No, I’m not going to sit here and watch this stuff.”
Tony Fierro stepped up to defend the young mother against the American Airlines flight attendant.
“Hey, bud. You do that to me, and I’ll knock you flat.”
The American Airlines male flight attendant responds.
“Hey, you stay out of this! Hit me. Come on, hit me! You don’t know what the story is!”
Tony Fierro, responded to the American Airlines flight attendant.
“I don’t care what the story is. You almost hurt a baby.”
American Airlines released a statement saying that they are “deeply sorry for the pain we have caused.” Still, this is the second incident within a month in which airlines have been accused of excessive force. United Airlines had a passenger, Dr. Dao, who was beaten and bloodied as he was forcibly removed from his flight.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants’ president, Bob Ross, commented tellingly on the American Airlines situation, alluding to the serious legal nature of allegations of “threatening a flight attendant.”
“It appears another passenger may have threatened a flight attendant with violence, which is a violation of federal law and no small matter. Air rage has become a serious issue on our flights.”
American Airlines has apologized, but YouTube footage has spurred the general public to look at the situation. CNN is calling Tony Fierro a hero. Here is a man who stood up for a young mother in the face of what CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos calls the “Hunger Games world of air travel.” Cevallos says Fierro is his hero.
“We now live in an era where another airline felt perfectly comfortable dragging a limp, bloody passenger out of his seat down an aisle, and off the plane — just because some other crew members wanted his seat.”
Tony Fierro alleges he witnessed an American Airlines flight attendant hit a female passenger holding a baby in the head with a stroller. The baby could have easily been injured.
American Airlines is already treading rough PR seas in the wake of United Airlines’ own violence debacle, as CNN’s Danny Cevallos articulately points out.
“No one wants to be the next body hauled unceremoniously off an airplane, with our shirt pulled up over our belly, so when bad things happen to other passengers, most of us just push our earbuds deeper into our ear canals and pretend we didn’t see anything.”
Tony Fierro did not choose to do that on that American Airlines flight, and neither did Surain Adyanthaya, who captured video footage of the incident and shared it on YouTube. One hero stepped in to save the day, despite the risks, while another recorded the altercation for all to see.
RELATED REPORTS FROM THE INQUISITR
Tony Fierro is a graduate of the University of North Texas and the president of K&S Insurance Agency. He is also a deacon at Crosspoint Community Church in Rockwell, Texas. He is also on the board of The Last Well, a nonprofit that provides clean water in Liberia, according to the New York Post.
American Airlines and United Airlines and the entire airline industry are now in the customer relations spotlight following these incidents.
[Featured Image by Alan Diaz/AP Images]