An American Eagle flight attendant apparently struggled to keep his cool on the tarmac during a five-hour delay earlier this week. Video shot on the plane during the incident caught American Eagle flight attendant Jose Serrano shouting and allegedly behaving in a physically threatening manner. The flight was initially delayed for 40 minutes due to a long line for take-off then when the pilot finally got the go ahead to fly, he had to return to the gate for refueling before it could leave for North Carolina as planned, the New York Post reports. After the alleged incident with Serrano, the flight was eventually canceled. Complaints by passengers at New York’s LaGuardia Airport prompted a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigation.
“If you have balls, this is your time, Serrano stated, according to excerpts from passengers statements republished on The Blaze. “Otherwise you’re going to have to fly with Jose. I don’t care anymore. This is probably my last flight.”
Scott Custer, A military veteran who spent five tours in Afghanistan and Iraq told the New York Post that although he has been in combat, he had never felt anxiety like he did while stuck on the American Eagle plane with the highly agitated flight attendant. Flight 4607 was destined for Raleigh-Durham Airport before experiencing rain delays before take-off. Pandemonium allegedly began to unfold when irritated passengers were told they would be delayed once again because the plane did not have enough fuel. Passengers were escorted from the American Eagle plane while it refueled but the plane still did not taxi down the runway once the passengers were strapped into their seats yet again.
Flight attendant Serrano allegedly “exploded” when confronting disgruntled passengers who expressed their extreme displeasure at being delayed once again. According to statements by passengers republished by the New York Post, Serrano’s breath allegedly smelled of booze. Children on the plane were reportedly scared, some crying because of the flight attendant’s alleged tone and actions.
Port Authority officers who boarded the plane to investigate the incident stated the American Eagle flight was canceled because once Serrano was removed there was no longer the required number of flight attendants to fly. American Eagle maintains the flight to North Carolina was canceled because of strong rain. Airline policy does not reimburse passengers to flights rescheduled due to inclement weather. American Eagle is a regional branch of American Airlines.
American Airlines spokesman Ed Martelle told the New York Post that “officials” determined Serrano was not under the influence of alcohol, but also admitted that the American Eagle flight attendant was not given a breathalyzer. Martelle also stated that Serrano was a six-year employee with an “exemplary” record. According to the American Airlines executive, the problems on the plane were “just kind of a group dynamic that got out of control” and also notes that the situation was so intense that Serrano “began to cry.”