American Airlines reportedly suspends the flight attendant who was involved in the controversial stroller incident. Now, the passenger who was challenged to a fight by the airline’s staff finally speaks out about his thoughts on the controversy.
On Friday night, a shocking video was uploaded on Facebook showing a male American Airlines flight attendant engaged in an ugly confrontation with a passenger challenging him to a fight. In the video, the staff can be seen taunting the male passenger, saying, “C’mon, hit me!”
According to reports, the altercation started when a mother, who was traveling with her two young children, boarded American Airlines Flight 591 at San Francisco International Airport. Apparently, the mother tried to bring a double-wide stroller with her as she made her way down the single-aisle A321. Witnesses claim that the tension began when she tried to store her stroller in an overhead bin.
Surain Adyanthaya, the passenger who recorded and uploaded the clip, stated that the American Airlines flight attendant “violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby.”
In the video, the mother can be seen crying while holding her baby. A female flight attendant was also trying to console the upset mother. At one point, another passenger can be heard saying, “He smacked her in the face with the stroller.”
“He was very upset. He grabbed it and just pulled it off, sort of violently yanked it, and then stormed off the plane with it,” Adyanthaya said.
According to American Airlines, the mother, who was traveling from Argentina, did speak English and allegedly forgot to check in her stroller, thus taking it on the plane with her. However, some claim she possibly didn’t understand when the male flight attendant tried to take her stroller away.
At one point in the clip, a concerned passenger, Tony Fierro, got up and approached the crying mother and other crew members. Seemingly upset, he asked for the American Airlines flight attendant’s name and returned to his seat.
Shortly after, the flight attendant in question emerged on the plane and spoke with the pilot standing by. Fierro took the opportunity and slammed the staff, saying, “Hey, bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat.” Apparently, that did not sit well with the male flight attendant as he evidently became agitated and challenged Fierro. “Try it!” the American Airlines staff taunted.
“Hit me. C’mon, hit me. C’mon, bring it on. You don’t know what the story is.”
Both the pilot and another flight attendant tried to restrain the aggressive employee while the passenger responds, “I don’t care what the story is. You almost hurt a baby!”
Speaking to WFAA-TV, Fierro speaks out about the heated incident and explained why he stepped up and confronted the American Airlines crew. According to him, the situation upset him.
“A baby almost got hurt. That’s what just fired me up, so that was it. I don’t want to make a big deal about it.”
Meanwhile, Adyanthaya said the flight attendant lost his cool during the incident, something that is considered by many as unprofessional.
“He lost his cool. He totally lost his cool. It’s unfortunate, but that’s exactly what happened.”
In an official statement released by American Airlines, the company reiterated that the crew’s action did not reflect their values, especially in customer service. The airline giant also confirmed that an investigation has been launched. In addition, American Airlines also revealed that the mother and her children were upgraded to first class for the remainder of their trip.
“We have seen the video and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts. 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 electing 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 captured 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.”
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]