A row of seats on an American Airlines plane became loose and slid around during a flight, reports the New York Post. The flight departed from Boston on Saturday and made an emergency landing at New York’s J.F.K. shortly after takeoff.
The Post likened the sliding seats, which became completely detached, to a “carnival ride.” Passengers in the tumbling seats were reseated, and no one was injured.
Is this just a freak incident, or a harbinger of more mechanical plane problems to come? The Post offered this disturbing assertion: “Airline insiders are blaming the recent subcontracting of routine maintenance and inspection work for the foul-up.”
Since filing for bankruptcy, American has replaced some crewmembers with subcontractors, and the company has, in recent weeks, been struggling with almost debilitating labor issues. Slate reports that nearly half of American flights have been delayed since mid-September. That’s a huge percentage—and possibly good reason to book away from the carrier. Gary Shteyngart even dubbed American “the world’s worst Airline” in an op-ed in The New York Times.
Many of American’s canceled flights were caused by pilot maintenance write-ups, which are 34 percent higher this month compared to a year ago. It’s clear that the pilots are causing a slowdown because of labor disagreements; the alternative explanation, after all, would be that American’s planes all need maintenance because they’re falling apart—you know, seats becoming unhinged and the like.
Right now, American is unstable, no doubt. But it’s too early to conclude that the airline is an unsafe choice for travelers. Still, the increasing number of maintenance write-ups, be they legitimate or not, along with this recent sliding seat incident, are enough to make a flyer quite uneasy.
Would you feel comfortable flying with American?
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(Photo: Plane Seats via Shutterstock)