SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — In the wake of the violent removal of a passenger on a United flight, a new video emerged Friday of a confrontation between an American Airlines crew and a mother of two while the plane was boarding at San Francisco International.
In a video and photos posted on Facebook by Surain Adyanthaya, the flight crew confronts a female passenger with two children over her stroller.
It took place as American Airlines flight 591 was on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport preparing for a flight to Dallas.
The woman is seen crying, begging for her child’s stroller. A male passenger jumps to his feet — saying “I’m not going to sit here and watch this happen” — and comes to her defense. When the gate attendant who confronted the woman steps on to the plane, he challenges the man to fight, saying “Hit me. Bring it on.”
The gate attendant tells the man, “You do’t know what the story is.”
“I don’t care what the story is,” replies the passenger. “You almost hurt a baby.”
Then, a flight flight attendant tells the passenger, “It was an accident.”
The woman was eventually removed from the plane.
American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott says the airline is looking into whether the male flight attendant violently took away the stroller from the female passenger just before she boarded the flight. He has been removed from duty in the meantime.
American Airlines issued the following response late Friday:
“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.”
Passengers said the passenger, in this case, was right to defend the woman.
“For him to get involved and advocate on behalf of that passenger, I support him 100%,” said Jaylen Bledsoe.
“”I salute the man,” said Toby Young. “He’s sticking up for a fellow passenger who was obviously in distress and I think that’s what we need to do.”
The passenger-airline employee confrontation comes just weeks after Dr. David Dao was removed from the plane after he refused to give up his seat on the full flight from Chicago to Louisville to make room for four crew members.
In widely distributed cellphone video, Dao can be seen being pulled from his seat and dragged away by airport police officers, his face bloodied.
The incident has become a public-relations nightmare for United and led to the suspension of the three police officers, who work for the Chicago Department of Aviation, which is a city-run agency.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, who issued a public apology two days after first blaming Dao, has said he was “ashamed” when he saw the video. He promised the company will review its policies and that law enforcement will no longer be allowed to remove passengers.
United also announced that passengers on United Express Flight 3411 would be compensated with cash, travel credits or miles in an amount equal to the cost of their tickets.
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