The American Airlines flight attendant involved in Friday’s baby stroller incident is “regretful of how he reacted,” according to the head of the flight attendants union.
“The flight attendant himself is very distraught over how this turned out,” said Bob Ross, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, in an interview Monday. “He wanted to have the opportunity to make it right with this passenger.”
The incident occurred when the flight attendant confronted a female passenger as she attempted to bring her baby stroller aboard the plane for a flight from San Francisco to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. A viral video showed the aftermath of their interaction, where the mother was crying and a male passenger intervened, exchanging heated words with the flight attendant.
Attorney Thomas Demetrio, who is representing the doctor who was dragged off a United Airlines flight earlier this month, told NBC’s “Today” show that he’s also representing the woman, although he did not know if she plans to file suit against American.
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“This is a real, real problem and the mother told me, point blank, her concern was her child who almost got hit by the stroller,” Demetrio said. “The video that we just saw is a microcosm of the entire problem. We’ve got a flight attendant out of control, we’ve got a distressed mother, we’ve got a passenger trying to protect that mother.”
Nobody wants to go to work and end up paparazzi fodder ... end up on the news.
Bob Ross, president, Association of Professional Flight Attendants
American declined to comment beyond its statement on Friday, when the Fort Worth-based carrrier apologized and said the video “does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers.” The airline upgraded the mother and her family to first class for the remainder of their international trip.
The flight attendant, a 16-year veteran based out of Philadelphia, has been suspended with pay as the airline investigates the incident. Ross said the union and the flight attendant, who has not been identified, have not yet scheduled a meeting with management.
“I’m not saying his actions or anyone else’s actions were done in the best way, but I think he’s just like you and I and he’s a very good flight attendant,” Ross said. “Nobody wants to go to work and end up paparazzi fodder ... end up on the news.”
Ross said he does not believe the mother or her child were hit by the stroller during the incident. Demetrio also said that they were not struck during the struggle over the stroller.
The stroller was tagged and intended to be left at the end of the jetbridge, then brought back to the passenger at the end of the flight, Ross said. The situation escalated, although details are still being put together, Ross said.
“I firmly believe the passengers need to be recognized and respected and so do the flight crews,” Ross said. “We are concerned about the passengers and the mother in this case, and equally concerned about our crew members.”
This article includes material from wire service reports.