Union Defends Flight Attendant Accused of Violently Grabbing Stroller from Mother
The head of the union that represents flight attendants is defending the American Airlines attendant involved in the latest airline incident, who's accused of violently grabbing a stroller from a mother, almost hitting her baby in the process. The woman, who also had another baby with her, had forgotten she had to check the stroller.
Video taken by a passenger on the Dallas-bound flight in San Francisco Friday starts after the stroller was grabbed away, and shows the mother holding her baby and crying at the front of the plane. Another passenger, Tony Fierro, comes to her aid and tells the flight attendant, "You do that to me and I’ll knock you flat." When the attendant tells Fierro to stay out of it, he gets out of his seat and confronts the worker, who says, "Hit me, come on and hit me." The attendant says to Fierro, "You don't know the story, and he answers "I don't care what the story is, you almost hurt a baby."
American Airlines quickly issued a statement saying it had removed the flight attendant from duty and begun an investigation, saying, "The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care."
But Bob Ross, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, released a statement Saturday saying that there shouldn't be what he called a "rush to judgment" because we still don't know all of the facts of what happened involving the passenger. Ross said that it's Fierro who in fact may be in the wrong, stating, "It appears another passenger may have threatened a Flight Attendant with violence, which is a violation of federal law and no small matter."
The statement also is critical of the state of air travel, saying, "Our dedicated Flight Attendants at American strive every day to make the passenger experience the best in the industry. However this has become more challenging due to tight schedules, overcrowded planes, shrinking seats, and limited overhead bin space. All of these factors are related to corporate decisions beyond the control of passengers and Flight Attendants."