Last week I blogged about an alleged altercation between an AA FA and and a First Class passenger on a flight from Sacramento to Dallas in which the FA accused the passenger of "threatening, intimidating, and interfering with a crewmember" after he asked for a glass of orange juice.
I thought the story sounded plausible, but I was happy to see the [ostensible] passenger involved in the incident provide further details on Heather Poole’s galding.com blog. Among other things, the passenger stated:
Every single passenger in my row as well as in the row behind me (thus, the only passengers that could see what transpired) all walked off the plane with me in unison when I was told that I’d have to meet with an AA representative at the arrival gate. At least two of them without my even asking volunteered to be witnesses for me.
All 6+ of these passengers/witnesses not only passionately defended me to the AA rep. at the gate, but all of them stayed to talk with her for at least 30 minutes. Most of them had either connecting flights or important places to go.
Not only has AA already called me to profusely apologize, but they have called other passengers on that flight as well to apologize.
I wanted to have this incident quickly fade away, and I diligently avoided engaging this flight attendant for the rest of the trip. The incident itself was not all that eventful. What was disturbing was that the flight attendant spent the rest of the flight attempting to get other passengers to testify for her regarding what had happened. As each passenger in my section individually told her that they disagreed with her version of the incident, the flight attendant progressively grew angrier and more determined to turn a "molehill into a mountain".
I still am still shocked by this story. It sounds like AA is making amends, though, and for that I commend them. As Josh points out, however, AA could really capitalize on this incident and come out ahead in the spin department. Every FA has a bad day now and then, but unjustly threatening passengers is not acceptable under any circumstances. An authoritative statement from AA saying something similar would torpedo this potential PR nightmare.