American Airlines in Trouble: Scary Seats, More Delays, Angry Passengers

UPDATE 10-2-12 From the Allied Pilots Association, the union for American Airlines pilots: “The APA Board has directed the Negotiating Committee to re-engage in negotiations with AMR [parent company of American] management in an effort to achieve our goal of an industry-standard contract. We anticipate that negotiations will resume sometime this week.”

EARLIER American Airlines is having such a rough go of it that it would not be completely out of place to wonder if a plague of locusts was waiting in the wings for the bankrupt carrier.

As it is, there is plenty to worry about at the moment.

American’s Delays: How Bad is It?

Scary Sliding Seats

There are now multiple reports of what appear to be improperly installed seats on some American Boeing 757 planes. One passenger graphically described the problem as a chaotic experience, saying, “The seats flipped backwards and so people were essentially on the laps of the passengers behind them with their legs up in the air.”

A spokesman for American Airlines told FareCompare that an initial internal investigation indicated there may be an issue with certain seats and “how they fit into the tracking used to secure the seats.” The spokesman went on to say that, “Out of an abundance of caution, American has decided to proactively reinspect eight 757s.”

The airline also notes that the seats in question were installed by both American maintenance and contract maintenance, which is an issue for American’s unhappy pilots.

American in Turmoil: A Pilot’s View

Pilots and American’s Ongoing Delays

Union spokesman and current American Airlines pilot Dennis Tajer told FareCompare, “We’ve seen it coming for a while, with management’s barebones cost-cutting measures, laying off thousands of mechanics, outsourcing that work offshore, it’s no surprise to us that maintenance events like this are happening with increasing frequency and are being reported by our pilots in required FAA maintenance write-ups.”

American’s Dimming Reputation

American, meanwhile, has suggested those maintenance write-ups are a big reason for the airlines other, massive problem – excessive delays and cancelations. Thousands of flights have been late over the past few weeks and the airline’s reputation has a big hit. A sampling of recent headlines:

  • Who Wants to Fly American Airlines?
  • Friends Don’t Let Friends Fly American Airlines
  • Is It Safe to Fly American Airlines?
  • We Know Why You Won’t Fly
  • American Disaster Sinks American Airline’s Reputation

To Book or Not to Book Tickets on American

Holiday Season: Will American Come Back?

The airline knows it must fix all these problems before the upcoming holiday season, one of the busiest times of the year for any airline and usually one of the most lucrative periods. Passengers are asking if they should book Thanksgiving or Christmas flights with the troubled airline – FareCompare contacted the carrier to see how holiday bookings were coming along but the airline has not responded.

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Published: October 2, 2012