Just what American Airlines needs now – more bad news. The carrier is already dealing with the fallout from the government’s suit to block its merger with US Airways, and now comes word of a flight attendant-in-training allegedly making bomb threats.
Flight Attendant Trainee Bomb Threats
According to media reports, a 40-year-old male trainee has been charged with making phoned-in bomb threats against United Airlines flights last fall and continuing into 2013. What’s not clear is when the man begin flight attendant training with American but the indictment – and his ouster from American – both occurred in May. He’s expected to plead guilty to charges next week.
The bigger issue of course is how this seemingly questionable character got into the flight attendant program in the first place – especially since his actions landed him on the TSA’s No-Fly list. American has responded that it conducted a vigorous background check – but his addition to the No-Fly list came later. Also, apparently the suspect used a couple of different names. The would-be flight attendant could face up to five years in prison.
Plan B? What Plan B?
Meanwhile, American – and analysts – await the latest developments in a smooth merger process now turned upside-down. As travel analyst Rick Seaney put it, the current state of limbo is likely to “frazzle” employees and management alike: “Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing to the internal workings of even the simplest of companies,” said Seaney, “and airlines are surely among the most complex companies in the world.” Or as the Dallas Morning News suggested while it may be time for Plan B, an attorney for American admitted, “There is no Plan B.” For now, anyway, the carrier will reportedly stick with its current plan to fight for merger approval.