American Airlines crew headed to the airport for Tuesday’s 5:20 a.m. flight American Airlines 1204 from San Jose, Costa Rica to Miami were robbed when their hotel van stopped after hitting an object in the road.
Crew left their hotel in early darkness. The van stopped in the road and the driver got out to clear debris from under the vehicle. One man got into the drivers seat with a knife, another opened the van’s sliding door and brandished a gun. He threatened crew with the firearm and demanded their electronics.
American Airlines told me they “acted quickly to implement enhanced measures to ensure the safety of our team members.” According to the American Airlines flight attendants union, American is insisting on less obviously-marked transport and an alternate route to and from the airport.
After a preliminary investigation by SJO station leadership, Corporate Security, local authorities, and other security partners, there is no evidence that the perpetrators deliberately targeted American Airlines Flight Attendants.
As a precaution, crew transport to and from the airport will be conducted through unmarked or discreetly marked vans. Additionally, vans will begin using an alternate route.
I have no doubt that American Airlines flight crew weren’t specifically targeted by the perpetrators. It was certainly enough that they were Americans traveling in a group. It seems more likely than not that the van driver was involved and the incident wasn’t entirely random (that this wasn’t just the first car to come along, and the criminals hit the jackpot with a group of Americans).
As a general matter I do not name crew layover hotels. Given this concern though if you’re planning a stay within 10 miles of the San Jose, Costa Rica airport you can contact me and I’ll let you know whether your planned stay is at the same property this crew was traveling from.