United Airlines restores liquor sales in coach on flights where it isn’t already offered effective November 15. They emphasize they’ve had fewer inflight incidents than certain other airlines (cough).
On Wednesday’s American Airlines New York JFK – Orange County flight (AA976) a 3-cabin first class pasenger got into an altercation with a flight attendant over a mask. This led to the passenger assaulting the crewmember and the flight diverted to Denver.
One witness claimed the flight attendant had “blood splattered on the outside of her mask” after being struck in the face…”She was bleeding so they took her to the hospital,” another witness told the station. The suspect was seen in an online photo in handcuffs at the Denver airport.
Why is it that so many passenger incidents – this one seemingly worse than most – seem to occur on American Airlines? They’re much larger than Spirit, to be sure, carrying far more passengers. But why do they have more inflight crazy than Delta, United and Southwest? I don’t know. There are several hypotheses I’ve entertained that don’t quite fit perfectly.
- Seat back video screens are the opium of the masses. American has removed screens, while Delta doubled down on them. But United doesn’t have them consistently across its fleet, though they’re adding them. And Southwest doesn’t have them.
- Other crew are friendlier, and keep tensions down. To be sure Delta cabin crew are friendlier on average, and Southwest crew seem to be having fun. Perhaps the most famous (biting) incident happened on Southwest, and United flight attendants are almost as much of a mixed bag (some great, some…not) as American’s.
MORE: I confirmed the man was cited for … get this … public intoxication. This is one of 3 videos shared with me from passenger Dennis Busch. This clip shows the man growling at the flight crew. @KUTV2News pic.twitter.com/aR5AGNMxTN
— Jeremy Harris (@JeremyHarrisTV) September 7, 2021
- Low fares American has carried more passengers and been willing to fill planes at lower fares than their legacy counterparts. Does this attract a ‘Spirit crowd’ more likely to cause problems in the air? A year ago American’s CEO Doug Parker told employees that the people they’ve been flying are “somewhat different from our normal clientele.” Then he backtracks a bit, “we love all our customers of course!”
Yet the Department of Justice’s theory in suing to stop American and JetBlue from partnering is that American will undermine JetBlue as a low fare carrier. And JetBlue doesn’t seem to have similar levels of crazy.
- The Miami hub Many incidents seem to center on South Florida, whether Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale) or American (Miami). Every urban legend happens in either Germany or Florida. Could it be the location of their hubs drawing passengers from those regions most likely to cause issues? Except strip out Florida and American still seems to be something of an outlier.
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) August 28, 2021
None of these theories quite works, so why is it that American Airlines seems to have an outsized proportion of passengers causing problems on planes?
I’m not sure why American has more, but perhaps the reason United has fewer is that having gone through the David Dao incident their new procedures and trainings better prepared them for the pandemic era.