American Airlines is “sorry” about the flight attendant who had a psychotic breakdown – but is it sorry enough?

By | February 3rd, 2015

For Emma Basch and her family, a recent commuter flight from Washington to New York was a pure nightmare from start to finish.

The incident took place on American Eagle flight 3432 on Nov. 30, and she’s been trying to persuade the airline to address the events ever since then, but with limited success. Basch, her husband and toddler, had an unpleasant encounter with a flight attendant who met them as they were trying to board.

“He immediately began screaming at my husband that he was going to have him escorted off the flight,” she remembers. “We didn’t know what was going on, but eventually we figured out that the flight attendant thought my husband was someone else who had apparently tried to bring a large bag on the plane.”

Problem solved? Not really. Instead of backing down, the crewmember went ballistic, she says.

“He began to yell again at my husband so aggressively that our baby began to cry,” she says.

Basch tried to intervene.

He said to us, “I’m having an episode and I can’t deal with people.”

He yelled at several more passengers and then loudly told the other flight attendant that he was “having an episode like I did last week.”

He then came over to “apologize” to me and a few other passengers. He repeatedly said “I have something mental inside me that makes me have episodes like this when I feel stressed. When we land, I’m telling them I’m not flying again.”

He also said on multiple occasions, “I can’t deal with stress,” and “I’m having another episode.”

When we got off the flight, we spoke to the pilot, who said the attendant “will never be flying with us again.”

After that, Basch and her husband wrote to American to complain. It was one of those “concerned passenger” grievances, with no specific remedy suggested. They left it to the airline to do the right thing.

Related story:   Does flying poodle deserve a straight answer about his carrier?

American replied promptly, noting in an email that “our customers should always experience polite and diplomatic service from our employees, regardless of the circumstances.”

It continues,

When hiring employees who will serve our customers, we work hard to find those applicants who demonstrate a friendly and service-driven attitude. Our training programs emphasize to all our employees, new and experienced alike, the importance of an individualized, caring, and professional approach — even in the face of unique situations that only an airline might encounter.


In light of your comments, we’ve shared the details of your experience with the appropriate Manager in our American Eagle Flight Services Department for internal review and counseling purposes. You may be certain that your feedback has been used constructively.

Basch pushed her case with American, reaching a supervisor by phone. In light of what they’d been subjected to, shouldn’t the airline do more than apologize?

Finally, it yielded the following written answer:

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about your experience. When we spoke, I had hoped we could resolve the matter at hand. So, I am especially disappointed that we weren’t able to do so.

We want our customers to have positive experiences when traveling with us, and we are very sorry that this was not your experience.

We have thoroughly reviewed your perspective concerning this issue, and we can understand your perseverance in this matter.

We try to avoid disagreements and do our best to clearly explain our position. When applicable, we will offer a gesture of goodwill. Still, we have a responsibility to decline compensation requests when we feel it is not appropriate.

Let me assure you that our position does not lessen our regard for you as our customer. It is always our pleasure to serve you, and we are eager to do so again soon. Please give us another opportunity to earn your business.

So what, exactly, does Basch want?

For starters, she wants “concrete” assurances that the flight attendant has been dealt with.

“I feel they have not given us any clear sense of what they are doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again, particularly since it seems as though they knew this flight attendant was emotionally unfit and let him fly anyway,” she says.

“Secondly, we are looking for some form of compensation,” she says. A refund or mileage credit would be acceptable to her family.

“We have been loyal American Airlines customers for years. Both my husband and I have American credit cards, and fly American almost exclusively and are deeply disappointed at how they let us down here,” she says. “The whole situation was very scary and unsettling and made us feel incredibly unsafe.”

Of course, we don’t have the flight attendant’s side of this confrontation. But her experience raises a question: What kind of compensation — if any — is a passenger entitled to when a crewmember goes off the rails, as this one is alleged to have done?

Should they refund the ticket? Throw them a few miles? Credit them with a few frequent flier miles?

Did American Airlines offer Emma Basch enough compensation?

View Results

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  • Bill___A

    I think that the employee in question should not be allowed to fly again as an employee at least and that no other compensation should be required. It is an unfortunate incident and American should undoubtedly review their policies, this should not have happened.

  • DavidYoung2

    Wait, the OP is a ‘trained psychologist’ and yet lacks any sort of compassion for what even from a layman’s perspective appears to be a mental breakdown. Trained to do what, go for the cash!

    The FA was not physically abusive and was clearly having a breakdown. He recognized it, explained it to the passengers affected and apologized. I feel sorry for him and hope he gets treatment.

    Assuming this is a medical condition, mental or physical (and the FA even said it was), the airline must do it’s best to ‘accommodate’ the FA. That’s the law and the OP should know that, being a ‘trained psychologist and all. It’s called the ADA.

    Second, company interactions with an employee when a medical issue is involved is strictly private. There’s no possible way American or American Eagle is going to disclose anything related to an employee’s medical condition or their interactions in this matter to some passenger. Again, a ‘trained psychologist’ should know that.

    So some FA is having a bipolar or manic episode, or some other medical issue that makes the OP’s baby cry, and now she wants some cold, hard cash? How about the OP handing out a little compassion instead? Really, what kind of ‘trained psychologist’ wants cash because she witnessed a medical episode for which she is supposedly trained?

    The people on this site, including Chris, are always berating the airlines to show a little compassion towards passengers, like when a passenger has a medical issue that impacts their flight. Where’s the reciprocity?

    I hope the FA gets better. I thing the OP should get nothing (well, a little shaming here, but as a ‘trained psychologist,’ she knows how to deal with it.)

  • Michael

    Thank you, DavidYoung2. This once again highlights the fact that we are all human beings, not robots. It’s almost a daily occurrence on the news of “normal” people “flying off the handle”. Mental illness is real, and having to fear losing your job doesn’t make anyone want to face the issue. Now this former employee is faced with having to handle his problem with no income and most likely no insurance. Chris should do a story from the other perspective. It’s clear the attendant needs help… firing, berating and shaming him probably aren’t the help he needs. Until we live in a world in which we never deal with humans, only ATM’s, this kind of thing will happen. And the passenger, also a trained psychologist should be happy they do, otherwise he’d be out of a job too.

  • taxed2themax

    I would not ask for, not expect any concrete answers from AEFS with respect to any action they took with regard to that employee. I suspect that this matter most likely has a, or will have, medical angle to it.. That’s confidential material and should not be released to outside parties — passenger included – without proper authorization or court order. The FA is not a key employee therefore there is no need to make an SEC regulatory filing (as a company might have to make for situations involving major executives)
    To that end, I agree with AEFS not disclosing anything specific.

    Yes, I get it.. We all want to hear “Yes, we fired here… threw her out of the office” .. it feels good.. it’s vindication.. but.. when it comes to employee-employer matters, largely that customer isn’t a direct player in that relationship and therefore should not be privy to what actions they took or didn’t take… and that’s doubly so for case that *may* or *do* have a medical angle, as that will be covered by a number of laws, many Federal, but also State-level depending on locale.

    Compensation? I think it’s due… but.. I think one problem here is that the OP didn’t say what they expect… and as such, AA has taken that absence of specificity and filled it in as *they* (AA) see it.. I think, in most cases, you are best served by saying exactly what you expect and justification for such.

    If you essentially say “up to you”, then to me, you’ve kind of left open the door that the other party says “ok, up to me means zero”

  • sirwired

    Well, there’s no sense she’s actually TOLD AA what she wants, at least money-wise. Perhaps AA is under the impression she isn’t asking for credits or a refund.

    As far as to how the situation was “dealt with”? No, you are Not Ever going to find out about internal personnel actions, especially if the employee has been diagnosed with mental illness.

    Lastly, assuming the employee has as psychiatric illness, why would the OP be due anything monetary? Would you demand compensation if an employee developed unexpected low blood sugar? Fainted due to a undiagnosed heart arrhythmia? Yes, if this was a continuous, ongoing problem we would have expected AA to do something by now. But all we know is that it happened one time before; hardly grounds for firing an employee.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    Compensation doesn’t have to be cash. Send Baush a nice personal letter.
    They can’t say they sack the employee, especially in the land where the dodgy lawyer is king.

  • Brooklyn

    Just the other day, Comcast had no trouble telling the outraged customer that the guilty employee had been fired, so I see no reason for AA not to do it. Sympathy for mental illness is one thing, but allowing someone who’s given to uncontrolled rages to fly a second time – and he did mention that this was not his first such episode – raises questions about the safety of everyone on board. What if the flight attendant had decided, in mid-flight, to attack a passenger physically or to open the doors of the aircraft? I would be reluctant to get on board an AA flight any time soon unless I could be sure that this unstable employee wasn’t included in the flight crew.

  • TonyA_says

    The plane landed safely. The flight crew apologized. They got their luggage. Contractual obligations met. She got to whine at Elliotts. What else does she want? The FA’s life is not her business. Move on.

  • TonyA_says

    Re trained to do what? Go for the cash? She might have learned from the best. Bernard Madoff was a trustee and high ranking board member of Yeshiva where she learned and graduated with a Psych masters and phd degree.

  • Kate Barbre Otter

    this is one of the oddest stories i’ve ever read on this site. I can’t think of anything profound to say to support this woman.

  • Jack Stinglash

    I am continually astounded at the claims of “compensation!” that people come up with. What would this woman have the airline do? Fire the employee? I can’t see how personnel decisions are any of her business. More importantly, she says she’s a psychologist, yet it sounds like she has little compassion for the flight attendant.

    And again, as has been pointed out so many times before, travel involves the unexpected. Instead of seeing herself as the victim of an injustice, why doesn’t she look at this as a wild story she can tell friends for the rest of her life? It’s not as if she has to worry about encountering this kind of behavior every time she flies.

  • John Baker

    David … I think this is the first time that you and I have agreed on anything … to include the color of the sky…

  • John Baker

    I debated for the last few hours if I should post this but I’m going to do it anyway. I’m sure I’ll earn my fair share of flags or a verbal hand slap from Chris but its got to be said…

    If nothing else, this story highlights how low we hold mental health issues in this country. Can you imagine a cardiologist who walks away from an employee having a heart attack, doesn’t alert ground staff etc.and expects compensation from the company for the employees actions while having the heart attack? How about a neurologist and a stroke? Apparently over 50% of the people, as I write this, would be ok with either of those scenarios.

    Sorry, the employee had a medical issue. The company’s response to that and anything else regarding that employee’s condition is private. I wouldn’t expect my employer to tell people what occurred.

    I just wish someone had had the compassion to alert ground staff at the gate and get the FA the help he needed.

  • FQTVLR

    I am appalled at Basch’s expectation of some compensation. I do think that American Eagle and the FA should rethink his career as a flight attendant. But I do not think that any compensation is due. I would give my explanation for my opinion, but would get flagged as not being courteous to the professional psychologist who wrote the letter.

  • Freehiker

    The woman is looking to get paid, plain and simple. This is America; if someone does or says something you don’t like, then you obviously deserve to be compensated.

    It’s embarrassing how greedy everyone has become.

  • Brooklyn

    You haven’t called anyone stupid, whiny, lazy or any of the other names used by certain commenters. You’ve expressed your views politely; not everyone needs to agree, but why would you expect a hand slap from Chris?

  • Kairho

    This entire article offends me. I demand Chris Elliott provide us with compensation.

  • Jack Stinglash

    My word. I daresay your comment will be flagged and possibly deleted. My understanding is that this type of sarcasm is not appreciated here. I’ve never quite understood if this taking of offense is peculiar only to certain blogs or to Americans in general. I must say I find the latter hard to believe; I have many friends in the U.S. who have a healthy sense of humor.

  • This comment has been flagged. This is a consumer advocacy site, not an airline advocacy site. We’re here for the customers. Let’s remember to be nice to them, please.

  • Mike Z

    This story ranks right up there with another I read this morning where a woman who has Celiacs is suing PF Changs because they charge more to specially prepare a gluten free meal. (that gets served an agerage of something like 40 times per year in each restaurant)

    Some people just aren’t happy unless they can play the victim and get something out of it.

  • On behalf of this site, I’d like to apologize for the way I made you feel. I am sending you a full refund and a first-class ticket everywhere this airline flies, which is nowhere. ;-) (Seriously, your comment made my day.)

  • Rebecca

    That is a completely different situation. An employer can’t disclose any medical information about an employee. If this employee is mentally ill, they would be violating his privacy. With the Comcast situation, the employee did something to (presumably) be vindictive. The airline employee apologized to the passengers and claimed he was mentally I’ll.

  • BillCCC

    Someone came to you for help and this response kind of looks to me like you are making fun of her request.

  • Vox_Rationis13

    While I agree with you, John, the OP did say this:

    “It seems as though they knew this flight attendant was emotionally unfit and let him fly anyway”.

    So according to her, she faults AA for not having done something about it earlier (if that’s indeed the case). So in your analogy, perhaps like allowing someone who is known to be prone to seizures to drive a public bus… or some other job from which their medical condition would disqualify them.

    These are big “ifs”… If AA knew he had a problem / how long they knew / whether any action / therapy / treatment was taken, etc…

    But yes, definitely some compassion / understanding would be in order, esp. after AA wrote her the letter.

  • John Baker

    @Vox_Rationis13:disqus Would you feel the same way if it was a FA with a heart condition that had a heart attack?

    There are a number of conditions that, once under control, we allow people to continue in their careers. You would think that a mental health professional would understand that.

  • Not at all. I’m responding to Jack’s comment, not Basch. You can read my comments about her in the story.

  • Vox_Rationis13

    Again, I don’t agree with the OP’s reaction or compensation claims, but if an employee who deals with the public has a known issue which could cause harm to others, and the employer knows about it, then I do think steps should be taken to ensure that it is “under control”.

    The OP is claiming that AA knew this employee was unstable and allowed him to continue in that condition, from what I understand. It’s the only semi-rational reason she would ask for compensation.

  • BMG4ME

    It’s not the airline’s fault if an employee has a nervous breakdown. Usually people with nervous disorders don’t flare up unless they are provoked. Obviously since it was an employee the airline is responsible for making it right, but I do wonder here whether someone is trying to make some money out of the situation, not to say that I haven’t done that myself in the past but I’ve learned not to

  • Joe

    1. Lady has bad experience. 2. The Captain of the flight apologizes and says the steward will not be flying again. 3. Lady writes “concerned passenger” grievance and requests no specific remedy. 4. American apologizes. 5. Lady claims it’s not enough.
    Did I get all that right, or at least pretty close? Move on. This fragile creature has suffered no wrong that hasn’t already been remedied.

  • MarkKelling

    While I have compassion for the FA and hope he receives the treatment he appears to need, I don’t think he should continue as a flight attendant. The main reason the FAs are on a plane is to assist passengers in emergency situations. This means they need to not completely lose it when exposed to stress. If a passenger trying to bring a bag on the plane that is too large causes this type of reaction, it is doubtful that in a true emergency this FA would be any help at all. No matter what the law says about accommodating people, sometimes some people are just not right for certain jobs.

    As far as the LW, I don’t see where anything more is required from the airline.

  • naoma

    This person in question should never be a FLIGHT ATTENDANT. Don’t they have a
    mental test before they are allowed to fly? Totally unacceptable.

  • Walt Slazyk

    DavidYoung2 nailed it. End of discussion.

  • Walt Slazyk

    DavidYoung2 nailed it. End of discussion.

  • David L.

    While I do not believe that there is any compensation called for here, I think that what we should all be discussing is the fact that the plane was allowed to take off after this incident. The pilot acknowledged that he noticed the employee’s behavior, and still proceeded as planned despite a supposedly known condition…

    If a passenger were to board a plane, and immediately start to berate the staff and other passengers, then admit to be having another “episode” because he or she couldn’t deal with the stress, we all know what the next steps would be… And, if that passenger were to then write to Chris to complain about how they were treated, I don’t think that we would be reading about it in the “Is This Enough Compensation?” column.

  • naoma

    I do not believe the flight attendant should fly again. Many people are very nervous about flying (not me) and this could “set them off.” Please have flight attendants “tested for psychological problems.” This would stop such events from occurring.

  • John Baker

    How about other medical issues that are under control? Are you willing to include those too?

  • ISTlife

    From the article: “It was one of those “concerned passenger” grievances, with no specific remedy suggested. They left it to the airline to do the right thing.”

    The Flight Attendant apologized.

    Based on this, why would she think she’s entitled to any compensation? She’s contacted the airline as a “concerned passenger”. The airline said they will investigate. You’ll never find out what they’ve done behind the scenes.

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    The flight attendant could have severe personal issues in life that may be affecting judgement/mood – like family illness, a parent in a nursing home, impending divorce, etc. It doesn’t justify bad behavior but sometimes we have to step back and “walk a mile in another person’s shoes.”

  • RobertHH

    I agree 100% with DavidYoung….everyone in America is looking for something for nothing..a spilled coffee, an acoustic ceiling tile falling on them, someone to not make their burger just right,
    …..there are reasonable expectations yes, but dealing with hundreds of staff employees companies do let some slip through the crack..now I will bet you anything the husband has said “forget it”…and by the way…you really want this person to be fired you heartless _____ ! He has rent to pay..now medical leave, punishment is sure, he probably never will fly again…but “fired”..really have you not had a bad day girl…? Really?

  • Ken

    This is a tough one. I couldn’t vote. The things I was thinking along the line are: a) What if it was a passenger but not a FA who had a mental breakdown and the airline knew the passenger had mental breakdowns in previous flights? I feel the airline would have reacted in a different way; and b) What if it was not a medical condition, but just a personality. I meet grumpy FAs with attitudes occasionally. I’ve never complained to an airline about an FA, but if I am yelled at for no reason and complain about it, an airline would throw in some free miles, I think.

  • RobertHH

    In other words ..always agree with the “consumer”…well Chris..as consumer my airline ticket is high enough without the airlines having to over compensate every offended person! Everyone in America is a victim…I can’t begin to tell you how victimized I have been gotta minute?

  • RobertHH

    there are hundreds of jobs that this person can be assigned to without flying…or dealing with the public for that matter…I still say have some compassion…

  • RobertHH

    yes…me too…we are victims!

  • RobertHH

    OK…as everyone knows I have little sympathy for this person..considering the circumstances…HOWEVER ..let us switch the participants to this little scene…The husband goes equally ballistic over an alleged slight by the attendant…HE will be put off the plane with no compassion, mercy or best wishes for his mental reconditioning….I’ll bet on that for sure! This should be a two way street…folks…think about it..

  • RobertHH

    again consider reversing the roles…the Basch’s would be expelled from the plane and all of their rebooking costs would be up to them..I agree that the Basch’s have no real basis for compensation but on the other hand should they take such a heavy handed approach to a passenger who argues with them?…I am so sure that the terrorist of 9/11 were the most agreeable passengers on the plane as most hijackers are…and yet this kneejerk reaction is what gave flight attendants all the power to remove a passenger solely on their say so…

  • Jack Stinglash

    Mr. Elliott, then I confess to being thoroughly confused. My understanding was that sarcasm — “snark”, I believe is the American term — was frowned on here. But I may be misremembering. I only know that I’ve often been loath to post a comment for fear of putting a foot wrong. It’s hard to remember all the rules, and they seem to change in inexplicable ways.

  • Jim Daniel

    I can identify with the flight attendant to this extent: I have had times when things lined up to overwhelm me and I “completely lost it.” In almost 70 years, I can recall it happening two or three times. Everyone has their limits.

    I have to agree with the passenger in this case, that when it has happened before and has not been addressed fully by the employer. They demonstrated a large measure of irresponsibility by failing to follow up after even one episode. If a passenger showed even mild symptoms of that sort of break during the boarding process, they would be denied boarding quickly and with no recourse. Airlines recognize that there can be no room for someone “loosing it” in the air.

    Simply put, if the airline wouldn’t allow a passenger with demonstrated “problems” to fly, they can’t allow employees in that condition to fly.

  • Wilma_Betty

    Does anyone remember the story of the flight attendant who, upon landing, said he’d had enough, grabbed a beer, activated the emergency chute, and slid down it? I don’t remember his name or the airline, but I remember there was a defense fund set up in his name and a lot of people contributed to it. I guess there’s some sympathy out there for flight attendants who have to put up with stuff. I suppose I can Google it.

  • John Baker

    Steven Slater from JetBlue

  • Wilma_Betty

    Ah, yes. Thank you.

  • Liz

    What strikes me is the flight attendant in question saying, “I’m having [another] episode like I did last week.” That leads me to believe that there was a prior incident that should have raised the eyebrows of the FA’s coworkers or superiors, let alone the FA himself.

    Also, why wasn’t this disruptive behavior addressed by the pilot or co-FAs BEFORE the flight took off?

    Yes, I have sympathy for the FA, who obviously needs some help, but repeat incidents are not okay.

    I don’t think that the OP deserves a free flight, but it wouldn’t hurt AA to throw her a few frequent flier miles her way as a show of goodwill.

  • gwhizkids

    OK, the flight attendant had the episode. Why does that merit compensation?

  • Douglas Stallings

    The OP felt insulted. I get that. And she complained and received an apology. That’s where the responsibility of the airline ends. Frankly, it’s none of her business what happens next. It’s a private matter between employer and employee. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with respect, including the employee having an obvious issue. But like other posters, I’m troubled by the tendency for passengers to expect to be paid off every time something goes wrong. The plane arrived at the destination on time and without a serious incident … other than the momentary stress of her child crying. I vote No.

  • Cyn2

    That’s assuming that the incident the FA had the previous week was at work. It could have been during his off time and the company may have known nothing about it.

  • Annie M

    It is always “I want money or miles for this”. If Ms. Basch were really concerned with the employee, the fact that AA said that the employee will not be flying again should be all the compensation she needs.

    You would think that she would be more compassionate about someone who was clearly having a breakdown. But it always comes down to money. I am sure that she wasn’t the only one that this attendant conflicted with. Why do people always have to look for the compensation aspect when this is clearly an unusual occurance?

  • bodega3

    I knew it would be in the article:

    “Secondly, we are looking for some form of compensation,” she says. A refund or mileage credit would be acceptable to her family

    SMDH. That is what these letters are all about.

  • Terri217

    The airline, due to privacy policies, can’t divulge internal personnel matters. It was an unfortunate incident and the employee should have been escorted off the flight, immediately……as that is what they would have done to a paying customer who acted up. But, I don’t believe the passenger should be compensated whatsoever. If she is, then the whole plane of passengers should be compensated. I hope the employee was removed, permanently, from service and got help.

  • Mr. Stinglash, thank you for your question. I will clarify the rules in a future post. I appreciate your comment.

  • AndTheHorseYouRodeInOn

    First……two words……AMERICAN EAGLE. Passengers were NOT on American, they were on a commuter. Names, addresses, complaints should be given for American Eagle so passengers can complain directly to that source.

    Second…..
    “We have been loyal American Airlines customers for years. Both my husband and I have American credit cards, and fly American almost exclusively and are deeply disappointed at how they let us down here,” she says. “The whole situation was very scary and unsettling and made us feel incredibly unsafe.”

    You and 60 trillion other people are “loyal” and have AA credit cards….”deeply disappointed”…. Could she use any more cliche’s in this drama ? Mrs. Basch, can you just deal ??

  • MarkKelling

    Many other medical conditions are completely controllable with the correct medications, diet, exercise, or other medical treatments. Most of these conditions do not cause you to freak out when facing stress.

    I lost my pilot’s license due to a medical condition recently developed (also prevents me from being a bus driver, commercial truck operator, passenger boat captain, and so on). Even though it is completely under control and I have not had any recent occurrence of the condition, because I had it once I am not allowed to be a pilot. Is that fair? If you consider there are probably many pilots out there still flying with the same condition that has not been diagnosed and they are not receiving treatment for, no. But those are the rules because it could occur again and would impact my ability to control a plane if the occurrence was intense enough..

  • AndTheHorseYouRodeInOn

    Right, on what, a 45 minute flight ? I get more grief waiting on line at Dunkin’ Donuts than she had to “deal” with. Another whining, wingeing passenger with their hand out.

  • Mike Z

    Getting loud with someone is not an uncontrolled rage. I know in this whiney sensitive at everything society we live in now it seems like it, but in reality this person was loud and obnoxious.
    Seem to remember a saying from my childhood. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. We’ve become the society in which names hurt me and I demand compensation.

  • John Baker

    @MarkKelling:disqus I can understand why there might be different medical standards for Pilots and FAs especially non-commercial who might be the only pilot on board at a given time. I’d hold FAs to a different standard. On the average flight, an FA having an issue doesn’t result in the loss of the aircraft. A private pilot it might.

  • Mike Z

    Is the LW handing out compensation to the other passengers plane trips who develop headaches and are unable to sleep because of her crying baby?

  • Brooklyn

    I don’t think the kind of “episode” described here, to use the flight attendant’s words, can be characterized as loud and obnoxious; clearly he was unable to control his anger under stress. The question is not just whether compensation is owed but whether future passengers can be assured that he won’t be flying again. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t get treatment at his employer’s expense, but he’s not a good candidate for a high-stress job where his explosions could put everyone at risk.

  • @DavidYoung2 – you are wrong on so many counts.
    First off, the ADA requires that a disability must be under control for accommodation. The courts have already ruled on this. An outburst like the FA had is hardly under control. In addition, there are limits on ADA, especially with mental issues. The FA is a safety job, so greater restrictions and exclusion would – and must – apply.
    Second, while an outburst like this is not physically violent, it is still very threatening. That makes it unacceptable behavior. And it isn’t the first time it had happened! So the airlines knew about the condition and did not respond properly, placing the passengers at risk. It also makes me question their screening process. This issue should have come out in training.
    Third, other airlines do offer compensation for incidents like this. I was on a Southwest flight when a Vegas showgirl threatened the FA. When the flight landed the cops came and dragged her off while the other passengers applauded. I received an email from Southwest with a $50 voucher for my unpleasant experience even though I was never involved!

  • AJPeabody

    Parody is not sarcasm.

  • MarkKelling

    I agree that a single FA on any commercial flight having issues is not going to cause a loss of aircraft even if it is a small commuter plane with only one FA. I have been on enough flights with FAs having issues for whatever reason to know that. But I have never doubted that those FAs would get over whatever issue it was they were having and then be able to function correctly in an emergency situation.

    I would prefer the FAs with regularly occurring issues to not be there because it adds nothing positive to the travel experience and it would be better for everyone if they were not on a plane.

  • Jack Stinglash

    Ah, then I am remembering correctly: “We started by declaring war on snark” and “The first step was a warning shot, fired in early January, when I asked the commenters to cut the snark”.

    As for the rest of the text, yes, I remember similar guidelines being posted here before, several times, in fact. It seems that humor is sometimes allowed, but sometimes not. And questioning the credibility of the letter writer is also sometimes allowed, but sometimes not.

    I notice that some comments have already been removed from this discussion. There was one about “whingeing” (which caught my eye because of the British-ism), but now it’s gone.

    Well, perhaps I shall go back to the occasional lurking rather than commenting. I still learn things about American travel that way.

  • y_p_w

    This sounds like an internal employee-employer matter regarding the FA. And if there’s any mental health concerns, I’m pretty sure that HIPPA would prevent them from stating anything in that regard, and it sounds as if the letter writer is wanting to know something for her own assurances rather than understanding that there are limits to what an employer can or can’t release outside the company.

  • TonyA_says

    Snark is defined as any comment the mods do not like or is not good for the Boarding Area ad business.

  • TonyA_says

    Re: The OP is claiming that AA knew this employee was unstable…

    Is there any proof of this???? Or just another snarky assumption.???

  • Jack Stinglash

    Mr. or Ms. Peabody: quite so. But both are a type of humor that has been frowned on here in the past.

  • TonyA_says

    Actually, we need more sympathy on the poor AA employee. Maybe he had to keep on working to make both ends meet. Maybe to support kids or a parent. FAs are usually not rich people and they might live from paycheck to paycheck. Not sure what would happen if the FA actually told the company his medical (pysch) condition. He might lose his job. I guess that is the outcome the LW wanted.

  • Mel65

    I’m a little surprised that the FA was allowed to continue on the flight *if* it were as bad an episode as the OP alleges. Had a customer “lost it” and started raging at an FA or another passenger, the flight would have been delayed whilst the Capt. arranged for that passenger to be removed. Makes me wonder if *perhaps* the incident is a teensy bit overblown?

  • ChelseaGirl

    No, I don’t think she deserves compensation. This is a sad situation–a person who is mentally unbalanced and may have been off his meds. it is not the airline’s fault that one of its employees is ill and had an episode. I really think it’s tacky to want compensation for this. Money is always the answer for everything with people like this. No matter what happens to them, if they get some money, then it’s all OK. Enough.

  • TonyA_says

    Open question to fellow commenters.
    Chris Elliott has always questioned the compassion of airline executives and employees.
    I have always thought that compassion was something about people who are SUFFERING and not just being INCONVENIENCED.
    There is an excellent speech at TED about compassion:
    ted. com/talks/joan_halifax?language=en

    Most of time people come here to kvetch about COMPENSATION. About MONEY.
    This isn’t compassion. It is about selfishness.
    And when you try to make a comment about selfish people you are being snarky.
    Something has gone terribly wrong here.

    What is your definition of compassion?

  • Wilma_Betty

    Well, at the risk of getting flagged, I have to also wonder where the compassion is when people are abused by the TSA. This is something Mr. Elliott used to write about but doesn’t any longer.

  • Nathan Witt

    I’m usually pretty pro-consumer, but siding with this LW is hard, even for me. “Feeling unsafe” is not and should not be worthy of compensation. This isn’t an instance where the airline adopted an anti-consumer policy on purpose, or refused to show compassion, or acted purposefully to diminish the value of the tickets these customers purchased. A human being had a bad day, and I’m of the opinion that corporations AND individuals ought to cut people a little slack. The LW received an apology, both from the FA and the airline. Let it go.

  • Uniall

    I am dumbfounded that 48% of the readers think an mere apology is a sufficient response by American Airlines.
    In my opinion, the flight attendant’s actions and words constituted the common law crime of “assault” and the tort of “intentional infliction of mental distress”.
    The actions of the flight attendant inherently constitute “outrageous conduct.” The fact that the outrageous conduct caused the child to cry and the parents witnessed the affect on their child shows resulting mental anguish and injury.
    Since this was not the first such episode, it shows the Airline knew (or should have known) their employee’s propensities and opens the legal door for being liable for the employee’s actions.
    Corporate differences between American Airlines and American Eagle Airlines are mere illusions in modern law through the often used device of “piercing the corporate veil”. In this case, the replies of American Airlines appear to be an admission of this fact.
    In my opinion, American Airlines should have made a substantial offer of settlement.

  • Miami510

    I believe American’s response was correct and the writer should be satisfied with their explanation. $h!# happens, and to expect that every untoward event deserves some
    monetary compensation is what our litigious society, sadly, has become. The resolution of this by the company is governed by medico-legal and privacy constraints.

  • TonyA_says

    I feel that the moral compass shifted when the site moved to Boarding Area.
    Now we are spending time debating whether someone should be able to fly First Class on a Business Class AWARD ticket. I guess the Boarding Area readers are award flyers that’s why. Many of them churn credit cards for miles and points and know how to play the game well. Maybe they are playing this blog site, too?
    Big difference since CE split with Charlie Leocha’s site.

  • ctporter

    I guess I am surprised at how close the poll is on this one. I do not believe the airline “owes” the passengers anything more in this instance. What they did provided in writing is sufficient IHMO, namely a sincere apology, addressed directly to them and to the issue at hand (not a form letter that does not fit the situation). Would it be nice if they offered some miles or vouchers etc.? sure, but to require it -no. If the LW had sincerely accepted the apology from the FA why are they still pursuing the matter? In some ways, I think it is the LW that is not being fair in this case. But, then I cannot imagine that the LW actually making a response to the FA that would have been something like “no, I cannot accept your apology, I need to be compensated in a concrete form such as a voucher, miles, (or what ever they are looking for) and i want to ensure that you never act as an FA again” That sounds absolutely ridiculous doesn’t it! Yet, is that not what the LW actions are saying? That is why I voted for no more compensation by choosing yes.

  • John Baker

    So … If the FA was having a heart attack instead and fell into the LW (thereby committing assault and battery), would you feel the same way or is it only because its a mental health issue?

  • Joe

    Was there a Law and Order marathon on yesterday? Good luck proving all of the elements of any of those allegations. Absent any evidence from the FA or the airline, the fact that you’re so willing to find the accused liable for “substantial” monetary damages is mystifying.

  • Wilma_Betty

    I have to wonder if Uniall is a lawyer. This is a genuine question. I hope I don’t get flagged.

  • TonyA_says

    I hope the argument is really not about ADA or the ACCA. David’s point is that we need compassion for the FA. I believe he made an excellent point. That’s bigger than than getting $50 play money (which is really simply thinking of one’s self interest).

  • Uniall

    I ask all of you who are defending American Airlines to answer one question. What should the airline have done if the passenger had a psycotic episode leveled at the flight attendant?
    This isn’t simply a matter of a “double standard” running counter to the underpinnings of American justice of “equal protection under the law”.
    It involves alleged violations of criminal and civil violations of law that endangered everyone on the flight.

  • Candy Harrington

    It was a short flight, the FA apoligized and apparently understood that he had “issues” so I don’t think compensation is warranted in this case. I would however want some reassurance from the airline that the employee is no longer flying or that he is receiving treatment or something along those lines. I realized you can’t give too many details because of confidentiality but at least more than a broad reassurance would be good.

  • MarkKelling

    If the pilot had asked for the FA to be removed from the flight, the flight most likely would have been cancelled. I doubt anyone on the flight would have preferred that option. Airlines no longer seem to have spare flight crew at most of the airports they fly to and every plane requires a minimum number of working FAs on board in order to meet FAA regulations.

  • TonyA_says

    It probably is affecting the ad traffic.

  • Dutchess

    The ridiculous idea of compensation aside, why is it people feel they need to know the intimate details and outcome of an employee disciplinary issue? Quite frankly, it’s none of your business. There’s also privacy concerns here with the employee’s ADA status if this indeed some kind of mental illness. If the LW is so concerned about this she should file a complaint with the FAA about a safety issue with the flight attendant and move on. You aren’t entitled to know the gory details of this employees discipline just because your feelings got hurt.

  • MarkKelling

    Yes, but that was a PASSENGER that was removed, not CREW. Passengers often get thrown off planes for seemingly minor issues (wasn’t on the WN flight you were so not sure how threatening the showgirl incident was).

  • mythsayer

    The only proof I saw was that the FA told other FA’s that he was “having another episode like the one I had last week.” That strongly implies SOMEONE at AA knew about these “episodes.” And if someone knew, then generally that can be imputed to the employer.

  • TonyA_says

    Lots of guesses and assumptions here. As a boss I can tell you the underlings don’t always tell you what’s going on. Who in AA knew? Another FA? The Captain? The Union Rep? Who?

  • mythsayer

    And you know what really concerns me (I hope I don’t get flagged for this)? There have been murders on planes before. At least twice I can think of. One guy actually brought a gun on board and shot the supervisor who’d just fired him (he was an airline employee). Then he went and shot the pilots.

    I feel that everyone should get help if needed, and I don’t know this FA’s history, but how many bad things have happened when there were warning signs that everyone ignored? The shooting in Santa Barbara, Sandy Hook, “going postal,” etc. There is honestly no way to know if someone is going to just snap and be a danger to others.

    As you said, passengers who act this way are removed from the plane… why? For safety reasons. I agree that this goes both ways. It sounds terrible to say “oh… this guy admitted he has some mental problems, he could be a danger to people” because most people with problems are not a danger to people. And many people who are a danger to people don’t have mental health problems, or don’t have obvious mental health problems.

    But at the same time, knowing that bad things have happened when there were clear warning signs should at least put the company on notice that maybe this guy shouldn’t be flying in a tube 35,000 feet in the air until he’s stabilized.

    I’m sorry if this offends anyone. It’s not my intent at all. I have no issues with people with mental health problems and I myself have taken anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications as well as attended many therapy sessions. I seriously doubt this guy is a real danger to people. But when someone starts exhibiting aggressive behavior that cannot be controlled, does a company just ignore it and hope that nothing bad ever happens? Even if it’s not this guy, it could be someone else. Where do you draw the line?

    I think the best suggestion is to move him into at least a non-flying role for the moment. I don’t think he should be terminated if he otherwise is a competent employee. But if dealing with passengers can throw him into this kind of rage, he probably shouldn’t be with them in a small and enclosed space.

  • mythsayer

    In response to someone else’s comment above, I agreed with this same type of sentiment, but I forgot about the person acting in an emergency. I agree… that’s a seriously issue as well. I don’t think he should be flying.

  • TonyA_says

    Let’s see what it takes to be an FA for a regional. What do you think the pay is?
    Since the airplane they use is small and people don’t want to pay a checked baggage fee, then they try to cram the tiny overhead compartments. But the aircraft is small. So mostly end up a gate checked and might even get left by the flight.
    The seats are tight. So you have a plane load of unhappy folks whose knees are about to get broken. They usually take forever to get seated and the FAs are pressured to close the door so they can get paid (clock starts when doors are closed). There is also pressure from the mothership to get the airplane out on time (maybe the rate is based on ontime performance). How many people can keep their cool and still like their jobs under this kind of stressful job? I guess they can quit and try another profession. Psychologist sounds good.

  • TonyA_says

    Thing that worries me is that the LW is a psychologist and should know about how important SECRECY and CONFIDENTIALITY is. Her website says she specializes in LGBTQ (Q for questions). A few years back a NJ kid jumped off the GW bridge after his sexuality was exposed, So why is she coming to Elliott asking to get the company for more info. Shouldn’t she respect the FA’s right to privacy? It has been reported to the company and they will fix it.
    I wonder if any of her patients know what she is doing here in this blog.

  • TonyA_says

    OK so let the FAA investigate it. We don’t need worry about it. Let’s respect the FA’s privacy, too.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I don’t know what this person wants. The airline can’t discuss personnel matters. So either this is a money grab or…IDK what it is, to be honest.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I was on a flight when a PAX has a “psychotic episode.” The woman was obviously troubled and should’ve NEVER been flying alone. At one point, she ran up to first class and kept looking in the closet for “Harry Potter.”

    They ended up restraining her and she was met by family members and police on the other end.

  • bodega3

    She wants money. She stated so.
    ” we are looking for some form of compensation,”

  • TonyA_says

    Money? The roof of all evil?
    I wonder how many letters or email the airlines get daily about similar demands for compensation?

  • bodega3

    We can only guess. It is a sad statement of our society.

  • TonyA_says

    Assault? Really?
    For the record, how many and what kind of hand carries where they taking in this commuter flight? Maybe there is a reason why the FA screamed since something got through gate check?

  • TonyA_says

    Interesting how someone can make bombastic allegations – Assault, etc. – that can get one jailed and it ain’t considered snarky.

  • David L.

    This plane hadn’t even closed it’s doors yet…After hearing about all of the absurd reasons that pilots have turned around both on the jetway and even once in the air for “safety reasons” like crying babies, someone who had to go to the bathroom, or people playing games on their powered on cellphones, I would think that a mentally unstable crewmember would warrant such a delay and/or cancellation in my book…

  • TonyA_says

    Didn’t the captain say the FA will not fly again or something like that?
    Shouldn’t his/her word be good enough? After all you put your life on his/her hands.

  • TonyA_says

    Since this happened on the ground, why doesn’t she just sue?

  • TonyA_says

    That was for the captain to decide. So how come it did not rise up to that level? Where exactly did this happen? Where there other witnesses who were alarmed by the so-called dangerous behavior?

  • bodega3

    Why doesn’t she just move on? Especially considering her line of work.

  • TonyA_says

    Anyone living here around NYC is probably immune to getting screamed and yelled at. Today was the exception. It was too cold outside and the parking cops did not yell at me at JFK as I waited at the curb for my wife.
    There must be something else here. Why so upset?

  • TonyA_says

    Anyone living here around NYC is probably immune to getting screamed and yelled at. Today was the exception. It was too cold outside and the parking cops did not yell at me at JFK as I waited at the curb for my wife.
    There must be something else here. Why so upset?

  • TonyA_says

    Also we don’t know how long the FA has been doing this job. Maybe 20 years?

  • Mike Z

    I’m not quite sure why my last comment was deleted, but I will again say that you claimed he was in an uncontrollable rage, which was clearly not true according to the words of the LW. How uncontrollable could he have been if he recognized what was happening to himself and explained what was happening in real time???? That he was apologizing even while he was still supposedly in an uncontrollable rage? The fact that he never touched anyone is further evidence that he was not in an uncontrollable rage.

  • sunshipballoons

    No. If TonyA had said, “the consumer was wrong and the airline was right,” he would not have gotten flagged. He got flagged for the personal attack on the consumer.

  • sunshipballoons

    From this article at least, it sounds like she dealt with the situation calmly and appropriately.

    It wasn’t until after the fact that she complained to the airlines, asked for a resolution of the FA issue and for compensation. That obviously had no effect on what happened on the plane.

  • sunshipballoons

    You agree with him on everything? So, you agree that her asking for compensation after the fact constitutes not treating the FA well when he was having the breakdown? Does everybody here have a time machine except for me?

  • bodega3

    My comment was deleted, too.

  • bodega3

    My comment was deleted. Really? The lady wants money. She stated so.

  • sunshipballoons

    “First off, the ADA requires that a disability must be under control for accommodation.”

    Wow. Just wow. that is REALLY not true. The ADA requires an accommodation for any disability (a condition that substantially limits a major life activity), unless the employer’s policy/practice/etc. is job-related and consistent with business necessity. Often, the disability cannot be “under control;” an accommodation is still required.

    For example, if an employee has episodes that prevent him from dealing with customers, but the employer has a non-customer facing job that the disable person is qualified for, it is likely that the employer would have to accommodate the employee by putting him in that job. No matter that the condition is not under control.

    Or take somebody in a wheel chair. They are substantially limited in the major life activity of walking. If the employee cannot walk, she cannot walk; NOTHING can get that condition under control. Yet she is entitled to a reasonable accommodation.

    Perhaps you are thinking about the intersection of the ADA and addiction. In that context, the case law says that an employee with an addiction issue is covered by the ADA only if he is not actively using the substance to which he is addicted (in other words, his addiction is under control). That rule does not apply to other disabilities. In fact, if you are able to correct for the disability, you are not considered disabled under the law. (See the US Supreme Court’s decision in Sutton v. United Airlines, which held that somebody who is severely visually impair without glasses, but sees reasonably well with them on, is not substantially limited in a major life activity for ADA purposes.)

    In any event, please, let’s stop feeding folks bad information about what the law says.

  • Michael__K

    John, I agree with the general sentiment in your comment, and I’m glad you posted it. But as others have alluded to, what makes this different from a cardiologist and a heart attack victim or a neurologist and a stroke victim is the power imbalance and the direct threat.

    It’s difficult for the LW to put her detached clinical hat on here because she and her family felt threatened by someone who wielded considerable authority over them. As she put it:

    “The whole situation was very scary and unsettling and made us feel incredibly unsafe”

  • John Baker

    @Michael__K:disqus I was there when it happened but I do know this. I’ve seen Drs. rush to someone’s aid at great personal risk. I’ve never known a Dr to walk away from someone in an emergent case. I would hope even in this situation if the FA was stroking and combative that the Dr would have stepped up and gotten the FA the help they needed instead of walking away. Especially since the door is still open and help is available from the ground crew.

  • I think that’s a good idea.

  • sunshipballoons

    “Would you demand compensation if an employee developed unexpected low blood sugar? Fainted due to a undiagnosed heart arrhythmia?”

    Yes, if the employee did something bad to me as a result of the illness. Even more so if the airline knew or should have known about the risk ahead of time, which was the case here, since he’d had at least one prior work episode.

  • Tony, you know that I love you, but this comment has been flagged a few times already. It has nothing to do with the post and it is mean-spirited. Consider this a public warning. You are one comment away from a 30-day suspension. Thank you.

  • sunshipballoons

    I find the clarification unsatisfying. You are continuing to claim a ban on snark, but that’s clearly not true. It’s a ban on meanness (and probably to the exclusion of meanness directed at travel companies (rather than other commenters, letter writers or individuals at companies)). Snark isn’t always mean, as your snarky (and not serious) apology above proves.

  • sunshipballoons

    I would feel the same way. I don’t think the heart attack guy should get fired (and I think firing him may be illegal), but I do think the airline bears the risk of his not being able to do his job properly due to a condition they were aware of.

  • Michael__K

    I don’t get the sense that the FA’s personal safety was in any immediate danger. The LW was in fear for her family’s safety. Barring the consent of the FA himself, or a request from the rest of the flight crew, I don’t think a doctor’s intervention would even be appropriate here.

  • TonyA_says

    Goodness gracious, can’t you guys tolerate some sarcasm?
    Why the change? Used to have lots of fun here.

  • TonyA_says

    I would not board if I feel someone is gonna hurt me or my family.
    I’ll call the cops.

  • Michael__K

    what kind of ‘trained psychologist’ wants cash because she witnessed a medical episode for which she is supposedly trained?

    I support your call for compassion for the FA, but inflammatory statements like this one are unfair to the OP.

    She and her family weren’t mere bystanders who witnessed something. They were directly threatened by someone who held a position of authority over them, who could indeed have escorted them all off the flight. That’s a vulnerable position to be in, regardless of one’s professional training.

  • Jason Hanna

    Frankly, making a baby cry.. That’s not exactly the hardest thing in the world to accomplish..

    I think the apologies received should be sufficient.. If I were in the shoes of the OP, I probably would want to know the resolution as well, but.. I also understand that is not possible.

    Where did all the trained psychologist comments come from? Story edited after posting? That is something i’d throw out as constructive regarding the stories posted.. If you edit.. Make a note at the end that the story was edited, and the time it was edited, and at least a generic reason.. Even as simple as “Edited for clarification” or something. It’s weird to see comments on something that.. Doesn’t seem to be a part of the article anymore, if it ever was..

  • You know sarcasm is hard to convey in a text only message.

  • Brooklyn

    You know that the husband doesn’t support his wife in her complaint because how? Oh, because women are “heartless ______”. Oh, and they’re “girls” too. I think your comment says more about you than it does about the woman in the article or the flight attendant.

  • Brooklyn

    You had lots of fun making other people feel bad. The rest of us might have more fun in your absence.

  • Brooklyn

    Maybe he will again if he can get rid of the people who jumped all over him with both feet every time he tried.

  • John Keahey

    They got American’s attention. It likely will be dealt with. Move on, folks, and quit trying to make money, etc., off of this unfortunate experience.

  • MarkKelling

    Not disagreeing with you. If I had been on that flight, I would have been very uncomfortable with that FA on the plane if it was truly as bad as depicted.

  • Uniall

    For the record, I’m a retired proscutor and trial attorney with 40+ years of experience. Contrary to popular opinion, common law “assualt” does not require physical contact (that’s battery) and when fused with the modern concept of “intentional infliction of mental distress” the described situation presents a strong case for criminal and/or civil tort violations. The crux of the modern fusion of the two concepts is “outrageous conduct”.

  • Asiansm Dan

    I can understand easily the frustration of the FA how to manage the Gate Check with all the hand luggages which can no way fit in the small bin of the regional jet. The 25$ first bag fee surely generate much more hand luggages for the 1 or 2 FA on the regional jet.
    I just wonder how much the part of Billion luggage fee revenue benefit those commuter Airlines.

  • If Southwest offered $50 voucher for a misbehaving passenger, then surely American should offer much more for an out of control FA. That’s my point.
    And the showgirl was very much yelling in the FA’s face threatening her – “I’ll get you, you B****”

  • Control is not the same as eliminated. The courts have ruled that:
    * A safety officer that passes out from diabetes may not remain on active duty.
    * A forklift operator that doubles over from angina may lose the job if there are no desk jobs
    * An operator with Hepatitis C may lose their job at an oil refinery due to potential damage to the liver
    And lets not forget that you are kicked out of the marines if you become insulin dependent.
    These are all safety issues. In some cases (safety officer) they were moved to desk jobs. In other cases (forklift operator) they were fired because there were no desk jobs.
    The FA should no longer be an FA until this issue is under control because safety is involved. Hopefully American is able to move them to a non-customer facing job. But if they can’t, then the FA most likely would lose their job.

  • davidnesbit

    The most important issue is the duty of care for the unwell FA and AA should provide all medical / psychiatric care for him to recover. When he is well AA should look to offer him a low stress backoffice role without customer interraction. This is the issue!
    The aggrieved passenger has received adequate ‘mea culpa’ from AA executive and no cash or kind need be given.

  • davidnesbit

    Je Suis FA..!

  • MarkKelling

    But Southwest still cares about their customers. Apparently AA does not so much.

  • Mental ‘episodes’ by customer-facing employees can happen in any business, but the problem here is the airline tendency to take an FA’s word for it under any circumstances whatever. An errant flight attendant can have you zip-tied and flung into the brig on just about any pretext and, as we saw in this case, a passenger who complains later tends to face a steel wall of stick-togetherness. There needs to be some equivalent of a police review board that can be invoked in cases like this.

  • Freehiker

    Lawyers have ruined America.

    Present company excluded of course.

  • Judy Serie Nagy

    These people had a bad experience. Frankly, I’ve had some regional jet FAs that were pretty scary people; I’m not sure how or why this goes on, perhaps because they work alone in the cabin and their behaviour escalates without notice until the big boom. The poster did not ever state what “compensation” she requested, and AA obviously is not going to share their personnel records with a passenger. As I’ve said over and over again, if you have a problem with a travel provider, your job is to explain the problem to management and ask for what you want as compensation. If you don’t ask, the travel providers don’t seem to be able to think up something that makes sense, so they just send letters full of boilerplate. Tell them what you want, they’ll either say yes or no, or they’ll make you an offer. Not to be cruel, but realistic, airline people have a gazzillion problems to deal with every day; your huge problem is just one of many. Help them make you feel better.

  • Judy Serie Nagy

    I think a great many of us feel that legal action for anything negative that crosses your path is not the best way to carry on in society. If you have a problem, make an effort to solve the problem, don’t consider legal action as a substitute for common sense resolution. And for sure don’t expect compensation from any entity with deep pockets whose employee makes your baby cry … make an effort to solve the problem yourself. In this case, the FA was obviously not fit to work. I would have informed the captain so that the safety of all passengers did not become an issue. Americans need more common sense, less legal actions.

  • Pat Graney

    NOT enough to apologize; the airline, I think – ANY airline – owes it to its passengers NOT to have someone like that working and ruining the passenger(s)’ experience. From the way the FA spoke, it sounded like this had happened – episode(s) – before, so airline would have been aware of and let him fly ANYway. I agree with this passenger; hope she gets what she wants.

  • Pat Graney

    Bull. One needs compassion for the PASSENGERS who are paying!, in effect the FA’s salary. And a plane, airport, is the LAST place one needs to feel scared! One can feel sorry for a person with mental disabilities; I am, myself, but the poster above is right (I used to work in labor law) about limits on ADA. I find it amusing how many of you feel “compassion” for this FA; don’t think the nearly-as-“nuts”(again, I can say, “nuts”, since I am MYSELF), FA a few years ago, who freaked out, grabbed a cocktail, opened, and slid down the flight chute. No one was too compassionate for HIM – and HE was “mental”; hello??!

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    thinking about it, the best thing American could do is to offer some standby tickets.
    This whole, cash compensation thing has to stop.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    as soon as she mentions money, you have to start questioning her story. It maybe blown out of our proportion. Don’t ask for $$$ & might be a little more believable.

  • Grant Ritchie

    “Frankly, making a baby cry (isn’t) exactly the hardest thing in the world to accomplish.” Ha! Now that’s funny. As the dad of a now 44-year-old daughter who would cry if a leaf fell from a tree, I can testify, brother. :-)

  • Ward Chartier

    We consumers are starting to get a compensation mentality. In the less deserving of situations, money does not make us feel better, money does not assuage bruised feelings. We take what is offered to punish the perpetrator, but the corporation that provides the money is not the perpetrator. One tack that corporations might try is to ask for forgiveness. One tack irate customers might take is to extend forgiveness. Which feels better, fighting for compensation or forgiving?

  • Brooklyn

    Does the captain have the authority to fire the flight attendant? No? Than his word isn’t good enough.

  • LonnieC

    She lost me at “some form of compensation”.

  • Annie M

    I have to say this was my initial thought. Was this FA the only FA on the flight? Wasn’t there another FA that could have stepped in if it was this bad? Or was it a case of the pilot knowing that if he had the FA removed, they wouldn’t be able to fly until they got a replacement in?

    When people believe they have been wronged, sometimes the incident gets overblown in their heads and their version is worse than what actually happened. I can’t believe that a pilot or another FA wouldn’t have tried to his this FA removed if it was that bad. Or at least had the police waiting for the FA when the flight landed.

  • ThePhoenix

    who says “I am having an episode”?

  • BMG4ME

    Exactly. I am Jewish too and I can’t see any logic in what TonyA said.

  • sunshipballoons

    Right–not allowing those people to continue working is, in all those cases, job related and consistent with business necessity. The point in those situations is that there is no reasonable accommodation available, not that the uncontrolled nature of the disability means that the employer does not have to try to make a reasonable accommodation.

    The ADA doesn’t apply to the Marine Corps, so that example is not relevant.

  • The FA remaining calm under stress is a job related requirement of the position and a necessity for the passenger’s safety.
    The airline can try to accommodate the FA to a non-customer position AND protect the privacy of the FA AND offer compensation to the passenger for the incident. These are not either/or choices.

  • wiseword

    No blood was shed, the fellow was fired. Suck it up. That’s life.

  • sunshipballoons

    Okay. I don’t think that’s germane to our discussion. Your original post was a general statement about what the ADA requires. It does not include the purported requirement you described.

  • Jack Stinglash

    It appears I have been handed my walking papers.

  • gracekelley

    Are people so busy and worried about money that they are willing to put their safety above schedules and fees? This lady is or it is over dramatic written. No passenger would be penalized for not taking a flight because the FA had a mental breakdown really do you guys believe that? ask yourself this did they continue on when the Captian and the other FA knew about it because it wasn’t a mental episode but more like a rude employee and how many times have they taken a mental crew member off duty and replaced them? Exactly 100% of the time IF it really is a mental breakdown or episode.
    Do you think if the other crew members and passengers heard him say another episode and I can’t deal etc they wouldn’t have had this woman’s back had she said something and refused to fly with this FA? Either she is putting her own safety in jeapordy or she’s being dramatic? Would you guys have continued on the flight IF you really believed your FA was on the verge of a mental breakdown BEFORE takeoff? Say it ain’t so! Don’t ever hesitate to speak up because your afraid people won’t stand behind you there must be witnesses to this and anytime you feel unsafe it’s your responsibility to say so. Not only for you but for your fellow passengers and crew onboard. As well as it being the crews responsibility which is why I seriously question the validity of the story here. Mental breakdown or just rude? Just be honest and say what you want.
    I’m sure he was fired she doesn’t deserve compensation of any kind whatsoever.

  • gracekelley

    What if there had been a fire in the lav could he have “handled” it? A medical emergency? Another pax become violent? An emergency landing? Needing to evacuate for safety or weather reasons? This is only a few of many many reasons you can’t just ignore this stuff to only demand compensation later. Please think about this seriously fellow travelers I fly primarily AA with Many commuter flights on their reg jets too.

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