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American Airlines suspends worker after altercation seen on video

A new American Airlines 737-800 aircraft.
Getty Images
A new American Airlines 737-800 aircraft.

American Airlines opened an investigation after a video surfaced on social media late Friday night, showing an intense confrontation between passengers and a flight crew member on board one of its planes.

The video, uploaded by Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya, shows a woman holding a baby and seen crying in front of the plane, preparing to fly from San Francisco to Dallas-Forth Worth, WFAA-TV reported.

According to Adyanthaya, the incident allegedly started after a flight attendant "violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby" and "hitting her and just missing the baby."

As the video continues, another passenger, apparently upset with how the situation was being handled, gets up and approaches the front of the plane. He asks for the flight attendant's name and returns to his seat.

Other passengers can be faintly heard discussing the situation, appearing to explain to other crew members that the flight attendant grabbed the woman's stroller.

Late in the video, the male passenger again rejoins the situation, apparently yelling at the flight attendant saying, "Hey bud, hey bud, you do that to me and I'll knock you flat!" The attendant, appeared to be visibly agitated, gestured wildly at the passenger, replying, "You stay out of this!"

The male passenger gets up and approaches, with both men making gestures and saying words, but without actually coming to blows. The captain appears to put his hand on the flight attendant's chest.

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Another flight attendant was taped trying to calm both the angry passenger and the agitated attendant. Through the commotion, the woman can still be heard crying.

Adyanthaya could not immediately be reached, but did follow up with a Facebook post stating American Airlines "in-voluntarily escorted the mother and her kids off the flight and let the flight attendant back on, who tried to fight other passengers."

The flight eventually took off and landed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, according to WFAA-TV.

After the video went viral, American Airlines condemned the incident and promised to open an investigation.

"What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers," American Airlines said in a released statement. "We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident. We are making sure all of her family's needs are being met while she is in our care."

"The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care," the statement added. "In short, we are disappointed by these actions. The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident."

American Airlines added that they took "special care" of the woman and her family, and upgraded them to "first class for the remainder of their international trip."

The intense encounter comes after United Airlines sparked a national controversy last week when a passenger was dragged from his seat and off the plane. David Dao, the passenger on the United flight, suffered a concussion, a broken nose and lost two teeth in the incident, when Chicago aviation police dragged him off the flight, according to his lawyer Thomas Demetrio. Three officers were placed on administrative leave as result of the incident.