Argument Between Two SkyWest Flight Attendants Results In Hour-Long Delay Of American Airlines Flight
An American Airlines flight operated by SkyWest was substantially delayed after two flight attendants got into a (verbal) fight with each other and then refused to work on the same flight together.
The argument was initially over a First Class passenger who asked the crew if it was possible to downgrade to Economy so she could sit with her husband but the crew member in Economy then objected, and all hell broke loose.
SkyWest Airlines is an U.S. regional airline headquartered in Utah, United States, and (like many other regional carriers) contracted by the large legacy airlines to staff, operate and maintain aircraft used on flights that are scheduled, marketed, and sold by said mainline carriers.
I’ve flown with them many times, and SkyWest operates flights for American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.
NBC reported that the airline is now investigating how the argument between two flight attendants led to a flight being over an hour late after a crew swap was required.
An internal investigation is underway after a spat between two flight attendants led to a delayed takeoff, left one of them in tears and culminated in both leaving the plane.
The American Airlines flight 4860, operated by SkyWest Airlines as American Eagle, was set to take off from Los Angeles for Houston on Saturday afternoon when the argument turned the trip sour.
ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor and reporter Ashley Brewer shared a TikTok video describing the ordeal, saying the fight stemmed from a first-class passenger requesting to switch seats with someone in coach so she could sit next to her husband.
A male flight attendant agreed to allow her to switch, but a female flight attendant argued it was against the rules, according to Brewer.
Brewer said the first-class passenger was seated next to her and was fine with not moving, but the argument between the flight attendants escalated.
“Well for some reason the flight attendants were not fine, and they kept bickering and going back and forth in the middle of the aisle about the rules, what was right and what was wrong,” Brewer said. “They just had some beef or something, so they kept going back and forth and he started yelling at her. He was really, like, out of line. He should not have done that.”
The female flight attendant ran to the front of the plane and ended up crying, Brewer said. She said she went up to the female flight attendant to check in on her and the flight attendant allegedly said “I’m not flying with him.”
The pilots and flight crew came out and tried to talk to the two flight attendants, but ultimately both flight attendants left the plane. …
Eventually, the flight was delayed by one hour and took off from Los Angeles International Airport at 2:04 p.m. local time; it landed in Houston around 7 p.m. local time. …
Has everybody gone completely crazy now? Needless to say, someone who throws a tantrum that easily when dealing with a colleague should not be working as a flight attendant, especially as airlines always like to highlight that the cabin crew is there for the passenger’s safety.
Here are some posts by Ashley, the ESPN anchor who witnessed the scene on the flight:
A lady in first class asked to switch seats with a guy in coach so she could sit by her husband. One attendant said yes, other said no not allowed. Turned into a heated argument. SO DUMB
— Ashley Brewer (@ESPNAshley) March 12, 2023
And a report about the situation:
Hard to say what exactly the problem was and why a passenger downgrading into Economy or swapping seats with someone was such a big deal for the crew member working in the coach cabin.
The only legitimate reason to refuse it on these small planes is when the pilots object due to weight/balance issues, but from all that was reported here, the pilots weren’t even consulted.
Asking if it’s possible to sit in another seat isn’t exactly a rare occasion. Still, the passenger could have probably handled this at the check-in, Admirals Club or the gate at LAX rather than trying to solve the voluntary downgrade situation on board.
Maybe she received the upgrade automatically as AAdvantage Elite in which case someone at the check-in desk could have just downgraded her and seated the couple together in the Y cabin. Or another scenario is that she was on a flight booked by her employer, and they bought First Class in which case it’s probably better to just sit there and be happy your company still pays for premium cabins. Either way, such requests are made every day, and it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
An altercation between two flight attendants working for SkyWest Airlines, a regional carrier that operated an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Houston ended up delaying a flight for over an hour as the airline was forced to replace the two crew members. The argument was over whether or not the First Class cabin attendant should have allowed one of the passengers upfront to move to Economy to sit next to her husband. Wow, just nuts!
SkyWest will probably come down hard on at least one of the two crew members, probably the woman working in Economy who kicked of the whole situation. Either she’ll get fired or maybe just reprimanded, and the union will get her off somehow. I always liked flying SkyWest, mostly out of LAX up and down the West Coast. I never really had a problem with any of their crews, quite the contrary. I guess there are just a few nutjobs everywhere these days and that includes the flight crew pool (which really isn’t very assuring).