Current Events: American Airlines scrutinized after woman is kicked off plane

By: Natalie Burns

If you haven’t heard already, American Airlines is getting heat for an incident that occurred Sunday, Oct. 11. An American Airlines flight attendant kicked off a passenger when there was a miscommunication before the plane even took off. Bill Byrne, a passenger sitting behind the woman, recorded the entire dispute. Tainan Fough claims that this is a case of a flight attendant on a power trip (source).

According to New York Post, Fough claims she was boarding the plane with the other passengers and there were about three people in front of her.

“I was chatting with the lady in front of me,” said Fough. She says the flight attendant yelled at her when she didn’t hear his instructions to move to the side. “Do you want to take the next flight?” the flight attendant said. “I can kick you off this plane right now.”

Humiliated and defeated, Fough exited the plane. However, the assembled crowd booed the flight attendants as they escorted the woman off the plane.

“At that point I just got off. I got into the tunnel where you walk through to get to the plane… he pops his head out and he comes out of the plane looks down the hallway snickering at me… taunting me. I was already the lowest I could be,” Fough said (source).

Fox Business News says other passengers from the flight are filing complaints with American Airlines for the mistreatment of a passenger who clearly did nothing wrong.

A spokesperson for American Airlines told KATU the airline is aware of the video and is now investigating the events leading up to the flight attendant’s decision to kick the woman off the plane.

Another report issued by Fox Business said that American Airlines reached out with an apology and explained management would handle the situation internally (source).

You can watch the footage here.

Relating it to PR

While it is important as a public relations professional to keep up with the news, it is also good for us as students to contemplate situations like this. What would you do if you were the spokesperson for American Airlines? This could be an essential case study as we utilize our tools and ethics as practitioners to gain important knowledge and in-depth public relations practice.

Sources:

New York Post: http://nypost.com/2015/10/13/passengers-boo-as-woman-is-kicked-off-american-airlines-flight/

Fox Business: http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2015/10/15/american-airlines-passenger-speaks-out-after-flight-attendant-blowup/

Natalie Burns is a public relations major and marketing minor. Her writing, communication, and multitasking skills have allowed her to do especially well in her field. She has an outgoing, bubbly personality. Natalie is currently a public relations intern at SOS Community Services in downtown Ypsilanti. She is also Chief Financial Officer of PRSSA. Connect with her via Twitter @burns_natalie and Instagram @natattack03. Follow her blog at natalierb.wordpress.com.

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