If you pay attention at all to travel news, you know that American Airlines has been having some tough times lately. Most recently, a row of seats came loose on three separate American Airlines flights in the past week, interestingly all on Boeing 757 aircraft. American Airlines initially reported that the seat failure was most likely due to improper installation of seat locking clamps. And then yesterday… the tables turned.
On Friday, American Airlines announced that the recent failure of it’s seat locking mechanisms was not due to improper installation but rather due to what can best be described as “seat gunk”. According to spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan, seat lock plunger mechanisms can become “gunked up” with people spilling soda, coffee, and snacks on flights.
There are many things one could say about that statement. I’m merely going to list a few.
For starters, when is the last time you remember eating a snack on an airplane? Not as common any more since those pretzels, cookies, and popcorn packages are no longer free.
But more importantly, how prudent did American Airlines think it was to essentially blame the failure of their seat locking mechanisms… on the passengers? For a company that is trying to regain customer loyalty and improve it’s image in the flying public’s eye, I’m gonna go on the record and say this probably wasn’t the best way to do it. Rather, the smart thing to do might be to admit to failures in cleaning and maintaining aircraft and ensuring that it will never happen again. And this explanation poorly explains the problem has affected only American Airlines flights in recent days, or why it’s happened so many times in such a short period.
Obviously such an idiotic explanation required witty responses, and social media certainly delivered on that promise. Check out some of these Twitter posts about the American Airlines “Seat Gunk”.
@flyoverangel American Airlines says seat probs due to “food gunk.” If that’s the case, wouldn’t every highchair ever made fall to pieces?
@Beretta_USA Really, #americanairlines? Spilled coffee is to blame for loose seats? I guess pretzels are to blame for my lost luggage.
@nzmuda Soda blamed for all the world’s ills, it seems.
@scottedelmanSo the American Airlines seats that popped loose were OUR fault for spilling soda. Oh, that makes me feel MUCH better.
@Tom_Bergeron American Airlines admits spilled soda residue dislodged 757 seats. Passengers with Big Gulps now on terrorist watch lists.