Tulsa union chapter, America Airlines respond to 757 flight problems

TULSA - Problems seem to be mounting for American Airlines.

A third incident of loose seats was reported Tuesday morning by the New York Post.

On Monday, it was revealed several seats on two Boeing 757 flights came loose mid-flight.

In a statement, American Airlines attributed the problem to an improperly installed saddle clamp found on 47 AA planes.

American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said Tulsa maintenance workers inspected 36 planes overnight and expect to evaluate the remaining 11 shortly.

"American regrets the inconvenience that this maintenance issue may have caused customers on affected flights.  Safety is – and always will be – American's top concern," Huguely said.

The flights involved were headed from New York to Miami and Boston to Miami. The third and most recent incident was on a plane from Vail to Dallas.

Two of the flights made emergency landings and passengers on board say what they saw and felt was like a carnival ride.

"The pilot says we're up in the air and there's something wrong with the seats, that they are loose," said passenger Vicanzo DiGregorio. "We're just going to do a quick check. Meanwhile, they changed equipment, came down and changed planes."

This comes as the airline is still trying to determine how many maintenance workers will lose their jobs at the north Tulsa base.

More than 700 Tulsa employees have accepted a buyout from the airline.

American's on-time percentage dropped nearly 30 percent last month. The Chicago Tribune reported Friday the airline has experienced "far more" flight cancelations and delays since Sept. 16, with only half of its flights departing on time.

Tulsa's Transport Worker's Union chapter issued a statement Tuesday following the incidents placing blame directly on the airline's outsourcing strategies.

"It's disappointing that the company chooses to point fingers instead of addressing the real issue: is this an outsourced maintenance problem? Our only relief is that nobody was hurt as a result of this," Jon Hewitt, maintenance chairman of Transport Workers Union Local 514, was quoted in the release. "This is exactly why we fight so fiercely to keep work in-house here in Tulsa so that it can be performed by highly trained individuals."

The union chapter also denied reports AA employees were the last to touch the seats, calling it a "gross misrepresentation of the facts."


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