While fights over seat recline are fairly common, what happens when your seat remains in the recline position…because it is broken? On the case of one American Airlines regional flight, the answer was a nasty brawl.
Broken Seat Leads To Nasty Brawl On American Airlines Regional Flight
On Sunday afternoon, American Airlines Flight 4698, an American Eagle service operated by AA’s Republic Airways subsidiary, departed from New Orleans (MSY) for Austin (AUS).
By the time the aircraft landed in Austin, tempers had flared and the two were engaged in a verbal argument over what witnesses onboard called a fight over a seat “stuck in the reclined position.” Upon landing, the two men jumped up and began exchanging blows.
A witness told CBS Austin:
“When the plane finally landed in Austin and the seatbelt sign was turned off, both men jumped up and physically started fighting each other.”
In the video below, you can hear flight attendants call out “return to your seats immediately!” and “clear the aisle!”
In fact, there appear to be more than two involved in the brawl. At one point the two men were separated only to see the one man walk up the aisle and strike him again from behind.
Police were dispatched and met the aircraft, boarded, and removed the two men. It is not clear if the two men were arrested or simply detained.
American Airlines only added:
Law enforcement were requested to meet American Eagle flight 4698, operated by Republic Airways, after arriving to Austin (AUS) from New Orleans (MSY) due to an altercation between passengers.
What To Do If Your Seat Is Broken?
We’re back in an era of full flights and you may find yourself in a similar position. What should you do if your find you seat is broken? While it may seem like common sense to report it to a flight attendant, it could result in a lengthy delay or you even being removed from the flight if the seat issue is deemed a safety hazard (airlines will tend to err on the side of caution, even if the risks are quite low).
If it were me and I wanted to get to my destination, I would say nothing to the flight attendants, apologize in the advance to the person seated behind me, and do my best to hold the seat up when flight attendants make their pre-flight inspection.
I realize there is something pathetic about even discussing tolerating broken seats on a multi-million dollar piece of equipment hurdling through the air at 35,000 fleet at 600mph…
What did this fight accomplish? Both men ended up in custody, likely with ripped clothes, bruises, and stress. I must emphasize again – the heat of the moment can be difficult, but prepare in advance: let your self-control outshine your temper.
(H/T: View From The Wing // image: KXAN)