American Airlines’ Latest Woes: Loose Seats Spark Service Issues, Emergency Landing

The struggling airline's latest problem: loose seats on at least three flights in the past two weeks.

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Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

An American Airlines passenger jet.

Despite its widely reported financial woes, American Airlines may need to tighten its belt a bit further and invest in more ratchet sets: seats have been reportedly coming loose on multiple flights throughout the U.S.

On two separate flights over the course of three days in late September, at least one row of seats shook free from the tracks that connected it to the fuselage. A third plane had to make an emergency landing after more seats came loose during a flight from Vail, Colo., to Dallas on Sept. 26, according to the New York Post

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That incident came after a Sept. 24 flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Miami was forced to turn around after some seats began shaking, and a Sept. 22 mishap on a Boston-Miami flight that was forced to make an emergency landing at JFK, according to the New York Post.

In all cases, once planes were in flight, passengers reported their seats were loose. And in all cases, the plane made a quick and uneventful landing after moving passengers to different seats.

In addition to the three aircraft in question, the airline has moved five more planes, all Boeing 757s, out of service for inspection.

A statement by the FAA after the first two incidents said that “preliminary information indicates that both aircraft had recently undergone maintenance during which the seats had been removed and re-installed.” All the aircraft removed from American’s flight schedule experienced the same level of maintenance.

American filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2011 and is currently trying to resolve a labor dispute. In addition to its financial and maintenance issues, the airline earned more bad press last week after two flight attendants got into a fight on a Washington to New York flight, causing a four-hour delay.

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