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December 31, 2012

No.1 Loose seats and extra maintenance requests, American cancels and delays thousands of flights in September and October

It was not a good fall for American Airlines' operations.

The carrier canceled thousands of flights and delayed thousands more in September and October partly due to last-minute maintenance requests made by pilots and because of seats coming loose on its 757 and 767 aircraft.

As a result, American had the worst on-time record for the industry with only 58 percent of its flights arriving on-time in September and 67 percent in October.

In mid-September, after a bankruptcy judge ruled that American could reject its pilots contract, operational issues at American began to crop up. The company blamed the pilots for filing maintenance requests right before flights were scheduled to leave and for taxiing slowly to gates.

American threatened legal action against the Allied Pilots Association but the union denied organizing a work slow-down, saying the maintenance requests were legitimate.

To deal with the ongoing operational delays, American began trimming its capacity and cutting its flight schedules for October. But then, the seat locking mechanism issue occurred.

The problem with loose seats first came to light on September 29 when American flight 685 from Boston to Miami had to make an emergency landing at New York's JFK airport after a row of three seats came loose during the flight. Another plane had a similar problem Oct. 1, prompting inspections of more than a 100 aircraft that used these types of seats.

After its internal investigation, American determined that the locking mechanisms that keep the seats in place were failing due to "general debris such as soda spills and coffee" getting into the mechanism. The mechanics union, however, said part of the loose seat problem was due to a third-party contractor, ST Aerospace, improperly installing the seats to the floor of the cabins.

All of American's operational problems added up to thousands of passengers either being delayed or having their flights canceled.

-Andrea Ahles


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C'mon, ANDREA.... "loose seats" is the biggest story in the Metroplex ????????

What a farse you are.

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