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American Airlines' Downward Spiral Continues Spiraling

October 5, 2012 at 3:44 PM | by | ()

After weeks of American Airlines having cascading delays and stalled union negotiations, the combination of which resulted in the lowest on-time arrival rate in September and which caused a sitting U.S. Senator to tweet his deep frustration, the airline decided to step things up this week. Instead of just not bringing travelers to their destinations on time—which, while annoying, is something that airlines sometimes do—American was in the news for one freak safety incident after another.

The final evaluation from the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch, published at the end of the week: "A broken-down airline for a broken-down nation." Ouch.

Just this morning American grounded 48 of their 757s because passenger seats keep coming loose. It happened on three different flights, which is kind of amazing when you think about it. Usually there are people responsible for making sure that the bolts on airplanes—which, just as a reminder, are things that travel through the sky with people in them—are secured. Apparently not so much.

If all this seems like deja vu, it's because the airline had grounded planes on Monday for the exact same reason. Then they announced that all the planes had been inspected and repaired. Then hours after that announcement they grounded the planes again. The new date for when everything is going to be declared officially OK is Saturday (tomorrow). In the meantime, expect delays and cancellations, of course.

And then there was an incident with a stuck landing gear light and passengers being told to brace for a crash landing. That was really bad, just as a matter of the kinds of things that are good and bad. But what should really worry the airline is that some passengers suggested the crisis was faked by pilots "just creating a job action" in the context of the pilots' dispute with American. That's the opinion people have of American Airlines employees, which should be terrifying both to the employees and the management. Video on the incident and the suspicions:

[Photo: ABC News]

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