American Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy protection last November, has had another spate of bad press and potentially life threatening incidents on its Boeing 757 airplanes. According to reports, the seats came loose on at least three flights while in the air and the speculation is that unhappy employees may be to blame. A spokesperson for the airline said it is inspecting eight of its aircraft that share the same or similar seat construction. The first incident happened on a flight between Vail, Colorado and Dallas-Fort Worth International late last month and two other instances of seats becoming loose happened later that same week.

Imagine you are on a Boeing 757 several thousand feet in the air and the seat you thought you were safely buckled into starts to move. Now imagine the seats in front of you or behind you start to move. The prospective danger with this type of mechanical failure can be enormous and some say just might be the end of American Airlines. The airline’s spokesperson stated the seats becoming loose were not the result of disgruntled employees. The airline’s employees are currently facing possible layoffs and wage and benefit reductions as the company struggles to emerge from bankruptcy.

Prior to these incidents with the seats, the airline has accused some of its pilots of breaking the law by slowing work, which has resulted in a number of flights being delayed and cancelled. There was no report on whether anyone was injured in any of the seat incidents’ however those who were witness to them may have cause for concern when flying American or any other airline in the future. The company is investigating each case and claimed it could be an issue with the design of how the seats connect to the tracks on the aircraft’s floor.

The company, which is still investigating the issues, has yet to come up with a definitive cause of the problem. All three planes involved recently underwent maintenance which required the seats to be removed and reinstalled. The Federal Aviation Administration is also conducting its own investigation into the problem at the nation’s third largest airline. Reports of serious safety issues such as these leave many people with an uneasy feeling toward flying. Anyone injured on an aircraft whether through equipment malfunctioning or pilot error should be advised of their rights to seek compensation for any injuries suffered.

Source: USA Today, “Three American Airlines planes now reported to have loose seats,” David Koenig, Oct. 2, 2012

Our Los Angeles-based law firm handles a wide range of personal injury claims nationwide, including airline accidents caused by either design flaws or pilot or crew errors, similar to the one described in the above post.