American Airlines has issued an apology after video showing the aftermath of an employee allegedly hitting a mother with a baby stroller went viral over the weekend.
"What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers," the airline said in a statement. "We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident."
The flight attendant at the center of the controversy has been suspended by the airline. The incident happened Friday on a flight from San Francisco to Dallas.
“We have seen the video," the airline said. The flight attendant "has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident.”
The flight attendants' union, meanwhile, has expressed support for the man.
"We don't know all of the facts related to a passenger who became distraught while boarding a plane and therefore neither the company nor the public should rush to judgement,” APFA president Bob Ross said in a statement.
The woman, said to be from Argentina, reportedly boarded a plane from San Francisco to Dallas when the male flight attendant “violently took the stroller,” hitting her and just missing her young child, according to a witness on the flight.
“You can't use violence with baby," the woman says in the video posted to Facebook by passenger Surian Adyanthaya. "Just give me back my stroller please."
Other passengers can be seen coming to the mom's defense, with one even threatening to “knock” the flight attendant "flat."
"You stay out of this," the worker snapped back, to which the passenger steps forward to confront the attendant.
"The flight attendant wrestled the stroller away from the woman, who was sobbing, holding one baby with the second baby in a car seat on the ground next to her," passenger Olivia Morgan, who was waiting to board the flight, told KTLA-TV. “He stormed by me with the stroller and I said something like, 'What are you doing? You almost hit that baby!' And he yelled at me to 'stay out of it' just like he does in the video."
American says on its website that a customer can carry a small collapsible stroller, but it must be checked at the gate. Bigger strollers must be checked in at the ticket counter, the site says.
The latest airplane incident comes two weeks after a Kentucky man was beaten and dragged off a United Airlines flight by airport police when he refused to give up his seat to an airline employee who needed to catch a connecting flight.