Skift Take

American brings to a close one of its worst PR weeks in, well, ever, with a promise that its 757s will no longer feature airborne seats. But can the airline improve relations enough with employees to prevent future oversights like this?

American Airlines said it will have all of its 48 Boeing 757 aircraft back in service by today after repairs to seats to prevent them from coming loose in flight.

Mechanics are outfitting each aircraft with new locking mechanisms that will keep seats secure.

“We have identified the issue, and our maintenance teams are securing an FAA-approved locking mechanism to ensure no seat can be dislodged,” said American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely, adding that as of noon Friday, repairs were complete on 42 of the 48 aircraft. “The airline is no longer impacted by this process,” she said.

The problem came to light last weekend when an American flight made an emergency landing at New York’s JFK airport after a row of seats came loose during the flight from Boston to Miami.

A second flight on Monday also had seats come loose in the air.

American said a seat-locking mechanism was not setting properly, partly due to soda and coffee spills, and it decided Thursday to add a second locking device to keep the seats in place.

The carrier and the Federal Aviation Administration are continuing their investigation into why the seats came loose.

The seats had been recently removed and reinstalled with much of the work completed by a third-party maintenance firm, TIMCO, the Transport Workers Union said. TIMCO declined further comment, referring media inquires to American.

(c)2012 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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Tags: american airlines, labor

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