Blog

November 29, 2012

Should American Have Blamed Interns For Loose Seats?

More articles by »
Written by: admin
Tags: , ,
Seats on an American Airlines plane. (Photo by SpecialKRB via Flickr, CC BY-NC)

Remember that whole fiasco early last month when American Airlines had to ground nearly 50 of their 757s because the seats were tumbling around? In the best reporting on the subject so far, Christine Negroni got to the bottom of it in a New York Times piece and on her blog and disproves just about every excuse American threw out at the time.

No, it wasn’t caused by soda, nor was it a faulty clamp, as the airline claimed at different times during the media chaos that ensued.

Negroni has traced the problem back to failures at Timco, an aircraft services company that American hired to reconfigure their cabins with a few rows of premium economy seating. Similar work had previously been done by American employees without issue, but cost is king and Timco offered a better price.

Now we could write a book about why outsourced contractors can do work more cheaply than unionized airline employees, but one of the reasons is that Timco uses college interns to do some of their labor, especially boring jobs like seat installation. Note that unlicensed workers tinkering with airliners is completely legal so long as a licensed mechanic checks their work. Negroni reports, however, that the work was not done properly, and checks by both Timco and American employees did not discover the problems. (Her site also has some great scans of internal American service bulletins about the problem.)

Bottom line: While many businesses would have thrown their lowly interns under the proverbial (Air)bus in similar circumstances, I think it’s safe to guess that, legal or not, an airline doesn’t want to bring public attention to the fact that sometimes planes are fixed by less than experienced people.



About the Author

admin





 
 

 

CLOSED: Winter Storm Stella Takes Aim at Northeastern US and Eastern Canada

Winter Storm Stella is taking aim at the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada early this week. We'll have your latest updates on the storm and its impact on air travel here.
by NYCAviation Staff
0

 
 

DOJ’s “Collusion”: You Scratch My Airplane’s Back, I’ll Scratch Yours

The Department of Justice's charges of collusion at multiple airlines should come as no surprise to the ironic actions of none other than... The Department of Justice.
by Erika Armstrong
0

 

 

Airline Globalization’s History: Once An Advantage, Now a Threat

The debate between U.S legacy airlines and the "ME3" has been getting hotter and hotter, though airline globalization has been around since the beginning.
by John Steffen
1

 
 

American Express Opens The Centurion Lounge at Miami International Airport

In response to cardholder feedback, the new lounges offer an experience similar to the one AmEx offered in its previous partnership with American Airlines.
by Mark Lawrence
1

 
 

All Settled In: The American Airlines 787 Experience Two Weeks Later

Now that the fanfare of their initial launch has died down, what is it like to fly the new American 787? What sets this aircraft apart? Jeremy Dando explores and explains.
by Jeremy Dando
0