In a spring of airline service debacles gone viral, yet another one is in the national spotlight, this time involving a Delta Air Lines pilot in an incident at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
In a video initially posted by TMZ late last week, a Delta pilot intervened during a fist fight between two women brawling in a jetway at Hartsfield-Jackson on April 21.
In the video, the pilot could be seen trying to stop the fight, striking one of the women in the face, before walking away.
Delta officials confirmed that an incident did occur, and said that while the pilot was initially suspended during an internal investigation, he has since been reinstated.
They released a statement to 11Alive News:
We became aware of this incident and a video last week and immediately removed the pilot from duty while we completed a thorough investigation. Local law enforcement was called to respond at the time of the incident. The pilot has since been returned to work as our investigation found that his actions deescalated an altercation between passengers on the jetway floor during deplaning.
Authorities with the Atlanta Police Department have not responded to a request from 11Alive News for details on the incident.
The story, in and of itself, is one that would get a bit of attention, but not be a significant one, but in the wake of the larger story involving the dragging of United Express passenger David Dao in Chicago on April 9, the overall treatment of air passengers has come under major scrutiny.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz is expected to testify in front of Congress on Tuesday with the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he is very likely to face a hostile reception.
On an American Airlines flight in late April, an onboard confrontation between a flight attendant and a passenger over a stroller escalated after the attendant nearly struck the child with the stroller while telling the mother she could not have the stroller on board the plane.
And just last week, United came under further scrutiny for the death of a giant rabbit - a contender for the title of the world's largest - which was being transported on one of its flights. Additionally, United allegedly had damaged golf clubs belonging to Australian professional golfer Matt Goggin.
Goggin tweeted a picture of his broken clubs, adding: "I was going to complain, but I'm a little intimidated by @united" - an apparent reference to the David Dao incident.
Munoz, who has since been contrite after offering an initial apology that was criticized as falling short, said in an interview with USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky blog that such scrutiny is something the carrier will now have to deal with.
"It is what it is," Munoz said about extra attention now being paid to United's customer service. "We put ourselves in the spotlight. So, we have to manage it as best as possible."
USA Today contributed to this report.
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