Cut the Stroller-Gate Flight Attendant Some Slack

Cut the Stroller-Gate Flight Attendant Some Slack

A segment of the flying (and non-flying) public was quick to throw all objectivity to the wind once the well known “stroller-gate” video took off through social media. In the video, a flight attendant reacted when a passenger threatened — “Hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat”. The passenger then practically charged the flight attendant, forcing him to walk backwards towards the cockpit.

Was the flight attendant’s demeanor ideal? Well, let’s ask ourselves a quick question. How “ideal” would anyone’s response be after being threatened physically while performing their job? The ideal response would be a smile and a “Thank you for flying American”, but how realistic is it to expect that in this situation? He would have most likely been labeled as a smart aleck.

Although the video only captured the tail end of the situation, the mother’s tears artfully brought about enough sympathy and anger to cause on first class passenger to get up out of his seat and physically threaten the male flight attendant who’d been accused of “nearly” hitting the woman’s baby with the stroller.

The moment a first class passenger threatens the flight attendant

Incidentally, it’s probably safe to say that the same  stroller has come close to hitting this sweet baby’s head on many occasions during normal handling by the mother herself. An eyewitness says the near-miss with the stroller never actually occurred and those who say the stroller struck the mother, say it did so due to her own efforts to prevent the flight attendant from removing it from the aircraft.

See my post on Facebook for another eyewitness account

The stroller, which was not supposed to be brought onboard the aircraft per carry-on policy, was being taken off of the aircraft by the flight attendant in order for it to be placed in the plane’s cargo hold.

In the video, the mother asked for her stroller back as she sobbed. Her well-behaved baby couldn’t have been in a more pleasant mood; completely unfazed by the hysterics.

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Points to consider:

  • A flight attendant’s duties include seeing that safety guidelines are adhered to by passengers.
  • An airline’s policies are approved by the FAA and then the airline is obligated to implement and enforce these policies on every flight they operate. Fines may be imposed on airlines and flight crew personally for not doing so.
  • Strollers must be checked according to American’s policy. This stroller had reportedly been tagged, yet the passenger tried her luck at bringing it on board anyway.
  • The only account of the situation represented in the video is that of the woman who did not want to check her stroller.
  • Interfering with crew member duties and/or intimidating flight crew members is a federal offense. The male passenger, who threatened the flight attendant, was not only breaking the law but choosing to do so without all of the information.

Flight attendants have found themselves being the bearers of bad news — the ones left to break it to passengers that there are no meals, no pillows, no blankets and no room for their carry-ons. Those who don’t travel often sometimes blame the flight attendants when the decisions to do away with amenities and services are made in the boardroom.

The policies enforced by crew-members on a daily basis actually prevent injury and save lives. Imagine a passenger’s carry on bag, not properly stowed, preventing someone from escaping a burning aircraft in an evacuation. Too far fetched? Then try this; imagine a stroller falling from an overhead bin and hitting the passenger seated below in the head.

At least we know of one flight that didn’t happen on!


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