American Airlines Flight Sent Back to Gate After Flight Attendant Rants Over PA About Crashing
A photo from a passenger on the flight, taken around 9:15.
Update: 3:06 p.m.: CNN has a video wherein you can hear the disruption. It's embedded below.
Update, 12:30 p.m.: The flight's on the ground, but it will need to restock its alcohol supply. Details after the original.
Update, 11:23 a.m.: American has confirmed the incident, and says two flight attendants were injured. The airline's statement is after the original item.
Original item: An American Airlines flight moments from take-off at DFW was sent back to the gate this morning after a flight attendant began ranting over the PA system about the plane crashing and eventually had to be restrained by passengers and flight attendants, according to two passengers on the flight.
Flight 2332, scheduled to take off for Chicago at 8:25 a.m., was back at the gate by 9:15 as police escorted the flight attendant, kicking and screaming, to one of the several police cars that surround the plane on the tarmac, passengers say.
According to two passengers, the flight was taxiing toward take-off this morning when the flight attendant came over the PA.
"We are not taking off," she said, according to the passengers. "We're having technical difficulties. We are heading back to the gate."
Another flight attendant came on and assured the passengers: Yes, actually, we are taking off, so buckle up. But the flight attendant up front wouldn't let up. She kept going on about technical difficulties and plane crashes, the passengers say.
"Captain," she said. "I am not responsible for crashing this plane."
Passengers started yelling, asking what was going on. Flight attendants hustled through the aisles, saying nothing. A passenger from Wisconsin, who I spoke with a few minutes ago, called 911 but was ultimately hung up on. But not long after, some guys in the back of the plane, in town for a Sam's Club company meeting, walked to the front of the plane and helped restrain the flight attendant, who the passengers are hearing was "off her meds."
The plane headed back to the gate, and the cops came soon after that.
"It was just unbelievable," Bethany Christakos, a Dallas woman headed to Chicago for business, told Unfair Park from the plane, not long after it got back to the gate. "She was screaming bloody murder."
Passengers have been told to expect to be on the plane for a while. Police, TSA and FBI have all been called to the scene. Christakos said a second flight attendant was injured during the incident.
"We're going to be stuck here forever," Christakos said.
I have a call into American and will update this with their official response, or any other information that comes through, when we get it.
Update, 9:55: Forever, it turns out, wasn't as long as it could have been. No word from American, but Christakos says the flight attendant crew was swapped out for a new one, the cops are gone and the plane is about to take off. The original pilots, who never left the cockpit during or after the incident, will man the flight.
Update, 11:23: Just got this from American:
This morning Flight 2332 had left the gate at DFW bound for Chicago, when an incident occurred involving some of the cabin crew. The aircraft returned to the gate, where it was met by Department of Public Safety officers. Two flight attendants were taken to local hospitals for treatment. We continue to investigate the details and circumstances and will have no further comment at this time.
We will ensure that the affected flight attendants receive proper care, and we commend our other crew members for their assistance in quickly getting the aircraft back to the gate so that customers could be re-accommodated. Our customers were not in danger at any time.
The cabin crew was replaced. The flight departed for Chicago at 9:46 a.m., and is scheduled to land around noon. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers and we appreciate their patience and understanding.
Update, 12:28: The plane is on the ground, and Bethany Christakos, the Friend of Unfair Park who originally tipped us to the story, says the flight went smoothly, thanks to the new flight attendants' liberal pouring of booze.
"The attendants were nicer than I ever seen," she says. "They completely ran out of alcohol." They didn't announce that the bar was open, Christakos says. But "if you said, 'I want a drink,' they would just get it for you."
Update: 3:06 p.m.: A cell phone video.
She deplaned to find a message from Good Morning America on her voicemail and camera crews at the gate.