The FAA is investigating an incident that occurred Monday on American Eagle flight 4607 from LaGuardia to Raleigh-Durham airport. Jose Serrano, a flight attendant on the plane, reamed out passengers via intercom after the flight was delayed five hours due to weather, the New York Post reports.
Passengers boarded the scheduled 1:25 p.m. flight around 4 p.m. because of weather in the area. The flight was then 20th in line for take off. After 40 minutes, the plane's pilot turned back to the gate to refuel, setting off already angry passengers. It wasn't until after 6 p.m. that passengers were able to reboard the plane, which still didn't leave the gate, according to The Post.
“People were getting really amped up at this point,” passenger Jon Wurster told The Post. “It took forever to get back on the plane. The fuses were getting pretty low.”
Enter Jose Serrano.
Serrano got on the intercom (watch the video above) and started yelling at the passengers, saying "If anyone has the balls to want to get off, I’ll let you get off! Get off!” Some passengers claim Serrano said: “I don’t care anymore. This is probably my last flight."
Passenger David Abels claims Serrano made his 9-year-old daughter cry. "Obviously someone doesn’t know how to keep their cool when their whole job is to keep their cool in a pressured situation,” passenger Maxine Kozler Koven told CBS News.
Veteran Scott Custer told The Post: “I’ve been in five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ve been in combat and I’ve never felt anxiety like I did sitting on that plane."
Several passengers said they smelled alcohol on Serrano's breath, The Post reports. Airline spokesman Ed Martelle said that Serrano had not been given a breathalyzer test.
Authorities boarded the plane, questioning witnesses and Serrano, who was removed from the flight. Dallas' WFAA reports that passengers on the flight emailed the airline saying that Serrano was berated by frustrated passengers who wanted free flights. The airline also claims to have emails from a first class passenger who claims that fellow passengers were displaying "the most horrible display of passenger aggressiveness" toward Serrano, reports ABC News.
No arrests were made and the flight was eventually canceled at 8 p.m. Law enforcement officials claim the flight was canceled because the plane did not have the required number of flight attendants since Serrano had been removed for questioning. Yet American Eagle stated the flight was canceled due to weather; American Eagle policy states that the airline is not liable for hotel expenses for passengers if a flight has been rescheduled or canceled due to weather.
Airline spokesman Ed Martelle said that the airline is investigating the incident. “From what we can determine, this is just kind of a group dynamic that got out of control because of weather delays and things like that. He has been with the company for six years and has an exemplary record. And basically, it appears that the situation with the passengers became so intense that he actually began to cry.”
The incident recalls the famous Steven Slater outburst on JetBlue in August 2010, when the flight attendant grabbed some beers and jumped down the emergency exit chute at JFK airport. In March of this year, a female flight attendant on American Airlines started ranting about a possible crash on the plane's intercom.