Airline service is in the spotlight yet again this week after another video of an incident with passengers has gone viral.
The latest involves Delta Air Lines, now in the spotlight after videos posted by TMZ show a pilot striking a passenger in the jetway for one of the airline’s flights.
But there’s some context needed in explaining the latest in a string of viral videos that have made the airline industry’s treatment of customers a hot topic in recent weeks.
The incident involving the Delta pilot came as he intervened to break up a group of women that began brawling in the jetway. The video shows the pilot trying to halt the fracas, hitting one of the women in his attempt before walking away.
The incident occurred on April 21 in Atlanta, but was just shared via video on April 29 by TMZ, The New York Times reports.
While the video appeared jarring to some, it was later explained that the pilot acted as he did because one of the women had the other in a choke-hold and the pilot acted out of concern for the safety of that woman, media reports suggest.
Delta confirmed there was an incident, saying the pilot was initially suspended while it investigated but has since been reinstated.
“We became aware of this incident and a video last week and immediately removed the pilot from duty while we completed a thorough investigation,” Delta spokesoman Brian Kruse said in a statement to The Washington Post. “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 de-escalated an altercation between passengers on the Jetway floor during deplaning.”
Ordinarily, the background to the story would seem to make it one of low news value. But that’s not the case in the wake of the April 9 passenger-dragging incident on United Express Flight 3411.
That incident, where passenger David Dao was bloodied as security personnel removed him from a full flight to make room for “must-fly” crew members, sparked a firestorm of controversy that still has yet to fully subside.
United CEO Oscar Munoz is expected to testify in front of Congress on Tuesday at a hearing Tuesday with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he’s likely to face a hostile session.
Since the Flight…