AA blames loose seats on improperly installed clamps

Sources: Seats moved to give passengers more leg room, incorrectly reinstalled

Author: Roger Lohse, Reporter, rlohse@Local10.com
Published On: Oct 02 2012 12:57:39 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 03 2012 12:31:40 AM EDT
MIAMI -

Officials with American Airlines said its recent problems with loose seats have occurred four times on the same two planes.

American Airlines has been dealing with the problem for nearly a week. The airline reported the problem happening four times, including three times during flights, on two different planes. Two of those flights were headed to Miami International Airport.

After the first incident, maintenance crews tightened the bolts only for the seats to become dislodged again. A passenger onboard a flight that had to make an emergency landing at New York's JFK Airport called the incident "chaotic."

American Airlines said the problem seems to be isolated to its fleet of 757s. It has re-inspected 47 planes since the incidents, releasing a statement saying, in part: ÔÇťAmerican's internal investigation has focused on one of three types of Main Cabin seats on the 757s and how the rows of these three seats fit into the track that is used to secure the rows to the floor of the airplanes. Our maintenance and engineering teams have discovered that the root cause is a saddle clamp improperly installed on the foot of the row leg. These clamps were used on only 47 of our 102 Boeing 757 airplanes.

READ: American Airlines statement | Statement on loose seats |

American said a team of mechanics and engineers is inspecting all 47 planes and in some cases replacing the faulty saddle clamps.

According to sources, the work was done by a private maintenance contractor hired by American Airlines because of the recent layoffs under the bankruptcy reorganization. The seats were recently rearranged to give passengers more leg room and were not reinstalled correctly.

An American Airlines spokesperson said Monday that the airline doesn't believe that either incident is related to the ongoing labor issues.

The FAA has also launched an investigation.