Because American Airlines doesn’t need any more 757 jetliners hitting the air with loosey-goosey seats slip-sliding around, the company has been busily conducting inspections of its fleet to get to the bottom of the problem. In just the last week, three American Airlines flights had to make emergency landings due to seats becoming unbolted in mid-air.
American is close to completing inspections on 47 of its fleet of 757s and thus far has found six planes with the loose seat problem. All of those planes had been cleared by maintenance before taking off, reports CBS News.
The problem seems to lie in how the seats were installed, and American Airlines is placing the blame on a piece of equipment called the saddle clamp, a tool used to fasten rows of three seats to the plane’s floor.
David Campbell, vice president for Safety and Security of American Airlines, told CBS News, “We believe we’ve isolated it down to the attach points and how those attach points ultimately are installed.”
“The failure has come after both contract and our own internal maintenance, so finding what’s causing that failure whether mechanical or human failure is really we’re trying to do.”
The company has ruled out sabotage, even if it can’t quite figure out if the maintenance issues are all stemming from one facility or multiple locations.
Travel experts are urging consumers not to balk at booking with American Airlines in the midst of the company’s labor disputes and problems with its planes. Unless, of course, those problems don’t get cleared up soon. If we’re still talking about seats coming loose and pilots staging sick-outs a month from now, that’ll be a different story.