AA finds more planes with potential loose seats issue

(CBS News) American Airlines pilots say they'll resume contract talks with the company this week, hoping to end a bitter labor dispute. Meanwhile, the airline has found more planes with seats that could come loose in mid-flight.

American Airlines is expected to complete its inspection of 47 of its 757 jetliners. Their concern is a problem with seats not adequately attached to the floor. So far, American reports it has found a total of six planes with the problem - all of the jets cleared maintenance checks before takeoff.

After inspecting nearly half of its active Boeing 757 fleet, American Airlines now says it knows why seats have been coming loose mid-flight. Tuesday, the company blamed a device known as a saddle clamp, which is used to secure a row of three seats to the 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."

Loose seats latest headache for American Airlines
AA says faulty clamps caused loose seats

The first incident occurred last Wednesday on a flight from Vail, Colo., to Dallas. Mechanics thought they'd fixed it but the problem resurfaced Saturday on the same plane, flying from Boston to Miami.

From audio of the incident, an airline employee can be heard saying, "The seat is loose and we don't want that thing flying around and hurting the passengers behind them."

American says it hasn't been able to link the issue to one maintenance facility, but the company has ruled out sabotage. Campbell said, "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."

Despite the company's ongoing labor dispute, travel experts still are not telling passengers to steer clear of the airline.

Rick Seaney, of FareCompare.com, said, "I can tell you personally I have pre-booked for Thanksgiving and Christmas on American. I don't feel uncomfortable about it. If you ask me in three weeks and they still haven't solved this labor issue, I might get a little more uncomfortable."

The two planes that had the original problem are now back in service. American Airlines says no passengers have been injured in any of those incidents.

Watch Manuel Bojorquez's report in the video above.

  • Manuel Bojorquez

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