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Aviation Expert: AA Flight Attendants Under Major Stress

DFW AIRPORT (CBSDFW.COM) - A flight attendant's nervous breakdown aboard an American Airlines jet is calling attention to how flight crews handle stress.

Passengers on board the flight from DFW to Chicago described hearing their flight attendant's frightening tirade as their plane was preparing for take-off.

"She spoke about 9/11," said Brad LeClair.

"She said she would not be responsible for the plane crashing," said Greg Lozano.

Several passengers say she told them she had a medical condition. "She said 'oh I forgot to take my meds,' said Luann Webber.

"She was in a manic state. She mentioned things about being bipolar,' said LeClair, who tried to help calm her.

Aviation expert Denny Kelly says unless her psychological issue was obvious, the airline was likely unaware. "The pilots have very stringent physical requirements, the flight attendants really have none," said Kelly.

Kelly says the FAA doesn't require any psychological testing for flight attendants, who can deal with stressful situations in the air. "Number one reason they're there is safety," he said.

With American Airlines in bankruptcy negotiations, though, the stress on employees may only be growing.

"The conversation between American employees is 90% - what's gonna happen to me? What's gonna happen to the company?" said Kelly.

Travelers at DFW expressed suspicion all that pressure could have played role in Friday's incident.
"She wasn't too excited about what was happening with American Airlines. That was my first thought," said Robert Smith.

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