MEMPHIS, Tenn. — American Airlines is in the spotlight because of an incident that was partly caught on video a couple of weeks ago. It happened when a New Jersey family’s flight got redirected to Memphis International Airport.
The family consists of Theresia Tirado, her husband, and their two sons. She says one of their bags didn’t make it to the airport. So they went to customer service and asked an attendant where it was. She claims he wasn’t helpful.
“And my husband said you’re basically useless to us,” Tirado said.
She says the attendant got angry and, for some reason, started ranting about how his children are doctors and lawyers. That’s when Tirado’s husband told him he was a police officer.
“And he said, ‘You’re a cop. That means you’re a killer.”
Her husband started recording after that. In the video, you hear the attendant say, “He might kill me.”
Tirado responds, “Seriously? That is the most offensive thing ever.”
“He might kill me because he’s a police officer who called me useless,” the attendant says back.
“Just to hear somebody say your husband’s a killer, especially in front of our two little boys… It was sad.” Tirado said.
American Airlines won’t tell us if the employee was reprimanded, but did release a statement. In part, it says, “What we see in the video is extremely concerning: In our culture, every interaction with a customer or team member should be grounded in respect. That’s not what we saw here.”
Tirado says American Airlines took her initial complaint when it happened but didn’t follow up until she shared the video on Twitter today. The airline simply told us it’s talking with the family now. Tirado wants the employee in question to apologize to them.
We tried to track down that employee for comment, but American Airlines wouldn’t release his name. The airline did say that it’s taking steps to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.
UPDATE: Tirado spoke with WREG again today. She said American called her today and told her the employee in question would receive more customer service training. She says she is now pleased with how American is handling her complaint.