Last month, American Airlines grounded dozens of Boeing 757 airliners after passenger seats came loose on four flights. Just a few weeks earlier, another American plane, a Boeing 767, was grounded after a problem was reported with the installation of some seats, although in that case no seats came loose.
Why the seat problems?
American, like other carriers, is in the midst of reconfiguring its coach section to give more leg room to some seats.
But the airline, in trying to cut costs during bankruptcy, hired outside maintenance companies this summer for the first time to modify its cabins. And airline documents show that those workers did not understand how to properly install the seats.
The Federal Aviation Administration has opened an investigation into the seat problems. The airline has acknowledged that it is ultimately responsible for the quality of work done on its planes, whether by its workers or outside contractors.