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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  • susan

    fliight attendants go through a yearly “refresher” course on emergency procedures,which covers all of the things they learn in “basic training”..if mental health, and stress is considered to be a problematic part of the job, then possibly the faa should require some form of psychological testing at least every few years to assure a flight attendant has not “gone over the edge” so to speak…all of the aa employees,not just the flight attendants are worried about the fate of aa and their jobs, and that in itself with the economy as it is, causes worries, and thus a little stress..this woman obviously had some issues prior to this incident..

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  • LA

    The stress, anxiety, and depression are more widespread than any Airline Executive would acknowledge. There is little very little concern for airline employees by all carrriers now. They focus on making money and their employees have become only necessary evils. Airline execs (except for Icahn and a couple others) always cared about the health and welfare of their employees. I’ve seen many changes in the industry in the last 44 years. I’ve been through the good times, the bad times, and the somewhat hopeless times. There are employees from every group, pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and flight dispatchers that come under pressure every day as part of their jobs. Trust me, unless the Companies are forced to do something about mental health screening, it won’t happen. I speak from experience, I’ve been dealing with mental health issues for over the last 7 years. My Company knows it, we have had people go out on disability due to job stress. What have they done to address it? Not a thing. Eventually, people going through mental distress are going to crack. It’s just a matter of how and when. I feel for this flight attendant. Those people that have never been through the mental health issues, could never understand how it affects people. Not just on the job, but in every aspect of their lives. People is safety sensitive positions should have some type of psychological support from their employers.

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  • Nunya

    I’m speechless at the behavior of the passengers! Laughing & taking video of this flight attendant while she is having a nervous breakdown & clearly in distress…what has this world come to? Sick!!!

  • susan

    nunya..you obviously did not read,nor hear the comments by passengers on board the aircraft..they were not laughing at her, but she was scraming and the video phones came out so that they could actually record what they were hearing..they were frightened because of the rants she made on the pa system..its not a matter of” what has this world come to..sick.”.its a matter of fear for your own safety after all of the incidents with aircraft in the past..how were they to know what her mental or physical condition was unless they were at the front of the aircraft??your” righteous indignation” is not well placed here…

  • Nunya

    susan…check out the rest of the videos floating around & you’ll see better examples.

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