A flight attendant frightened passengers by berating them and using crude language on a flight bound for Raleigh that was delayed for hours by thunderstorms.
One rant by flight attendant Jose Serrano aboard Flight 4607 at New Yorks LaGuardia Airport on Monday was caught on video, triggering national news coverage. Serrano was escorted from the plane, as were two passengers, but no one was arrested.
Scott and Suzanne Wood of Raleigh, who were on the plane with their three children, said some youngsters on the flight were reduced to tears.
Some kids were hyperventilating, they were crying so hard, Scott Wood said Saturday.
A video shows Serrano ordering passengers to be quiet.
I dont want to hear anything, Serrano said. We will not hear anything once we close the door. So if you have balls, this is your time. Otherwise youre going to have to fly with Jose.
He was acting like he was losing it, Scott Wood said.
Suzanne Wood said that at one point Serrano said over the intercom, This may be my last flight with American. I dont care.
American Eagle is the regional affiliate of American Airlines. An airline spokeswoman apologized for the incident.
We do not believe that the passengers frustrations were met with the level of service that we expect from our people, and for that we are truly sorry, spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said in an email.
But she also cited the disruptive behavior of several passengers as one of the reasons that the flight eventually was canceled.
The airline also released an email message from a first-class passenger on the flight who complained about a horrible display of passenger aggressiveness. The passengers name was not disclosed.
Scott Wood countered that American Airlines was trying to spin the incident in its favor.
There was no passenger aggressiveness, he said. Wood also said that passengers in the first-class section couldnt have heard Serrano confronting passengers.
Huguely also noted: Following an allegation of the scent of alcohol on the flight attendant in question, we implemented the appropriate protocol and confirmed that the allegation was incorrect.
Retired officers experience
Scott Custer, a retired Army lieutenant colonel from Fayetteville who was on board with his wife, said he complained to the captain about Serranos behavior to no avail because Serrano was acting irrationally and he feared what the flight attendant might do after the plane took off.
I had the thought if he was at 30,000 feet and opened the door because he didnt care what happens to him or us, I have two daughters who are going to be without a mother and father, Custer said.
After Custer returned to his seat, Serrano confronted him. According to Custer, his wife, Mary, then told Serrano: You smell like alcohol. Have you been drinking?
It wasnt long before Custer was humiliated when police escorted him and his wife off the plane, even though fellow passengers objected that Serrano was the source of the problem.
Custer said he has filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration and is urging people he knows to avoid flying American Airlines.
The airline said Serrano, who has worked for American Eagle for eight years, has not been suspended.
We continue to look into the matter, Huguely said.
The airline didnt disclose where Serrano resides or make him available for comment.
The flight was ultimately delayed for more than seven hours.
The Associated Press contributed.