American Airlines Says It Figured Out Why Its Seats Came Unbolted

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America's most beleaguered airline has finally figured out why seats on three of its flights have come loose mid-flight: someone installed the clamp the the wrong way. Feel better? "Inspectors from the airline pinpointed the cause of the problem as an improperly installed saddle clamp at the foot of the seat that helps lock the seats to the cabin floor," reports the Los Angeles Times's Hugo Martin, who adds that the clamp was used on 47 jets of American's fleet, and that the airline has already inspected 36 of them. Now that we know why seats are coming loose and as the New York Post described it, "slid around like a carnival ride," the big mystery is who's at fault and who installed them. "The issue does not seem to be tied to any one maintenance facility or one work group," said American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely in a report picked up by the AP. The LA Times's Martin reports that the seat installation was split between union workers and a contractor American used called Timco Aviation Services—American has been stuck in labor disputes with union workers and its pilots for the better part of the last year. "Problems related to seats are less likely a labor problem, but rather a management issue related to outsourcing work to third-party facilities," union representative Robert Gless said in a statement picked up by Martin, while a Timco spokesman told the AP they're still investigating the problem. 

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