Spilled soda, coffee culprits in AA's loose seats

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by JASON WHITELY

WFAA

Posted on October 4, 2012 at 8:09 PM

DALLAS, Texas -- American Airlines said spilled soda and coffee caused a worn mechanism to fail and seats to come unhinged from the floor on some of its Boeing 757 aircraft.

Late Thursday, American said the loose seats causing delays and cancellations this week were not the result of human or mechanical failure, as the airline once suspected.

Instead, the airline discovered that worn pins in the seat lock plunger on these 48 aircraft can get stuck in the unlocked position when coffee, soda or juice are spilled on it, essentially letting a row of seats come unhinged from their tracks in the floor.

American said it is adding additional locking mechanisms to the 5,184 pieces in questions to safely secure these seats on the 48 757s.

The repairs will be made once each aircraft lands, the airline said, and should only take a couple hours to complete.

Still, the company said "some select flights may be delayed or canceled in order to complete this work." All repairs are expected to be made by Saturday.

"We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience this may cause with their travel plans," said Andrea Huguely, American Airlines spokeswoman. "The safety of our customers and people as well as the reliability of our fleet, is always of utmost priority to American."

The FAA released a statement about the repairs Thursday afternoon.

"The FAA is aware of American's decision to conduct further inspections on certain Boeing 757s and concurs with this step," the statement read. Our safety investigation continues and we'll take additional action as appropriate."

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