By Alana Wise
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The woman who clashed with an American Airlines flight attendant has secured the services of the same attorney representing Dr. David Dao, who was dragged from a United Airlines plane earlier this month.
Chicago attorney Thomas Demetrio told NBC that the unidentified mother shown distraught after an American flight attendant took away her stroller on a flight on Friday was not hit by the stroller, and her baby was not hit, either.
Videos of the incidents, widely shared on social media, have sparked outrage over the way U.S. airlines treat passengers. U.S. lawmakers had called for hearings following the United incident. Federal regulators also are investigating the United incident.
American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott said on Monday that the company had been in direct contact with the woman throughout the weekend. The carrier had no comment on Demetrio representing the woman.
American Airlines removed the flight attendant from duty and apologised to the woman and her family.
Demetrio said the woman from the more recent incident, which happened before takeoff of American Flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas, had reached out to seek his counsel.
The circumstances of the American Airlines case are not clear.
American typically does not allow strollers in the passenger cabin. It requires that passengers check small strollers at the gate. Large strollers that weigh more than 20 lbs (9 kg) or that cannot be folded up are supposed to be checked at the ticket counter, according to the company's policies.
The carrier has said it is investigating the incident.
Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya, who posted a video of the incident, wrote that the flight attendant had forcefully taken the stroller from the woman.
The video begins after the initial confrontation, showing the woman crying and an unidentified man standing and yelling at the flight attendant: "You do that to me and I'll knock you flat." The crew member then points his finger and challenges the passenger to hit him and the man eventually returns to his seat.
Bob Ross, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents flight attendants at American Airlines, said that there were two sides to the story and "neither the company nor the public should rush to judgment."
"We don’t know all of the facts related to a passenger who became distraught while boarding a plane," Ross said in a statement on Saturday. "Second, it appears another passenger may have threatened a flight attendant with violence, which is a violation of federal law and no small matter."
(Reporting by Alana Wise, Timothy Mclaughlin and Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)