Union chief supports American Airlines attendant who hit mom with a stroller

The president of the flight attendants association have come out in support an American Airlines attendant accused of ''violently'' snatching away a baby stroller from a mother, and in the process, hitting her with it, and narrowly missing her small child on a Dallas-bound flight from San Francisco on Friday.

Bob Ross, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, said in a media statement that an upset male passenger who confronted the attendant, captured on a video posted on Facebook, had got it wrong.

Ross said the passenger ''may have threatened a flight attendant with violence, which is a violation of federal law and no small matter.''

The 2-minute, 40-second video taken by passenger Surain Adyanthaya began apparently moments following the incident with the stroller. It showed the young woman holding a child and sobbing at the front of the plane as passengers were boarding flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The airline acted swiftly and said in a statement that it had ''removed from duty'' the male team member ''and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts.''

The airlines said the woman tried to bring a double-wide stroller down the aisle of a single-aisle A321, television station WFAA reported.

According to commentators, in an age of cellphone videos and social media, airlines were learning the hard way that it was essential to de-escalate tense situations that occurred during air travel, even as there were more passengers, less room and fewer flight attendants than ever before.

The incident comes after a video of a man being violently dragged off a United Express had led to widespread outrage.

United initially blamed its passenger, Dr David Dao, before apologising days after the incident (See: Shock waves over United Airlines' violent 'bumping' of passenger).

On the other hand American had learned from United's mistakes: It immediately said it was sorry , and had grounded the flight attendant while it investigated the incident. It added it had upgraded the passenger involved and her family to first class.

"American doesn't want to become the next United, but then, United didn't want to become the next United," said Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group, Southeast Missourian reported. "No airline wants to be seen as being anti-consumer or anti-passenger."