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American Airlines to address safety concerns over loose seats

Many people share a fear of flying and it's easy to understand why. Cruising high above the ground in a contained space can make the thought of a technical malfunction especially daunting. American Airlines is currently dealing with these concerns as it repairs a problem affecting dozens of its aircraft.

Last week American Airlines was forced to ground 48 planes when rows of seats failed to properly lock into plane floors. The problem has raised aviation safety concerns around the airline's Boeing 767s, which are wide-body planes used primarily on international flights.

Now the airline plans to modify seats on 49 additional planes with the same problem. Earlier this month, two 767s had seats come loose during flights. No other mid-flight incidents have occurred but American is reinforcing the seat's locking mechanisms as a precaution. Concern over the defect forced American Americans to cancel at least 94 flights.

The airline explained the defect, saying that over time the pins that attach the seats to the floor had become "gummed up" from dirt and spilled beverages over time. The airline had to remove and reinstall the seats, which may have caused the loosening issue to appear sooner.

The airline will finish working on the seats by October 21. Repairs will be done overnight and should not disrupt any further flights or cause additional cancellations. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the airline's plan for repairs but will allow it to continue flying planes that have not yet been repaired.

This has raised alarms among some air safety experts, who have said loose seats could be disastrous in an otherwise survivable crash. If seats break loose from the plane floor, they could move about the cabin, hurting the people sitting in them and other who may be in the seat's path.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an aviation accident, it is wise to speak with a personal injury attorney with experience in similar matters.

Source: The Washington Post, "American Airlines will modify seats on more planes to prevent rows from coming loose in flight," Oct. 14, 2012

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