United, American airlines viral video passengers hire same attorney

The lawyer representing the man dragged out of his seat and off a United Airlines flight two weeks ago is now representing the mother seen sobbing with her babies on an American Airlines flight Friday night.

It's sparked conversation about the airline industry and whether flight attendants are taking their jobs too far.

An airlines expert told FOX 4 these experiences are rare, and both the flight crew and passengers are at fault.

A passenger on board shot the now-famous video of a mother with two babies sobbing on an American Airlines flight from San Francisco to Dallas Friday.

A passenger said just before the recording started, a flight attendant hit the woman with the stroller, just missing her child.

Yet another passenger, Tony Fierro, gets into a verbal altercation with the flight attendant.

"You do that to me and I'll knock you flat," Fierro is heard saying in the video.

"Hit me. Bring it on,” the flight attendant is heard replying.

Fierro, an insurance agent in Rockwall, has been hailed a hero by some on Twitter.

One Twitter user said, "AA passenger defender! True hero! Thank you sir for standing up to that flight attendant who bullied that mom..."

Others disagree.

"What a jerk. Threatening to flatten a flight attendant. ON A PLANE! C'mon."

Mark Drusch is a former airline executive turned consultant. He is Vice President of Airlines ICF.

“I understand why the passenger felt he had to step forward,” Drusch said. “You have to step forward in a constructive manner, not in a manner that further escalates the tension.”

Drusch said both the crew and passengers are at fault for how the situation escalated, beginning with the flight attendant, if he did, in fact, hit the woman with the stroller.

“He should've immediately apologized, 'I am so sorry, ma'am. Let me help you. Let me take care of this,'” Drusch said. “Passengers, remember, the captain is in charge. He doesn't need you at that stage acting like Rambo.”

Drusch also noted that the captain had the right, under federal law, to remove Fierro.

“That passenger was in danger of being arrested, quite honestly,” Drusch said. “If the captain had decided that passenger was that kind of a risk, that would've happened.”

American said, in part, that the video does not reflect its values or how it cares for customers.

The flight attendant’s union released a statement over the weekend that stated, in part, that their job has become more challenging "due to tight schedules, overcrowded planes, shrinking seats and limited overhead bin space."

Drusch said, that's nothing new since 9/11 and that we all fly with a heightened sense of anxiety.

“I think it's really a bigger issue and the issue is that travel has become overall much more stressful,” Drusch said.

As for the mother and her babies, American Airlines got them on another flight and upgraded them to first class for the remainder of their travel abroad.

The flight attendant involved in the confrontation has been suspended.