The Allied Pilots Association (APA) has responded to an October 2 ABC News story in which a passenger questioned an American Airlines captain’s decision to return to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) after declaring an emergency. The passenger suggested that the emergency might simply be another labor jab at American management rather than a true emergency.
According to the union, the MD-80 crew received an unsafe gear indication after takeoff that made them believe the right main gear had not fully retracted. The unsafe light remained on after the crew recycled the gear. The crew declared an emergency and instructed flight attendants to prepare the cabin for landing.
The APA’s statement said the decision on whether or not to use the brace position during such an event is left to the discretion of the cabin attendants, who, in this case, decided to err on the side of caution, asking passengers to assume the brace position before touchdown.
The aircraft landed without further incident.
“While we recognize that everyone is entitled to their opinion, we hope that all of American Airlines’ passengers understand that for our pilots, safety is paramount and will not be compromised,” added the APA statement.