BY PRESCOTTE STOKES III
American Airlines is investigating after a 1-year-old boy was hit in the head by an oxygen tank that fell from the ceiling during a flight to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
According to the toddler’s mother, 33-year-old Jennifer Zanone of Denver, the incident occurred on American Airlines flight AA126 traveling from Hong Kong to DFW around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Zanone said that upon landing, an entire ceiling panel, including a tank full of oxygen, fell onto the head of her son, who was sitting on her lap in seat 35L. She said they were directed to wait for a gate agent to document the incident but that no one appeared.
“We stood there waiting for an agent and our stroller until the captain himself walked off the flight and apologized to us,” said Zanone. “After leaving the gate area, we went to the next customer service area to try to report the incident and were given the runaround for an hour and a half. While the apologies were appreciated, documentation of the incident would have been preferred.”
In an email statement, American Airlines stated that its flight attendants offered to request medical personnel upon arrival but that the request was declined by Zanone.
“American’s primary concern is for the Zanone family and their young child. Our customer relations team has spoken with Mrs. Zanone to offer additional support and obtain details of what transpired at Dallas/Fort Worth yesterday. Customers trust us to take care of them and we take that responsibility seriously,” the statement said.
Zanone said she did decline medical assistance but grew frustrated by what she perceived as a lack of response by the airline after arrival.
“We were offered medical assistance immediately following the incident and we did decline because I didn’t know what the medic could do on site with a jet-lagged, exhausted child, so I chose to monitor himself until I could get him back to his own doctor,” said Zanone.
She said after she posted an image of the fallen ceiling panel to Twitter, the airline responded to her on social media.
“They called me this morning (Sunday) simply saying that they would email me more info. I have not received any emails at this time so I am not certain what additional assistance we were offered,” said Zanone.
In the email statement, the airline said that the aircraft was inspected and repaired by its DFW Tech Ops team. The plane was put back in service on Saturday night.
“Our Dallas/Fort Worth and Tech Ops teams are also working to gather more information and facts surrounding this unfortunate incident,” the statement said.
Zanone has returned home to Denver, and she said her son appears to be OK. She said she has not filed a lawsuit against the airline and is hoping to get a resolution worked out soon.
“He is acting himself today,” Zanone said. “All I want is for documentation of the incident, which the flight attendant assured me would be performed.”