Spilled ‘gunk’ blamed for planes’ loose seats

Posted at 3:21 PM, Oct 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-05 15:21:00-04

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

(CNN) — For all those air travelers wondering what might have caused seats on three American Airlines flights to come loose in recent days, the answer may lie in their own hands.

It turns out passengers spilling soda and coffee “gunked up” the seat locking mechanism over time on certain planes, American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said Friday.

That “gunk” affected the track on the ground “that locks the seats to the aircraft floor,” she said.

“We are taking extra steps to ensure that the seats do not dislodge from the track.”

Seats on at least three American Airlines flights have become loose recently, unnerving passengers in the latest of a string of woes for American. The airline has also been beset in recent months by labor troubles, delays and flight cancellations.

– CNN’s Carma Hassan contributed to this report.