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American Airlines too cheap to keep seats bolted down? (Video)

Remember American Airlines becoming the butt of jokes and suffering worldwide bad publicity earlier this fall when seats on three different flights in one week became loose during flight?

Now there's a report out that the incidents occurred because the airline was trying to cut costs by outsourcing installation work to third-party maintenance companies rather than pay AA employees to do the job.

The result? "Airline documents show that those workers did not understand how to properly install the seats," according to The New York Times.

On one hand, AA says it would never risk passenger safety. But at the same time the airline also insists must outsource to cut costs.

The head of the union that represents the airline's mechanics says AA can't have it both ways: “You can’t have just anyone doing that maintenance,” Larry Pike, president of the Transportation Workers Union Local 567, told the Times. “You can’t pull over in the sky and fix something if you hear something go thump.”

Making matters worse for AA is that it has changed its story since the seat snafu first came to light in October.

As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the seat saga -- which goes deeper than just a few loose bolts. According to the Times:

The F.A.A. is looking into whether the contractors’ work was properly supervised by American, according to several people with knowledge of the investigation. It is also investigating the rewiring of arm rest controls and the relocation of overhead lights and oxygen masks — which had to be done along with moving the seats — because some of that work was not done correctly, these people said.

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