Nightly News | October 01, 2012
>>> hands. and the faa is investigating after rows of passenger seats became loose in flight, and that's not supposed to happen. one passenger said it was like a carnival ride . it comes at a rough time already for american. an awful month of delays, and now fears that their customers will make other plans. our report tonight from nbc's tom costello.
>> reporter: more trouble for american airlines . first, a boston to miami flight had to make an emergency landing sunday after several rows of seats came loose. the airline says new seats had been installed and the track may have been defective, forcing the pilots to radio in an emergency.
>> during climbout, rows, passenger seats rows 12 "d," "e" and "f" came loose out of the floor. passengers are unable to sit in that seat.
>> reporter: then today more seats came loose on a new york to miami flight that had to turn back. the airline is now pro-actively inspecting six more 757s. yet another black eye as the bankrupt airlines on-time arrival numbers plunged from 22% in september 2011 to just 58% this september. compared to 86% at southwest. and 88% at delta. american blames the slowdown on union pilots writing up trivial maintenance issues. the pilots blame the airlines' old planes. but passengers are losing their patience. from chicago --
>> if they don't fly i don't have a status on another airline. so it's a big issue for me.
>> reporter: to miami .
>> shakes my confidence as a passenger, that i'm going to be able to get to my destination on time.
>> reporter: american is concerned that all of this is starting to dodge its brand. just as it makes a major investment in planes. replacing the oldest fleet in the country with what it promises will be the youngest fleet in the country.
>> i think for american airlines time is of the essence . you're only as good as your last flight on airlines. people still have choices.
>> reporter: so far there's no sign of a slowdown on holiday bookings, but that could change. meanwhile, today an american pilot insisted the airline is still very safe.
>> you know, if i wouldn't put my kids on the airplane, i wouldn't put your kids on the airplane. and i still always feel like when i go to work, hey, i could put my kids on the airplane and we're going to be safe.
>> reporter: in a bottom-line business, that may be the real bottom line . tom costello, nbc news, miami .