Good news for travelers flying American Airlines: The airline said it has identified a solution to loose seats aboard its aircraft, a problem that’s plagued the airline over the last week. In a statement, American said it expects to have the problems corrected by as early as this weekend.
“We have identified the issue and our maintenance teams are securing an FAA-approved locking mechanism to make sure no seat can be dislodged,” Andrea Huguely, a spokesperson for the airline said.
As for what caused the issue, American said it’s attributable to “gunk” from spilled coffee, teas, and sodas that collect on the carpeting surrounding the seat locking mechanism, and over time, affects the track that keeps the seats to the ground.
The airline says repairs on 40 of 48 of the affected aircraft have been made, and it expects to have all of its 757 jets back in service by Saturday.
Despite having resolved the issue, American Airlines customers could still see a kink in their travel plans for the early part of the weekend. In total, the airline canceled 94 flights scheduled for the end of this week, 44 of those were set to depart Friday.
The airline first became aware of this issue when seats became loose on a flight from Vail, Colorado, to Dallas on September 26. The issue resurfaced on the 29th when three seats came loose aboard a Miami-bound flight, which was then diverted from Boston to JFK.
Loose seats are just the latest problem in a string of incidents for the airline including flight cancellations and delays American blamed on a battle with its pilots union. Additionally, the airline is still operating under bankruptcy protection and is attempting to fend off a potential takeover by US Airways Group.