American Airlines Plane Almost Hit By Out Of Control Catering Truck

An American Airlines aircraft had a lucky escape yesterday after an out of control catering truck went wild. Perhaps thinking it was at a rodeo, the cart was spinning in circles uncontrollably. Thankfully, just before it was too late, some quick thinking by a nearby member of staff averted disaster.

American Airlines, Catering, Golf Cart
A tug operator saved the day yesterday when control of a golf cart was lost. Photo: American Airlines

I’ve written about some fairly bizarre happenings for Simple Flying. From the Korean Air flight emptied because fans had no intention of flying to Bahrain’s sunken Boeing 747 which is set to become a diving hotspot. However, this story really takes the biscuit. Thankfully the person who posted the original story is aware of the “photo or it didn’t happen” rule, otherwise, I may not have believed it myself.

What happened?

The incident seems to have involved an American Air aircraft, several members of American Airlines ground staff, and a rogue golf cart. It appears as though the golf cart was being utilised to deliver beverages to the unidentified American Airlines flight.

American Airlines, Catering, Golf Cart
American Airlines ground crew were forced to think quickly to save the aircraft. Photo: American Airlines

However, the cart got stuck in reverse. Rather than driving in a straight line, the steering became engaged. As such, the cart span around and around, edging ever closer to the aircraft in question.

I estimate that the cart was about one more spin from hitting the aircraft when a member of ground crew intervened. The tug operator on the stand heroically drove his tug into the runaway cart. The cart was then brought to a halt, and possibly into retirement.

The whole incident was captured by Kevin Klauer, the Chief Executive Officer at the American Osteopathic Association, who posted it to their Twitter account:

What could have happened?

From the video above, it looks as though the aircraft in question was an Embraer Regional Jet. Depending on the model of ERJ, new list prices can range upwards of $50 million. Had the golf cart struck the aircraft it could’ve done a fair bit of damage, taking the aircraft out of service.

Instead, the golf cart was taken out by a tug. According to Golf Cart Report, a new golf cart costs from $4,000-$15,000. The cost of a dead cart is likely to be significantly less than the cost of repairs to the nose of an aircraft. Additionally, taking the golf cart out of service will have a much more limited effect on overall operations than taking an aircraft out of operation.

Did you witness the incident? Was ramming the golf cart with a tug the right thing to do? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Well done. Nice article Tom. Speaking of planes and getting hit on the ground…(sigh) I can relate. I was working the ramp for a catering company – a second job I had at the airport when I was hungry to work. Got some new guys and this FNG who had his license to drive, went out with me – so I could show him the ropes. He was talking all the time how he had driven tanks overseas and this was nothing for him, blah blah blah… Long story short, we pulled up to service a 777 and I got… Read more »