American Eagle Flight Attendant Breaks Ankle In Turbulence

A flight attendant onboard an American Eagle flight for American Airlines has broken their ankle as the aircraft was coming into land at Philadelphia. The accident was caused by severe turbulence.

American Airlines
The tail of an American Eagle E145. Photo: Cory W. Watts via Flickr

What are the details?

American Airlines flight AA-4797 was inbound on its normal route from Columbia (South Carolina) to Philadelphia when the aircraft hit unexpected turbulence. The incident was initially reported by Aviation Herald.

Specifically, the Embraer ERJ-145 was descending from around 7,000 feet into Philadelphia’s runway 27R. However, a surprise patch of turbulence threw a flight attendant off their feet and caused them to come down hard on their ankle.

This caused a fracture and resulted in the flight attendant being unable to complete their preparations for landing. The aircraft was otherwise unaffected by the turbulence and had an uneventful landing around fifteen minutes later.

Flight Aware
The flight path. Photo: Flight Aware

What has been reported?

According to the FAA, the captain filed the incident as an aircraft accident with the fracture on the right-hand ankle serious enough to warrant a hospital visit.

It is unknown what the flight attendant was doing during the surprise turbulence, but it’s likely they were preparing the cabin for landing and ensuring that all tray tables and seats were up.

Simple Flying reached out to American Airlines for more information. The airline told us,

“A flight attendant sustained an injury during turbulence. The flight attendant was treated at a local hospital for their injury.”

We hope that the flight attendant has a quick and full recovery and that the ankle injury is not serious. As someone who has traveled before with broken bones (broken toes no less) sitting on an aircraft can be one of the most uncomfortable places to be.

American Eagle
American Eagle E145. Photo: Cory W. Watts via Flickr

What is like to fly on an American Airlines Embraer ERJ-145?

For readers not aware, there is a distinction between American Airlines and American Eagle. American Airlines, the main flag carrier, subcontracts regional services under what is essentially a name brand called American Eagle.

This subcontract is given to different operators in different regions, so the airline operating as American Eagle in California may be different from the one in New York. The same can be said for United with their brand United Express and Delta Air Lines, who operate through Delta Connect. Some of these operators have multiple contracts with multiple airlines!

Thus, the service and layout might be a little different from what you might expect on a normal flight. Additionally, and perhaps relevantly to this story, the staff wages are reportedly lower than the main carrier fleet.

American Eagle
American Eagle cabin. Photo: Cory W. Watts via Flickr

American Airlines configures the aircraft with 50 seats in a 1-2 configuration. Three of these are exit row seats and thus have extra legroom, while the rest offer around a 31 inch pitch. The downside is, two of the legroom seats have the bulkhead doors in the way and are decidedly thinner than a normal economy seat; only lucky 12B has both the extra legroom and the width.

Overall, this news should be a lesson for readers to stay buckled up and always expect the unexpected when traveling on an aircraft.

What do you think of this news? Let us know in the comments.