Fortunately no one got hurt, but this is terrifying…
American Airlines crew robbed in Costa Rica
View from the Wing reports on an incident that occurred early Tuesday morning to the crew of American Airlines flight 1204, which was a Boeing 737-800 scheduled to operate from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Miami, Florida.
The six person Miami-based crew (two pilots and four flight attendants) had spent the night in Costa Rica prior to the 5:20AM flight, and this incident occurred on the way to the airport:
- The crew was picked up from the hotel at 3:40AM, and the van transporting the crew drove over a plastic box on the road, which may have been placed there on purpose
- The driver got out of the van to clear the plastic box from underneath the vehicle, at which point the crew was robbed
- A man jumped into the driver’s seat with a knife and demanded the electronics (including cell phones) of the entire crew
- Then another man with a gun opened the van’s door and jumped inside, holding the gun at the heads of American Airlines crew members, until all belongings were turned over
- At that point the crew was returned to the hotel, and the flight ended up being delayed by over seven hours
It’s not known if the crew was specifically targeted, or if this was a coincidence, with the van just having been the vehicle to drive over the box. Or I suppose the possibility of the driver being in on it can’t be ruled out either.
American Airlines’ statement on the incident
An American Airlines spokesperson issued the following statement regarding the incident:
“We are aware that our crew members unfortunately fell victim to a crime while en route to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) on March 16. Our security team is in close contact with local law enforcement and have acted quickly to implement enhanced measures to ensure the safety of our team members.”
At around 4AM on Tuesday morning an American Airlines crew was robbed at gunpoint in a van on the way to the airport, causing a flight delay of over seven hours. What a horrifying incident. On the plus side at least no one was hurt, and presumably American Airlines will reimburse employees for their lost belongings.
While robberies of airline crews aren’t unheard of, they are fairly rare among US airlines, given the limited places they fly and lay over (airlines like Emirates and Turkish have some layovers where crew vans are escorted by police, crews aren’t allowed to leave their hotels, etc.). I would imagine the time of day (or night, in this case) played into the situation, because not much good happens at that hour.