A passenger onboard an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to Providence last Wednesday was injured after a food cart onboard the plane somehow “became loose” from its stowage in the galley, rolled down the aisle into the cabin and then struck the victim in the head.
The potentially serious incident occurred on American Airlines flight AA2566 aboard a 21-year-old Airbus A321 which previously flew for US Airways.
The accident has been reported to the Federal Aviation Administration which has so far only released the following information: “Aircraft landed and a food cart became loose and struck a passenger in the head”.
Despite sustaining a head injury, the FAA has so far rated the injury as ‘minor’.
Food carts and canisters must be ‘secured’ for landing with brakes and galley latches that hold them securely in place. On some aircraft, carts are also secured behind doors and then latched in place.
It’s not known how the cart came loose in this incident, but human error can sometimes be at fault. The potential for an accident is enough that flight attendants at Japanese airlines are required to ‘cross check’ all the galley latches and cart brakes in the same way that door slides are cross-checked to prevent an inadvertent slide deployment.
In most cases, one forgotten latch doesn’t cause much harm because most stowages have multiple latches and it’s rare for an entire canister or cart to be left completely insecure.
That said, a loose food cart can potentially cause serious injuries.
In 2017, a Ryanair flight attendant was seriously injured after a food cart at the back of the Boeing 737 flew out of its stowage upon landing and rolled at speed to the front of the aircraft where the crew member was sitting.
The flight attendant raised his legs as the cart accelerated towards him, but the cart struck him with such force that his left femur was fractured. The pilot heard a scream outside the cockpit and found the flight attendant collapsed on the floor.
American Airlines has been contacted for comment. The airline did not immediately provide an update on the condition of the injured passenger.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.