TODAY   |  October 02, 2012

Loose seats force second AA plane to turn back

American Airlines and the FAA are investigating separate incidents where two AA flights had to be diverted after several rows of plane seats came loose mid-flight. Both planes were 757 jets that had just received new seats. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>> with trouble in the skies for american airlines as at least two separate 757 jets had to be diverted after several rows of seats came loose mid-flight, and six more planes are being inspected for the same problem. nbc's tom costello is on the ramp at miami international airport . tom, good morning.

>> reporter: hi, natalie, good morning to you. the faa and the airline are both investigating this. we have two separate planes, and we're now hearing of yet another incident last week from a vale to dallas flight. however, the situation, exact same plane involved in a flight from boston to miami . the seats coming loose. mechanics thinking they fixed it, it shows up again, and as you can imagine this is all very bad timing for american airlines . it was a bumpier than normal ride for passengers on two separate american airlines flights.

>> roger. got an unusual one for you.

>> reporter: boston to miami flight had to detour to new york after several rows of seats came loose mid-flight. the pilot radioed air traffic control .

>> roger. the reason, we don't know what kind of turbulence we have. the seat is loose, and we don't want that flying around and hurting the passengers behind them.

>> reporter: then monday a new york to miami flight experienced something very similar, causing some passengers to miss their connections.

>> it bothered us because now we wait for two days on our honeymoon. that's money. that's money. now we have to pay for food. we have to pay for everything else.

>> reporter: both planes were 757s. mechanics had recently adjusted the seat placement. the airline says the track the seats fit into may be defective, and the airline says it's proactively inspecting six more 757s. no one was injured, but all of this, as american airlines struggles with a huge public relations problem. american's on-time arrival numbers plunged from 82% in september of 2011 to just 58% this september. compared to 86% at southwest and 88% at delta. american blames the slowdown on union pilots writing up trivial maintenance issues. the pilots blame the airlines' old planes, but travel experts warn the flying public is getting fed up. now, american airlines will not say whether it's pre-holiday bookings are down because of all of this, but the folks at say if this continues much longer you could see holiday bookings affected. one last note, natalie. there's no indication that anybody was injured or ever in any danger on these two flights. back to you.

>> all right. good to know. tom costello there in miami this morning. thanks, tom.