Flying is one of the most stressful ways to travel. As if extra surcharges, excessive security inspections, and never-ending check-in queues weren’t enough, there are always a few debacles awaiting you on the aircraft.
When inconveniences go beyond being refused another bottle of wine because you’re about to touchdown, deeply displeased passengers do more than just post passive-aggressive Facebook rants (although they might do that, too) -- they go to court.
An American Airlines passenger’s slim chance of getting re-seated
No one wishes to be seated next to a chatterbox, an inconsolable baby, or a rear-seat kicker on a long-haul flight. Manspreaders, though, are slightly more complicated to deal with.
On an American Airlines flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, Aussie Michael Anthony Taylor requested to be re-seated because he felt a little cramped being next to two extra plus-sized passengers who encroached his space. But because it was a packed flight, the crew denied his request, leaving him to endure a 14-hour flight ‘crouching, kneeling, bracing, and standing.’
Michael filed a lawsuit against the airline for being made to suffer the less-than-ideal seating situation that caused his scoliosis, neck, and back problems to worsen. According to him, the airline could have re-seated him in a crew seat in order to provide him with the space he needed.
Good on Michael for asserting his rights! That said, US federal regulations restrict passengers from taking jump seats -- after 9/11, not even licensed pilots onboard a commercial flight are allowed to visit the cockpit.
The Delta Airline security agent who was all abuzz over a suspicious item
There are few things more mortifying than being dragged off a fully booked flight. Especially if the contents of your luggage are the cause.
On a Delta Airlines flight to Florida from Las Vegas, a woman passenger was summoned by a security agent who discovered a vibrating item in her bag. She was then asked to identify it, to which she responded that it was a sex toy that she and her husband bought on their trip.
Unsatisfied with the answer, the Delta security agent allegedly asked her to take out the battery-operated boyfriend and remove its power source, in full view of other passengers, whereupon three male airline employees giggled and made obnoxious remarks.
For embarrassing her in front of the three men and a couple fellow flyers, the woman sued the airline for ‘intentional infliction of emotional distress,’ among several other charges, effectively bringing the matter to the public’s attention.
However, the court ruled that the Delta employees’ actions -- licking their lips, laughing hysterically, and cracking suggestive jokes -- were insufficient to support her claim. The case was dismissed.
To be fair to the passenger, airlines ARE notorious for not putting up ‘Remove Batteries from Sex Toys in Carry-on Luggage’ signs at their check-in counters. Luckily for her, this incident happened before ‘going viral’ meant more than a case of herpes.
JetBlue travelers’ turbulence troubles
Turbulence during a flight is a major concern for a lot of anxious flyers, but according to pilots, they’re nothing more than an inconvenience and aren’t likely to crash a plane.
Tell that to the August 2017 passengers of JetBlue Airways Flight 429!
On a 6-hour flight from Boston to Sacramento, 24 JetBlue passengers and three crew members were seriously injured from sudden turbulence. According to the passengers, the drop was steep enough to send laptops, soda cans, and other items crashing to the ceiling, while those not wearing seatbelts were thrown around and slammed into various parts of the cabin.
Two of the passengers -- who suffered from serious neck, back and spinal injuries, as well as other physical and mental distress -- filed personal injury lawsuits, accusing JetBlue of disregarding the threat of a thunderstorm.
To prove the airline’s negligence, it’s necessary to show that they were at fault. In the case of JetBlue, it’s a no-brainer. Adding insult to injury is several passengers’ claims that the crew did not advise them to stay seated and fasten their seatbelts at the onset of the turbulence.
If air turbulence is as common as pilots claim, perhaps it’s time for carriers to make its dangers known before every flight, no? When a turbulent trip ends up causing you great physical, emotional and mental stress, get in touch with Buckingham, LaGrandeur and/or Williams. When it comes to your personal injury litigation, we won’t wing it -- we’ll nail it.