Passenger sues Virgin America
Soda spat, unflushed toilet lead to $500K lawsuit against Virgin America
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May 13, 2013
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An air passenger is now suing Virgin America saying that vengeful flight attendants had him unnecessarily detained after they alleged that he did not flush the toilet on board.
Salvatore Bevivino is seeking half-a-million dollars in damages after his flight from Philadelphia to the West Coast ended with him being detained for allegedly “cursing at the crew and failing to flush a toilet.”
Bevivino, a manager for San Francisco, Calif-based Genetech, claims the unfair detention happened following a Virgin America flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco on April 28. In the report the management of the airline further claimed that Bevivino “was using profanities and not listening to instructions from the flight attendants”.
Six uniformed officers detained Bevivino after the flight touched down. The altercation between Bevivino and the Virgin America crew began onboard, however, after he refused to order a soft drink using the automatic touch screen at his seat.
He first pressed the call button and asked a flight attendant for a soda, and the attendant told him that he had to order it through the touchscreen attached to the seat in front of him.
The Philadelphia enquirer says he then asked a second flight attendant before getting the same response.
According to papers obtained, Bevivino then said: “My time is precious, you are here to serve me.”
The third flight attendant only got him a soda after Bevivino threatened to call Virgin customer support.
According to a police report, Bevivino went to the toilet a few minutes after the alleged incident. He came back out some time later with a smile on his face while cursing to no one in particular, according to the report.
“Later on, a flight attendant passed by the restroom and saw that Bevivino left the door open and did not flush the toilet,” the report stated.
When they landed in California, Bevivino, 52, was reportedly pulled aside by the plane’s captain and questioned about why he had been yelling obscenities at his crew. When Bevivino denied the charges, the captain then reportedly accused him of leaving the toilet unflushed.
Before the impromptu questioning, Bevivino thought it was his darker Italian complexion that was causing him problems as he thought maybe they were mistaking him for someone of Middle Eastern descent, but realised the questions were no the end as he was taken away by uniformed FBI and TSA agents.
It is unclear how long he was detained before being released.
Bevivino and his lawyers argue that the incident caused him embarrassment, humiliation, mortification, mental anguish and emotional distress to the tune of $500,000.