Outrageous airline lawsuits


“It’s been a bad week for airlines, but a great week for lawyers.” So says the Times of London, which goes on to examine a series of outlandish lawsuits brought by travelers against airlines.

The case of the couple who sued United for serving them too much alcohol was reported last week by SkyNews, but apparently that was just the tip of the legal iceberg.

Among the infamous suits identified by The Times:
A German man sued British Airways after being kicked off a flight when a fellow passenger complained about the way he smelled. He lost the suit when “it turned out that BA’s conditions of carriage allow it to (expel) extra-stinky passengers.”

In another case of a bad seatmate, a flier sued Delta Air Lines after spending a flight next to an obese man who he claimed infringed on his space. The plaintiff claimed that he was given less than the full seat guaranteed by his ticket. The case was settled out of court.

Another passenger sued Delta for “post traumatic stress disorder.” After her bag was “found to be emitting a buzzing sound,” a female passenger was called to the tarmac for further inspection. The source of the suspicious sound turned out to be a vibrator, which left airline workers “laughing hysterically.” She lost the case.

A far scarier fate — and more successful legal outcome — befell a group of American Airlines passengers. Their flight hit severe turbulence en route to New York, causing them to be “thrown around for 28 seconds.” In a lawsuit against the carrier, thirteen fliers claimed the airline should have been able to avoid the storm and that the seat belt sign was not illuminated. They won a $2 million settlement for “emotional injuries.”

Air France passengers also claimed emotional trauma after an in-flight performance of the 1980s hit song Total Eclipse of the Heart. “Apparently, some of the Belgians were terrified that the plane was going to crash,” singer Bonnie Tyler is quoted by the paper as saying.

The Times fails to report the outcome of that case — if you know, tell us about in comments below (and share any other stories of strange but true airline lawsuits).