Throughout history, lawsuits have been filed for some very strange reasons. Aviation law is no exception to that rule. Since Orville and Wilbur Wright took flight that fateful day, airplane accident lawyers have had to deal with some wild suits from passengers and pilots. Here’s a guide to some of the wildest ones.
1. How about that airplane food?
A businessman once filed suit against an airline because he said the meal, he was served on his flight was so bad that he lost a multi-million-dollar account after eating it. Why? He claimed he had to run to the bathroom so often during the meeting he had after his flight that he wrecked the deal.
2. Not gonna fly
In 1995, a young man sued an airline on the grounds that they refused to hire him because he was gay. This suit was filed even though the application to work as a flight attendant did not require anyone to list their sexual orientation, so there was no definite way for the airline to have been aware of it even if they were making homophobic hiring choices.
3. Personal space, please
A lawyer from Ohio filed a suit against Delta Air Lines, claiming that while on a flight he had to sit next to someone who was massively overweight, which left the lawyer with feelings of “embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish, and severe emotional distress.” He sued on the grounds of breach of contract: that the airline had promised him a full seat on the plane but had failed to deliver this promise.
4. Jokes falling flat
Southwest Airlines, usually known for its lighthearted banter and levity throughout their flights, found themselves in hot water when a flight attendant used a childhood nursery rhyme to gently encourage passengers to take their seats. The only people still standing, two African American women, took offense due to the nursery rhyme being used. They maintained that they were being targeted with the rhyme, given that a no-longer-used historical version of it contained language discriminatory to African Americans.
5. High time for an inspection
On a flight from Hawaii to California, a passenger was arrested for having a pound of cannabis in his bag. When confronted with the evidence, the passenger filed suit against the airline, claiming that a baggage handler planted the drugs in his bag. Why a baggage handler would decide to sabotage this passenger by giving him a large amount of an incredibly valuable illicit substance was for the prosecutor to prove.
6. Pumping in the pit
A pilot filed a lawsuit after she was terminated for using a breast pump on the job. The airline defended its action by claiming that its employees were welcome to use breast pumps at most times…just not while they are simultaneously flying the plane.
7. First class fail
After his own liquidated airline failed to provide its full benefits after going bankrupt, this CEO filed a lawsuit. He claimed that he was not receiving the full benefits his contract had promised. He was already enjoying the golf club membership, the health insurance, and his severance package, but was not able to take advantage of his lifetime supply of free first-class flights on the airline (that no longer existed anymore).
8. Questionable suggestions
A woman sued an airline after finding her husband in one of the bathrooms on the plane with another woman. Her reason for suing: the plane’s pilot had made a joking reference to the “Mile High Club” during one of his pre-flight announcements, which she took to be grounds for a suit.
Some aviation lawsuits are indeed quite frivolous. There have, however, been some important suits in history regarding airlines. For example, the class action suit of flight attendants aimed at the tobacco and airplane industries helped reduce the number of flight attendants suffering from secondhand smoke disease.
Lawsuits are all about picking your battles. If you have an airplane-related battle you’d like to pick, find an airplane accident lawyer who can help you and book a consultation today.
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