Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyers & Illinois Injury Lawyers

Delta Flight Crew Sues Boeing in Illinois After Allegedly ‘Toxic’ Air Caused Several Attendants to Become Stricken

| Feb 12, 2024 | Aviation Accidents |

Flight attendants working aboard commercial flights face many hazards, including unexpected turbulence, unruly passengers, runaway beverages carts, exposure to COVID-19 and many other things that are known risks of the profession. According to a group of Delta flight attendants, though, they faced a more unexpected risk of harm recently: breathing “toxic” air that was pumped into their plane’s cabin. The lawsuit by these Delta flight attendants is a reminder that harm can come from a host of different places but, when it does happen, you often have options through the legal system, such as a lawsuit in civil court or a claim for workers’ compensation benefits (or sometimes both.) Be sure to contact an experienced Chicago aviation injury attorney to find out what the options are for you.

The flight attendants’ lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleged that, as they flew from Frankfurt, Germany to Detroit, the flight attendants “noticed decreasing air quality,” Business Insider reported. According to the Aviation Herald, as the Boeing 767 passed over Greenland, the crew declared a medical emergency onboard. They advised air traffic control in Montreal that they had one flight attendant displaying symptoms of a heart attack, while four additional flight attendants displayed lightheadedness, dizziness and symptoms consistent with poisoning, the Herald reported.

The flight made an emergency landing in Canada. After the flight eventually landed in Detroit, the flight attendants reported “issues with cabin air quality” and “low oxygen in the cabin.” The one flight attendant who experienced the most severe respiratory problems was tested and the results showed an elevated level of carbon monoxide in that flight attendant’s blood, according to the Herald. (Low oxygen exposure increases a person’s carbon monoxide intake.)

The flight attendants’ lawsuit named Boeing, the aircraft’s manufacturer, as the defendant. The aircraft used on the Frankfurt-to-Detroit flight was a 767-300ER. The flight attendants claimed that the plane’s “bleed air system” was the culprit in blowing the toxic air into the cabin, according to the Business Insider report. A plane’s bleed air system uses air from the engines to run the plane’s air conditioning system, and also to pressurize the aircraft. The air is supposed to be clean, but leaks in the craft’s engines potentially can compromise the quality of that air, according to some reports.

Injuries like these have the potential to cause serious impacts. They may cause sickened flight attendants to miss an extended period of time at work, thereby causing them to lose substantial wages. Both past and future lost wages are recognized forms of damages that you can potentially recover in a civil lawsuit in Illinois.

Other flight attendants allegedly suffered similar harm on other Boeing aircraft

The case pending here in Chicago isn’t the first time that flight attendants have alleged that fumes inside a Boeing craft harmed them. In 2011, an American Airlines flight attendant sued and obtained a settlement from Boeing. Again, it involved the plane’s bleed air system, according to the flight attendant. Allegedly, those fumes caused her to suffer tremors, memory loss and severe headaches, NBC News reported.

An additional group of flight attendants sued Boeing in 2015. Those Alaska Airlines flight attendants alleged that bled air released toxins that caused them to suffer nausea, dizziness, memory loss, tremors and joint/muscle pain, according to CNN.

Just as with any other set of workers, flight attendants are entitled to come to work in a place that is free of unreasonable risks of harm to their health and well-being. When they don’t get that kind of safe workplace, those responsible should be held accountable. One way to do that is through the legal system. The skillful Chicago aviation injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca are here to help with that. Our attorneys have been, for many years, helping flight attendants and other aviation industry workers get the compensation they deserve when they are hurt or otherwise harmed at work. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-724-5846 or through our website.