Flight Attendants: Did your Tumi bag contribute to your injury?

At the end of 2017, United Airlines (now known as “United Continental Holdings, Inc.” after the merger with Continental Airlines) announced that it would be issuing each of its flight attendants a new Tumi brand bag. In March 2018, United Airlines began requiring its flights attendants use the newly issued two-wheel or four- wheel “rollaboard” Tumi brand bags.

Unfortunately, the transition to the new Tumi brand bags has created numerous issues for United Airlines flight attendants. Almost immediately, United Airlines flight attendants began noticing that these bags are awkward, hard to maneuver, and in some circumstances, even dangerous to use.
As flight attendants already often need to be performing physically strenuous tasks, moving quickly, working in tight and awkward spaces, and lifting, pushing, and pulling heaving luggage, the additional requirement to use these awkward and uncomfortable bags is unfortunately causing injuries to flight attendants’ wrists, arms, shoulder, backs, necks, and legs.

Multiple United Airlines flight attendants have reported injuries while pushing, pulling, and maneuvering the Tumi brand bags at work. They have expressed that the bags are unsteady and put too much pressure on their wrists, arms, and shoulders when being rolled. The bags have proven to be difficult to bring down stairs, as sometimes required when deplaning. United Airlines flight attendants have been injured by these bags when they have needed to quickly catch falling and slipping bags. Further, the bags are awkward and potentially dangerous when being placed in the overhead bins, causing injuries to flight attendant’s shoulders, backs, and necks.
Despite the fact that many of its flight attendants have been injured and complained about the uncomfortableness, awkwardness, and even dangerousness of using these Tumi brand bags while performing their job duties as flight attendants, United Airlines is currently still requiring the use of the bags.

While these injuries may not be obvious workers’ compensation claims to file, the attorneys at Katz, Friedman have been able to successfully argue that these injuries caused by the Tumi brand bags arise out of and in the course of flight attendants’ employment with United Airlines. In the past, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has held that injuries caused by uniforms and shoes which were provided by and required by the employer arise out of and in the course of the injured employee’s employment. In those cases, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has awarded the injured worker benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. For United Airlines flight attendants, as these bags are issued and required by their employer, Katz, Friedman has successfully argued that injuries caused by these bags are arising out of and in the course of the flight attendant’s job duties with United Airlines.

If you are a United Airlines flight attendant who has been injured by the new Tumi bags while working, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. To make sure you get all the benefits you deserve for the injuries you suffered, talk to the experienced attorneys at Katz, Friedman. Our attorneys have been representing injured airline employees for many years and have the skills and resources needed to best represent you. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-263-6330.