Multiple Reports Expose the Risk to Flight Attendants Posed by Out-of-Control Passengers

Flight attendants understand that there are some varieties of physical injury risks that come with the job. Injury from unexpected turbulence is one. Injury while assisting passengers during an emergency situation might be another. Flight attendants should not, however, have to factor in facing possible injury while dealing with passengers who have become physically unruly or out of control, but it unfortunately happens.

In fact, it’s happened a lot recently. In late January, Simple Flying reported on an Australian woman, en route from Melbourne to Los Angeles, who became highly intoxicated during the flight. The crew stopped serving the woman alcohol, but that only made her angrier. After she begin stripping and throwing garments at other passengers, the flight crew and two marshals sought to restrain her and, during the melee, one of them got hit in the face and another got kicked in the chest.

In late February, Fox News had the story of a Hawaiian Airlines passenger, en route from Honolulu to South Korea, who lunged at a flight attendant and attempted to land a punch. The allegedly drunk passenger missed his target and was restrained, but imagine how much damage this man, already a convicted felon, could have done to the flight attendant if he hadn’t.

In March, the “trigger” was a reclining seat back, NBC News reported. One passenger’s seat potentially bumping the other passenger led to a verbal argument and that verbal argument eventually turned physical, with one passenger charging at the other. A flight attendant restrained one of the would-be combatants, and was possibly injured in the process, according to the report.

As the old saying goes, ‘It’s only funny until someone gets hurt’… and people are getting hurt

Drunken passengers misbehaving in mid-air is often played for laughs on internet news-of-the-weird or video sites, but it is actually a very serious situation. These people often become violent and can seriously injure flight crew members, whether by attacking or as a result of the flight attendant’s efforts to restrain them. These injuries can possibly cause that airline worker to miss an extended amount of time on the job and suffer serious personal, professional and financial harm.

While none of the three incidents described above led to serious injury, all of them could have. A landed punch or a differently placed kick could cause a flight crew member to suffer broken bones, joint ligament damage, soft tissue injuries to the neck and back, or brain injuries, just to name a few.

When that happens, you undoubtedly want to know where to turn. Begin by seeking advice from a Chicago injury attorney experienced in aviation accidents. Your knowledgeable attorney can help you identify and assess your legal options, which may include seeking recovery through an award of worker’s compensation benefits, a judgment (or settlement) in a civil lawsuit, or both. This can help you to “get back on your feet” and get what you deserve for all the medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering you have suffered and will suffer in the future because of this accident.

Your attorney can also help you identify whom you should sue. In some cases, that might mean bringing an action against only the person who attacked you. In other circumstances, if you have proof that your airline did a legally inadequate job protecting you from the risk of harm, then you may be able to go after both the attacker and the airline.

Flight crew members would probably hope that all their passengers understand that they are “flight attendants,” not “fight attendants.” Nevertheless, as anger issues, mental health issues and substance use issues aren’t going away, neither will the problem of flight crew members injured by out-of-control passengers.

If that happens to you, you need several things. Not the least of which is a knowledgeable injury attorney. For the representation your case needs, contact the skilled Chicago injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys have been helping injured airline employees and passengers for years, and are here to discuss your case with you. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.