Recliner Rage in the News
Recently dubbed as “recliner rage” by the news media, people behaving badly on airplanes is a current hot topic. Over the last month, no fewer than three commercial flights were re-routed and forced to land due to passenger scuffles in the United States. One such United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver was diverted to Chicago when two passengers became unruly and combative due to a passenger’s use of a device known as the “Knee Defender.” This device disables the seat to which it is attached, rendering the recline function inoperable. Not surprisingly, the use of such a device resulted in some tense situations between passengers.
Duty of Care for Common Carriers
Most airlines enforce strict guidelines regarding passenger behavior because as common carriers, airlines are held to a higher standard with respect to the requisite duty of care in regards to passenger safety. Common carriers are defined as entities that transport the general public for fees. The heightened duty of care standard for common carriers begins at passenger boarding, extends through travel, and concludes only when passengers disembark.
Unruly Passenger Breakdown: Do Not Believe the Hype
Recent media coverage may suggest that a airline passenger's biggest aviation safety issue is encountering a potentially combative person on-board. However, this is not likely to be the case. Data recently released by the FAA shows that incidents caused by “unruly passengers” are actually on the decline.
For the first half of 2014, FAA stats regarding passengers being charged as unruly and interfering with an airplane operations crew number only 59 incidents. At the current rate, 2014 is on track to have the least number of unruly passenger cases in almost 20 years.
Far more frequently air travelers are injured by pilot or crew negligence or defective equipment on-board the aircraft as opposed to a scuffle with another passenger. The heightened duty of care standard generally applies in all scenarios.
Common Aviation Accidents
Faulty overhead luggage bins, improperly controlled food carts, and sudden turbulence are all potential causes of personal injury aviation accidents that can result in harm to passengers. It has been estimated that as many as 4, 500 passengers every year are injured by luggage falling out of inadequately secured or defective overhead luggage bins. Liability in these cases may be found and attributed to the airline’s crew, the equipment manufacturer, or both.
Pilots who fail to be vigilant with regard to monitoring and informing passengers regarding episodes of severe turbulence can be held liable for injuries sustained by passengers. Negligence may also be attributed to a pilot for things like unnecessarily sharp turns in mid-air, abrupt drops in elevation, and rough landings.
Wisconsin Aviation Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you have questions about protecting your rights after an aviation accident or mishap, our team of Green Bay personal injury attorneys and Appleton personal injury attorneys at [[title]] is ready to consult with you in Wisconsin. Please speak with us today at our offices in Appleton, Green Bay, or Oshkosh.