View Full Version : Airline responsible for baggage death

Buster Hyman
20th Aug 2004, 03:17
August 20, 2004 - 11:18AM

An airline that forced an elderly woman to check-in her bag containing her medical devices was responsible for her subsequent death after losing the bag, a US appeals court ruled today.

A lower court ruled in 2002 that Americans Airlines parent company and BWIA International Airways should pay $US226,238.81 ($A316,750) to Caroline Neischer's relatives because she died soon after her bag was lost.

The plaintiff's lawyer Bruce Altshuler said it was the first case of its kind.

"The significance of the case is that never before has an airline been held liable for the death of a passenger caused by delayed or missing baggage," said Altshuler.

Neischer, who spent most of her life in her native Guyana, died at age 75 after flying from Los Angeles to Guyana in 1997.

After Neischer transferred from an American Airlines flight in New York, a ground agent the court said likely worked for American forced her to check-in a bag that contained a breathing device to treat her respiratory problems.

The agent promised she would be given the bag immediately upon arriving in Guyana. However, the bag was lost and Neischer died days later.

Neischer's five children sued AMR and BWIA Airways, which had proposed paying the $US2,000 ($A2,800) maximum for lost baggage set by international standards.

The lower court ruled the airlines were responsible for a "willful misconduct" death, and thus even the Warsaw Convention limit of $US75,000 ($A105,005) for an airline death should not apply.

"The seizure of Neischer's bag meets the standard of willful misconduct," the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

"The district court therefore properly concluded that the seizure of Neischer's bag proximately caused her death."

In its ruling, a three-judge panel sent the matter back to a lower court for additional review as to whether the woman was also partially responsible for her death since replacement medication may have been available in Guyana.

- Reuters

Sad case, of course, but some dire implications there as well.

20th Aug 2004, 06:34
Buster, with posting that you have just added an extra phrase to my I'm sorry but that bag is too big to carry in the cabin. We will have to stow it in the hold, please leave it here. What is your seat number and what is your final destination? spiel. Reading the above, does your bag contain any vital medication will be inserted from now on. :rolleyes:

surely not
20th Aug 2004, 09:54
Flaps, if they say they do, ask them to show it to you :D People are so inventive when trying to keep their bags with them....as I'm sure you know already.

20th Aug 2004, 11:26
People are so inventive when trying to keep their bags with them....

Maybe this is because they dont want their bag lost by the airline?????

20th Aug 2004, 12:46
Touché skydriller. Especially when transferring between two different airlines. Or, in the case of KLM, the same airline :rolleyes:

You splitter
20th Aug 2004, 13:15
More likely they just want to hold onto the bags to save a few minutres waiting at the collection point. After years of flying as pax most weeks I have never yet lost a nag so it cant be that bad.

The article doesn't actually say if the Airline Staff KNEW the bag contained medication for a life threatening illness. Surely that makes a differance??

21st Aug 2004, 05:49

"After years of flying I have never lost a nag yet."

Now you should know you can't take a horse into the cabin with you, or as hold baggage for that matter!

21st Aug 2004, 08:20
"After years of flying I have never lost a nag yet."

You sound like my wife when she accompany's me on my travels :}

You splitter
23rd Aug 2004, 14:09
I cant be bothered to edit that.....one couldnt write comedy like that if one tried!!! :O

23rd Aug 2004, 16:42
No, but you can earn money if you continue!:ok:

23rd Aug 2004, 17:15
You Splitter: But - did you take a bet on the Nag first? :=

"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.