View Full Version : Woman Sues Continental Airlines over Turbulence

12th Oct 2011, 16:04
Texas Woman Sues Continental Over Turbulent Flight | Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/10/12/texas-woman-sues-continental-over-turbulent-flight/?test=latestnews)

12th Oct 2011, 18:29
Eeeeeek, the greedy American female. Every chance to get the 15 minutes of fame and every devious way to milk the system to make some ill gotten money. Beware of any liaisons with her, she will definitely take you to the cleaners!

12th Oct 2011, 18:41
Silly twit - doesn't she know turbulence actually keeps aircraft aloft by making the wings flap?! :} Or maybe she'd prefer to pay higher fares if manufacturers have to include 'flap actuators' :E


12th Oct 2011, 20:34
Well, weather doesn't "just happen" - these days it is predictable to a fairly high degree - so if she can prove that the company knew of the turbulence, and was negligent in taking her into it, then she has a case.

Who knows - the way we do things changes all of the time, in all industries, and this could form a new paradigm where the pilot announces the amount of expected turbulence once the passengers are seated in order to allow any people who don't want to experience it the chance to de-plane.

12th Oct 2011, 20:44
Turbulence varies according to the size of the aircraft, when this mad bint was, presumably, on a Dash-8-400; that's kind of small by today's standards. If she had been on a Jumbo then it would probably have been a much smoother ride.

If this suit succeeds then it should unleash a wave of lawsuits; 'I had a taxi ride when we were in a collision and now I am afraid to get in my car!' or, 'After that meal at Taco Bell, I suffered terminal embarrassment and lost all my friends after I farted non-stop throughout the wedding ceremony.'

Her shyster is hoping for 'Here's $50 thousand; go away and stop bothering us!'

12th Oct 2011, 21:15
The only time I agree with Americans owning hand guns.........somebody shoot her before she reproduces!

12th Oct 2011, 21:24
I think the pilot was quite wreckless, flying the aeroplane through the air.
Surely there's a better way to get it from A to B:rolleyes:

A conveyer belt perhaps?

13th Oct 2011, 01:32
This (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/22/malinda-knowles-jetblue-p_n_906558.html) has probably been posted before -

Knowles claims the pilot on the 6am flight last July thought
she wasn't wearing pants or shorts,...

The pilot probably had her nickers in his navbag. :E

13th Oct 2011, 01:38
In a sane world with common sense this loony will lose her lawsuit and be charged to pay the full legal costs of Continental Airlines and any other parties involved. Sadly, this isn't a world where common sense is permitted to prevail.

Lex Talionis
13th Oct 2011, 04:09
This sort of thing is becoming more prevalent and I blame the legal profession for it.

If it wasn't for them then the case would never be taken up or even entertained.The lure of the almighty dollar and the media exposure it gives whoever takes the case seems to be too much to refuse :yuk:

13th Oct 2011, 05:05
Dammit Lex, we're in agreement again. :E

13th Oct 2011, 08:59
Woman sues to stop Drive getting away with a 'misleading' trailer | Film | guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/oct/10/woman-sues-drive-trailer)

If that works I'm going to sue the directors of The NeverEnding Story and 72 Hours... both were shorter than I expected :ugh:

13th Oct 2011, 10:00
So, had she been making an oceanic crossing in a ship, would she have sued because of rough weather?

Read the comments at the bottom (http://travel.usatoday.com/cruises/post/2011/10/queen-mary-2-fire/551219/1#uslPageReturn).

I've ridden through force 12 on QM2 and she handles it beautifully, she is built for the North Atlantic. Friends of ours, 4 of, were on the above cruise and said it was fine. They've commented on the article.

Cruise Passengers Upset With Carnival - Jacksonville News Story - WJXT Jacksonville (http://www.news4jax.com/news/29452546/detail.html)

Just google the subject, there are hundreds of these stories. :oh:

Ancient Observer
13th Oct 2011, 12:05
What have you got when there are 12,000 New York lawyers dead at the bottom of the sea?

A good start

13th Oct 2011, 14:22
Easy to mock, I sometimes do too, in cases like this. But hold on a minute - the Fox News account is very sketchy on details of the claim. It's not impossible that the woman is suing because she blames the aircrew for not warning passengers over the PA that turbulence was expected, and advising them to keep their seat belts fastened and to remain in their seats. I have been on flights often enough where this sort of precautionary warning has been given. I presume that it is not uncommon for information regarding previously reported turbulent met conditions to be passed on at pre-flight briefings, or even in flight, otherwise how would those at the sharp end know about it, to make the announcements?

13th Oct 2011, 14:31
when a woman successfully sues McDonald's after she poured hot coffee on herself and won her lawsuit because she claims she didn't know the coffee was hot, it comes as no surprise that someone would attempt to sue an airline for encountering turbulence on a flight.

Just another example of the continuing Pusification of so many Americans.

13th Oct 2011, 15:00
Our pilots only switch on the FSB sign when they deem it absolutely necessary, and switch it off as soon as they feel they can. Should they forget, thereīs always an FA reminding them with a quick call, so the pax are seldom strapped in for long.
When there are long periods of turbulence, they always try to give the pax a "peeing-window" now and then, where they switch off the sign for short periods to make loo visits possible.

These days, keeping American passengers in their seats and strapped up when the fasten seat belt sign is on, is a big challenge. Unlike pax from most other nationalities, American pax seem to think that FSB sign is merely an advisory rather than a straightforward order from the captain which they are legally bound to obey.

Since the general public in the States appears to be well used to rules and pretty law abiding in most other circumstances, their disregard of the FSB sign used to amaze me. Until I started asking American pax why they acted the way they did, while everybody else just sat and waited it out.

They told me to a man and woman, that flying on American carriers, it was their experience that the FSB sign is on more often than not, and that going to the loo, getting stuff out of the overhead bins and general ambling around was never a problem.
According to some pax, this has to do with the pilots making sure that the airline would never be liable for any injuries. As in, switch on the FSB sign regardless, and then your back is covered.
Since you can not stop people from going to the loo for hours on end, apparently on US carriers, the FAs just remind the pax that the sign is on, but leave it up to the pax to obey it or not.

A logical way of dealing with it of course, but causing the pax a big surprise when they travel on carriers where the FSB sign DOES get strictly enforced.

In view of this alleged law suit, it seems that there is a good reason for American pilots to deal with the FSB sign the way they apparently do.

Also, I wonder if the FSB sign was on in this case, and if the woman was strapped in?

Lastly, I am curious to know if what my pax tell me is correct, or merely an exaggeration to justify themselves when they disobey the FSB sign on our flights?

Any resident USA civilian pilots who could tell me one way or another?

13th Oct 2011, 15:11

Although not a pilot, I am an American flyer. What some of the passengers you referred to tell you is certainly not exemplary of all American flyers. I and the Mrs. certainly do not ignore the FSB sign when it's on, regardless of carrier.
And I know quite a few others who adhere to this as well.

13th Oct 2011, 15:30
American pax seem to think that FSB sign is merely an advisory rather than a straightforward order from the captain which they are legally bound to obey.

If this legal compulsion to obey is correct as stated, then who knew? I certainly didn't. Perhaps it needs to be added to the mandatory pre-flight safety briefing of passengers, and to the printed card in front of every seat?

13th Oct 2011, 16:24

When you flip the FSB sign on is there not some sort of indicator showing that it's on? Just curious.

13th Oct 2011, 16:32
BandAide, rgbrock, thank you; interesting.

BandAide, when you say it is up to your cabin crew to enforce the FSB sign or not, is that your personal opinion, or just the way it works in real life?
Also, do you happen to know what your FAs' safety manual says on the subject?

603DX, it is my understanding that the 1963 Tokyo Convention (http://www.mcgill.ca/files/iasl/tokyo1963.pdf) applies.
Article 1
1. This Convention shall apply in respect of:
(a) offences against penal law;
(b) acts which, whether or not they are offences, may or
do jeopardize the safety of the aircraft or of persons or property
therein or which jeopardize good order and discipline on board.

When the pilots switch on the FSB sign, they do so because they have reason to think that pax walking around may cause themselves or others injury when they lose their footing and /or get thrown about the cabin due turbulence.
By not obeying the FSB sign, pax 'may or do jeopardise the safety of ... persons' on the aircraft.

Article 6
1. The aircraft commander may, when he has reasonable grounds
to believe that a person has committed, or is about to commit, on board the
aircraft, an offence or act contemplated in Article 1, paragraph 1, impose
upon such person reasonable measures including restraint which are
(a) to protect the safety of the aircraft, or of persons or
property therein; or
(b) to maintain good order and discipline on board; or
(c) to enable him to deliver such person to competent
authorities or to disembark him in accordance with the provisions
of this Chapter.

13th Oct 2011, 17:06
Juud: Yes, I can see that ignoring the FSB sign is just one instance of potentially unsafe modes of behaviour by pax covered by these "catch-all" Articles of the Convention. Not really feasible to add all of these to the safety briefing or printed cards!

Must be comforting in extremis to cabin crew, to know that "the big stick" of legal backing is there if necessary! Thank you.

13th Oct 2011, 18:12
I guess there is no accounting for clear air turbulence. Having experienced this phenomenon while flying light aircraft I was impressed how quickly the flight became very bumpy the first time I encountered this (enough to bang heads on roof if not strapped in).

As a passenger in bigger aircraft flying in the smoother higher altitude air I am very apt to abide by seat belt signs and the crew's instructions and stay belted when I am sitting. I appreciate that not all turbulence out there is going to be associated with something you can see on radar and may be relatively localized and not necessarily noted by other aircraft en route.

I trust that this silly woman's case fails. If we were to sue every time we were disconcerted where would the civilized world be?


Solid Rust Twotter
13th Oct 2011, 18:20
...If we were to sue every time we were disconcerted where would the civilized world be?

Ummmm.... About where we are now?

13th Oct 2011, 18:57
when a woman successfully sues McDonald's after she poured hot coffee on herself and won her lawsuit because she claims she didn't know the coffee was hot,

When you read about the case - the coffee wasn't just hot, it was scalding hot. The woman suffered third degree burns over 6% of her skin - all in the thighs, buttocks and groin. She spent over a week in hospital undergoing skin grafts and costing her an initial $10,500 and she tried to settle for $20,000 to cover her expenses, including anticipated future expenses.

McDonald's had been warned about the temperature of their coffee before, but kept it that hot rather than reduce it as their market research said that customers preferred it that way.

So, not so frivolous when you know the facts?

13th Oct 2011, 21:58
My thoughts....

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSmLsOmMjrceFoV5qvZxopwLXyJYb9FZ7YAnIwA_Nc yGixkckrCvg

13th Oct 2011, 22:36
Seem to remember an SAS Capt.being sued for pax injury because there had been a pre-flight forecast of CAT around the area they were flying through and he had not switched on the sign - and that was over Europe, not even that well known Litigation-Land.

Didn't a UK Cheepie recently advocate removing the lavatories to cram in more seats ? They could just keep the seat belt sign on permanently then, problem solved. After all, they keep the No Smoking sign on all the time now.

14th Oct 2011, 08:13
Been doing a few flights to Iraq recently. FSB signs have a different meaning there. They seem to mean that it is clear to get up and collect your bag from the overhead bin - on finals and indeed as the aircraft is touching down. Was quite surprised to see this at first, but after a while in the region, very little surprises me now.


14th Oct 2011, 08:48
......collect your bag from the overhead bin - on finals and indeed as the aircraft is touching down.

Remember that Tudor ( was it ? ) landing at Cardiff ? Stewardess announced that they were landing at Cardiff in X minutes, so all the pax stood up and crowded the rear exit door, to be first off. Aircraft ran out of trim and elevator control.

Many died.

14th Oct 2011, 09:00
Remember that Tudor

Didn't know about that one ExSp33db1rd! People can be such fools.

There was the recent case in Africa where passengers, Belgian pilot and the British co-pilot were killed as result of crash brought on by C of G upset and crash when passengers rushed forward to avoid a crocodile that had been brought on board by one of the passengers! :ugh:


Aircraft crashes after crocodile escapes killing British pilot and 19 others | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1322580/Aircraft-crashes-crocodile-escapes-killing-British-pilot-19-others.html)

Edited after searching on tinterweb...

Llandow air disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llandow_air_disaster)

14th Oct 2011, 09:59
I must confess I have no idea what the FA manual says on the subject. It's all I can do to try to keep up with my own manuals.
No quarrel from me there BandAide. Our single cabin safety manual is a big tome, yet compared to the pilot manuals itīs small potatoes indeed.
Only reason I thought you might know is that in our mob, our cabin manual forms a small part of the pilots basic operation manual. But of course itīs different in every company, I know.
Iīd just be interested to know what it says in the one that rules your FAs, because ours does not give us any latitude at all when it comes to enforcing the FSB sign. It comes on, pilots do a PA, we check that everybody is strapped in properly and we make sure no one gets up until itīs switched off again.
Your FAs clearly have much more latitude to decide if and how strictly to enforce the FSB sign, hence my question about what their manual says. :)

C'mon, Checkboard ...Is you some kinda lahyuh?
Some kind is right; heīs our resident Devilīs Advocate. ;)

Exspeed, thanks for bringing those cases up; hadnīt heard of them.

14th Oct 2011, 10:29
I hope she doesn't take the flight around noon from LHR to NCE. When you get over the Massif Central, especially in summer, it's always a bit turbulent in my experience.

Although on one occasion, it did lead to the very pretty girl in the next seat saying to me 'I'm frightened. Talk to me, hold my hand'.

As a gentleman, what else could I do?

14th Oct 2011, 11:37
Llandow air disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llandow_air_disaster)

Note that one of the passengers who survived "was in the bathroom and knocked unconscious at the time of the crash, survived but was in hospital for four months" - so go sit on the loo for landing, then ;)

In my airline, over the last three years or so, we have had perhaps three flights where cabin crew have broken legs (as in "bone sticking through skin"), ribs etc etc (one flight were ALL of them suffered serious injuries) as they were in the aisle when turbulence struck trying to get passengers to fasten up!

14th Oct 2011, 11:53
I have always wondered about the ability of one of those heavy trolleys or carts pushed by the cabin crew, under transition from sustained negative to positive G to wreak havoc with all that encounter them! I appreciate they are stowed when turbulence is anticipated but clear air or unexpected turbulence could turn them into deadly missiles...

I suspect the cabin crew members pushing might be most at risk.


14th Oct 2011, 22:28
Llandow air disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thanks for the lead, looks like the tale of people standing by the rear door might well have been just been that - a bar room tale, but it was popular enough when I was starting to fly as a dire warning to get the weight and balance right.

From another entry it seems that one of few survivors made it just because he had ignored the seat belt sign !

"... The plane, an Avro 689 Tudor V which had been used in World War II, crashed outside a farm near Sigingstone after approaching the runway too low. Mr Thomas had gone to the toilet and had been boxed in by the metal walls. Paramedics found him in the cubicle with serious injuries.... "

So maybe the safest place on an impending crash is in the rear toilet, ignoring the Please Return To Your Seat, sign !

14th Oct 2011, 22:49
Okay, this may be a bit of a 'off topic' post, but not really.

Years ago the company I flew for had a corporate DC-3, we mostly used it for special occasions, like going to the University of Oklahoma football games. Of course nobody ever paid a damn bit of attention to the seat belt sign except for takeoffs and landings, just the way it was.

Anyway, this DC-3 had no auto-pilot, so we flew the really old fashion way, with our hands and feet. One day we were headed up to Nebraska for a bitter inter-conference football game with an old adversary, the University of Nebraska. As we were cruising along, I was flying, I could not keep the aircraft in trim fore and aft. No matter what I did with the elevator trim, I could not keep the aircraft in trim. Finally I told the guy sitting in the co-pilot's seat to go back and see what the hell was going on.

He was gone for a while and I stopped having to constantly re-trim the aircraft. When he came back he was laughing. It seemed the boss had decided to jog up and down the aisle for exercise and a couple of the other passengers joined him.

Some things ya just got to learn to live with. :(

14th Oct 2011, 22:49
Thanks for the lead, looks like the tale of people standing by the rear door might well have been just been that - a bar room tale, but it was popular enough when I was starting to fly as a dire warning to get the weight and balance right.

The Wikipedia entry begs more questions than it answers! Was the flight a commercial one (in terms of current CAA legislation)? What exactly was the cause of the C of G anomaly? Might very well have been people... (there was a fellah in the rear toilet at least)! Guess the truth is that without guidance, people, who don't know better would be moving around the aircraft at will at any stage of the flight if they could.

Sad to see that there was some question of the C of G in the recent Russian hockey team crash (as outlined on the Rumours and News forum here on PPRuNe) but again all is conjecture.

Apocryphal cause or not, whatever the case, the Tudor crash clearly was a terrible disaster!


15th Oct 2011, 01:15
how as little as 500 pounds moved from the most forward to the most aft compartments can change the CG.

You betcha. Years ago we flew the DC-3 on skis. On skis the C of G of this one particular airplane was so far forward that we used the aux tanks as mains when flying empty, just to keep the C of G from exceeding the max forward position. On one contract we were hauling 12 x 45-gallon barrels of gas, in two rows of six, with 2x10" wooden angles across the front and back of the rows, secured fore and aft with a chain block and a come-along over top. On this same contract we had two co-pilots, me as regular co-joe and another guy who was doing the fam flights for a ski checkout. The morning in question it was -40, and during the takeoff run just at lift-off the chain block let go and the entire load of drums proceeded smartly to the rear. The airplane pitched up, but with the gear and skis up and full nose down trim it was controllable. Barely. The training co-pilot had already run back and was trying to drag a drum forward by the time I got back to help him. Between the two of us we managed to reposition the load enough to get the airplane back on an even keel and we came round and landed. The Captain later remarked that if it had been any other DC-3, one that was not as nose heavy as this one, "We would have been right properly screwed." Frank was ex-RAF, a proper gentleman and one of the best pilots I ever flew with, but was sometimes given to British understatement. :p

15th Oct 2011, 09:43
............the boss had decided to jog up and down the aisle..........

A York Freighter skipper once related the tale of having to wind the trim wheel up and down all night -then realised that they had a baby elephant on board, who had broken free of his leg shackles, and within the space in which he was still confined had done what comes naturally to elephants - trundle back and forth.

Don't ask, don't know, it was all a long time ago.

15th Oct 2011, 09:57
Although on one occasion, it did lead to the very pretty girl in the next seat saying to me 'I'm frightened. Talk to me, hold my hand'.

As a gentleman, what else could I do?

and if she were sitting next to Slasher ?


15th Oct 2011, 12:54
and if she were sitting next to Slasher ?

One might encounter what is termed a human performance factor in flight! ;)


Solid Rust Twotter
15th Oct 2011, 13:12
Don't be nasty. Mr Slash would have done everything he could to take her mind off the flight.:E

uffington sb
15th Oct 2011, 16:11
Yes that's just what we're afraid of!!

16th Oct 2011, 06:41
We fly regularly on flights in the USA. On all the flights we have done recently the pre flight briefing has included keeping seat belts on even when the sign wasn't lit and, just from my observation, I'd say the comment on passenger attitude to the seat belt sign was about right, however no one seems to get up to the lockers on approach.

On the other topic in this thread we once got on an aircraft on one of those shorter legs that was before a long leg and it was about half full. Looking round I realised they had filled the aircraft from the front. Almost every seat to the middle was full and not one occupied behind that. One had to assume they had loaded the baggage in the aft hold but I was just a little nervous until we were at cruise altitude.

16th Oct 2011, 09:15
About 35 years ago I was one of 30 Hash House harriers, sidesaddle on a charter DC3 flight from Bougainville to Honiara, flown by a couple of Pprune members. As the alcohol consumption increased, the pax became more boisterous, until someone started to organise a football match along the aircraft. Despite my alcoholic haze, I could see that this may not have been wise. Would have been interesting, eh Blueys.

16th Oct 2011, 10:12
Heard a great story once about a crocodile waking up early from his anesthetic shot whilst being transported on a Cessna Caravan.

They also had a few trim issues (amongst others..!!!!)

Solid Rust Twotter
16th Oct 2011, 13:03
Couple of the 'Van drivers in these parts have had lions waking up in flight, followed by a frantic scramble by the on board vet to find his bottle of dopey juice and needles.