The skies of America’s airline industry are anything but hospitable these days. Operational costs are up, profits (what profits?) are nonexistent, fuel costs are going through roof and labor problems seem to always be looming on horizon.
The entire airline industry, with notable exception of Southwest Airlines, has made losing money an art form. Since deregulation of airline industry in 1979, a number of major carriers (including Eastern, Braniff and Pan Am) have gone under while scores of other carriers have filed for bankruptcy protection.
About last thing airlines needed were a pack of litigation crazed lawyers looking to score some nice pocket change - but that’s exactly what they got.
Some of lawsuits filed by airline chasing lawyers include following:
Economy class syndrome. Airlines are bracing themselves for lawsuits being brought by hundreds of passengers over condition known as deep vein thrombosis (“DVT”). DVT, now commonly known in legal circles as “economy class syndrome” since this condition allegedly tends to afflict passengers on long haul flights, occurs when a blood clot forms due to hours of immobility and cramped seating.
Once passenger leaves plane, blood clot may become dislodged and then travel to a vital organ and have a deadly result. Lawyers are citing that airlines have known about this problem for years and have failed to adequately warn their passengers. There’s key to piggy bank. Lawyers looking to win millions always claim that big company knew about problem and failed to correct it (remember cigarette lawsuits?).
Is evidence conclusive? Of course not. Does that matter to lawyers looking hovering over airline industry.? What do you think? These lawsuits have potential for massive pay-outs, since airlines have deep pockets to pick. In It’s Time to Wake Up and Smell Lawyers, we examine how money grubbing lawyers always gravitate towards deep pocketed companies. No big surprise here.
Toxic air onboard. Another hotbed of lawsuit activity concerning airline industry involves toxic air in passenger cabin. Airlines and airplane manufacturers are getting hit with a flurry of “toxic air” related lawsuits.
Various lawsuits brought by flight attendants allege that some airlines and companies that manufactured aircraft have known (bingo!) that MD-80 and DC-9 aircraft have design flaws that make it easy for leaking chemical fluids to get sucked into auxiliary power unit (a small turbine engine used to generate electricity and circulate cabin air before takeoff) and then mix with cabin air. Naturally, defendants deny claims.
After a group of Alaska Airlines flight attendants garnered a $725,000 out of court settlement regarding claims, Boeing and Honeywell were next on hit list. The fun had just begun.