I heard this morning that U.S. Airways is offering those passengers aboard flight 1549 a check for 5000 bucks, “for their trouble”. I’m sure that the check comes with some sort of legalese that renders the recipient unable to sue for more money, and I understand why the airline is doing it.
Apparently, a salesman from Charlotte feels that his emotional suffering is worth more. In addition, he, (and a few others) claim that they lost more than $5000 worth of checked or carry-on baggage.
The National Air Disaster Alliance & Foundation, a safety advocacy group, says $5,000 is not enough.
“We’re grateful everyone survived, and the captain on the plane was so marvelous,” says Gail Dunham, the group’s executive director. “But passengers lost luggage, briefcases, cellphones, BlackBerrys and business documents, and went through a terrific ordeal.”
Sorry, I gotta call bullshit. Five grand buys you one hell of a lap-top, a designer suit or two, a state-of-the-art cell phone, and some bang-up luggage in which to carry it all. If anyone aboard that flight has stuff with them totalling more than $5000, they wouldn’t be living in Charlotte. I’ve been there. Seriously, though, put me on the jury in that civil case. Unless there is some negligence that can be pinned on the airline, chances are good that I’d award $5000 to the pilot. And the co-pilot. And each of the in-flight personnel. Every one of them acted professionally, and, as a result, 155 people are home with their families instead of decomposing on the bottom of a frozen river. (though, I guess technically, that process wouldn’t begin until spring thaws)
Some passengers are claiming they need to “be made whole”. How about the fact that you are in fact in one piece? Thats about as whole as you can expect when crash landing a commercial jet onto a river. Who, exactly, was negligent? The geese are judgement proof. The airline hired and trained professional to act in the best interests of their passengers. Which they did, in spades.
US Airways, rescind the offer from anyone who balks. Seriously, I love your chances in front of a jury.