Only In America…

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.


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14 responses to “Only In America…

  1. Actually, I disagree. Under U.S. law, if an airline loses your bag under ordinary travel circumstances, they are liable for up to $3000. That’s under normal circumstances, mind you. Now, add in there all of your carry-on being destroyed, not to mention the fact that these passengers ALMOST DIED, many suffered injuries and some are likely traumatized for life, not to mention the disruption in their lives because they weren’t able to complete their travel, and I’d say, $5,000 doesn’t cover it.

    I know that shit happens but $5,000 is barely more than they’d have to pay if the airline just lost your bags, without passengers nearly dying in the process.

  2. But, Beale, where was the negligence? No company can completely insulate its customers from acts of God. This was not the airline’s fault. they didn’t lose the luggage, it was destroyed in a sinking airliner.

  3. Like I said, put me on that jury.

  4. Put me there too. These people are scum.

    Tell ’em to thank the pilot and sue the geese.

  5. Besides, if you have $5000 worth of stuff with you, then I’m guessing you probably have enough insurance to cover whatever else was lost.

  6. Yup, GoldnI, thats kinda what i was getting at. Count your blessings, and send that pilot a Christmas card every year…

  7. Ha! Except, maybe, in your case. 😉

  8. democommie

    I think about this everytime I get on an airplane with $5K’s worth of cameras which might or might not be covered on my homeowner’s policy. Bottom line, if you travel and carry expensive shit check your policy before you do so. And if those folks are upset, they should just be glad that Wal-Mart doesn’t do air travel.

  9. Jeez, if my plane crashes into a body of water and I make it out unscathed AND someone offers me a check for 5 grand, I’m counting my blessings.

    AND I have great story to tell to absolutely everyone I ever known.

  10. Besides I’m sure any uncompleted travel is not the end of the world.

    Even work related travel. “Sorry, I couldn’t make it into the meeting on account of MY PLANE CRASHING.”

  11. I’m not sure about this. There was a problem with that aircraft 2 days before this incident. The passengers need to hold off on signing anything until the investigation proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that there were indeed birds that caused the engine failure, and not negligence on the part of the airline.

    By the way, why did you drop me from your blogroll, dammit?

  12. I haven’t added anyone back since I purged all those except political blogs. No reason, really, just lazy.

  13. Oh, and yes, of course, if there was negligence, I agree that 5000 is not adequate compensation. But if there was, say, some failure on the part of the airline…how much is enough?

    Absent any negligence, I think these folks are entitled to squat.

  14. democommie


    Beyond what is contractural, agreed.

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