Man sues airline for $227,000 after uncomfortable flight

Date: Sep 28, 2015

An Australian man has begun a substantial personal liability lawsuit against Etihad Airways after being seated next to an obese passenger back in 2011, the Guardian reported.

The plaintiff claims his 12-hour flight from the United Arab Emirates to Sydney sat next to the man resulted in him suffering a back injury and exacerbating an existing condition. Taking the matter to Brisbane District Court, he said he had to contort his body and suffered discomfort throughout the flight, while the airline's staff refused on numerous occasions to reseat him.

The court heard that the overweight passenger over-spilled his seat, forcing the claimant into an uncomfortable seating position. He also coughed throughout the journey – two claims that Etihad Airways says are not uncommon on flights.

After five hours, the claimant said he asked to move seats but was told the aircraft was full. An hour later, he asked again, and was moved to the crew seat towards the back of the airplane. However, he was returned to his original seat after 60 minutes, as well as for the final 90 minutes of the flight.

The Court was told how the plaintiff's back injuries had led him to suffer pain that impacted his professional and personal life, and he is therefore seeking damages for medical expenses and loss of earnings.

The claim, which news reports say is for $227,000, was originally filed in 2012, with Etihad seeking to have the case thrown out shortly after. However, Brisbane District Court Judge Fleur Kingham said there was no reason to dismiss the case, and ordered the claimant to undergo a medical examination to reveal the extent of his injuries.

News reports quote an Etihad Airways spokesperson, who said the company objects to the claims and will await the outcome of the medical tests at the end of the year.

"Etihad Airways will continue to oppose the action, and now that [the claimant] will finally face a medical assessment in December 2015, as directed by court, we believe that the matter will proceed to an early conclusion," an Etihad official said, as quoted by the Brisbane Times.

Whatever your situation, a compensation lawyer can help you receive just recompense for an injury or illness that wasn't your fault. From slips and falls injury claims to car accidents, and even more nuanced cases like this one, a compensation lawyer in Sydney will help you collect all necessary evidence and fight your case to get the money you are owed.

If you need legal assistance in New South Wales, contact the expert team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.