An Oregon man filed a $49,000 lawsuit against Southwest Airlines earlier this week for allowing another passenger’s oversized suitcase to fall from the overhead bin as another passenger and a Southwest Airlines flight attendant were trying to stow the suitcase on a flight in January 2013 from PDX to LAS.
When A Suitcase Falls From An Overhead Bin, Who’s At Fault?
According to The Oregonian/Oregon Live
Jerry Reinhardt suffered a compressed disc from the Jan. 17, 2013, incident as he sat in his seat, waiting for other passengers to board the Las Vegas-bound flight at Portland International Airport, according to his suit.
The other passenger was trying to shove the suitcase into the bin directly above Reinhardt’s seat when a flight attendant started to help, the suit states. That’s when the suitcase came crashing down upon Reinhardt, according to the suit.
The suit claims that the airline is at fault for letting the passenger board with a carry-on that was too large for the overhead bins. The suit also faults the airline for allegedly failing to train the flight attendant in properly placing luggage in the bins.
Southwest Airlines didn’t respond Wednesday to a request seeking comment. The suit doesn’t name the passenger with the suitcase and isn’t seeking damages from that person.
The article includes an on-line poll, asking readers Who is most liable?
- Southwest Airlines: The plaintiff is right to sue the company — the overhead bins create a dangerous situation, especially when passengers lug on big bags.
- The passenger with the suitcase: He or she was trying to game the system — and ended up hurting the plaintiff, according to the allegations in the suit.
- No one: Accidents happen.
This is a tough one. I think passengers need to be responsible with their carry on luggage, making sure it appropriate in size and weight. I also think that airlines also need to enforce carry on policies and (gasp) use the sizing bins. I also think accidents happen! And as of publication, the voters of the on-line poll are also pretty evenly split on this one with 38 percent thinking the passenger with the suitcase is liable, while 32 percent think accidents happen, and 30 percent think Southwest Airlines is at fault. I think carry-on luggage is just about 100 percent out of control. What do you think?