Hoping to avert a class action lawsuit, Alaska Airlines has proactively offered a full refund, counseling, and a $1,500 payment to every passenger onboard flight 1282, which was forced to make an emergency landing last Friday after a major technical issue shortly after takeoff.
$1,500 Compensation From Alaska Airlines To Passengers On 737 MAX 9 Flight 1282
Last Friday, a door plug detached from an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 five minutes after takeoff when the aircraft was at 16,000 feet. The detachment rapidly depressurized the cabin and left a gaping hole in the fuselage of the plane.While the California-bound flight safely diverted to Portland, Oregon, the root cause of the accident remains unclear and federal regulators have grounded 170 of these aircraft pending further inspection.
Just hours after the accident, Alaska Airlines sent a note to passengers offering:
- a full refund of their ticket cost
- $1,500 “to assist with any inconveniences”
- counseling services from Empathia
Alaska also offered impacted passengers “a complimentary upgrade for more legroom and free inflight snacks” on their new flight bookings.
Will that be enough to assuage a barrage of lawsuits in the day ahead? The Washington Post spoke to Nicholas Hoch, 33, one of the passengers on the flight:
“I haven’t fully processed if that payment is enough or not. I don’t know how this is going to affect me in the coming weeks and months, you know?
“Just think about if you went to a trauma therapist. How much does $1,500 get you? I don’t know, it’s not a lot.
“How do they calculate that stuff? How do you come up with $1,500? I … and all other passengers should have a voice in how that’s calculated.”
It is a bit too premature for me to analyze the legal stakes of this case or how strong a case passengers may have in seeking additional redress, but I do feel comfortable saying that Alaska won’t get away with $1,500 and a flight refund…or an upgrade to “Premium Class” (four more inches of legroom than the Main Cabin). The emotional distress experienced by passengers is likely quite intense and genuine in this incident.
Alaska Airlines offered $1,500 (plus a refund and counseling and rebooking help) to passengers onboard AS1282. While that is likely just a starting point, it quite a modest starting point indeed. That said, it may be that Boeing ultimately ends up paying rather than Alaska…