Not surprisingly, the woman who overstayed her visit on a United Express/Trans State regional jet is suing United.
The lawsuit claims false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress and negligence…
According to police and the Transportation Security
Administration, the passenger didn’t wake up when her United Express flight from Dulles airport outside Washington landed shortly after midnight Tuesday.
Not that it excuses the hapless Trans States flight crew, but this woman must have been tipsy or drugged up–how else can you sleep through a landing, taxi, and de-boarding of a small airplane?
But here’s a twist that makes this case interesting:
At about 4 a.m., a cleaning crew found her and locked her back in, the newspaper reported. Federal officials concerned about terrorists later questioned her.
Suddenly, false imprisonment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligence sound plausible. I wonder if she was banging on the door and screaming? Apparently, she didn’t pay attention to the safety briefing or wasn’t trapped long enough to utilize the emergency exits. The fact that she wasn’t literally trapped (the aircraft door wasn’t locked and the emergency exits could have been utilized) may discount her false imprisonment argument.
There’s still unanswered questions and missing facts, but as this story becomes clearer I will keep you updated.
In any case, I hope United will be able to implead Trans States. UA should use this incident to re-evaluate its philosophy on regional jets: over and over again regionals have done a poor job representing their bosses. Regional airlines are here to stay–and make no mistake, I am thankful for them–but perhaps Trans States planes should feature Trans States livery instead bearing the name of United Express. This incident demonstrates the pitfalls of letting someone else do your work. As the cliche goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself.
What happened to personal responsibility?? Hopefully the Judge will see this as the money grab it is and promptly throw it out.
@Nathaniel: I do find it strange that anyone can sleep though what this woman did (meaning that I think she shares some of the blame), but I can’t excuse the dereliction of duty displayed by the Trans States employees. She should not have been left onboard.
At this point, though, my only concern is that United Airlines isn’t blamed for this.