A dispute over first class lavatory usage on a Las Vegas to Portland flight is leading an Oregon couple to sue Alaska Airlines for $11,000+.
Via Oregon Live:
The pair were seated in the first-class cabin, and DeWitt needed to use the restroom. Yet passengers from coach kept walking up to use the first-class restroom — and DeWitt grew more uncomfortable by the minute as she waited for an opportunity to use the toilet.
Patton said when DeWitt asked a flight attendant if she would make an announcement stating that passengers were only to use the restrooms in their assigned cabins, the flight attendant said she would not.
“The flight attendant got real snippy,” Patton said. When DeWitt eventually made it into the restroom, the flight attendant slammed the door shut, the suit states. DeWitt said her shoulder was hurt, and she asked for the flight attendant’s name, Patton said.
A short while later, the flight attendant handed DeWitt and Dobbs a form she’d filled out, stating the couple had created an in-flight disturbance by verbally assaulting her, Patton said.
DeWitt and Dobbs say they did no such thing.
Patton said as the plane pulled up to the gate in Portland, passengers were told to remain seated while Port of Portland police boarded and escorted DeWitt and Dobbs off.
So what are they actually suing over?
DeWitt suffered a rotator cuff injury and impingement syndrome — requiring about two months of physical therapy, Patton said. She is seeking $1,498 for her medical expenses and $7,000 in non-economic damages for pain, suffering and inconvenience.
DeWitt and Dobbs also are seeking $1,500 each for humiliation from being taken into custody, Patton said.
Patton said the airline offered to settle the case by paying DeWitt’s medical expenses — plus a few hundred dollars more, but the couple turned the offer down.
It’s an interesting case for sure. Of course we don’t know what really happened, though I can relate to the general struggle. They often announce that the forward lavatory is exclusively for first class passengers, but then don’t enforce it, meaning a queue of economy passengers forms, and then it’s tough to use the lavatory as a first class passenger.
The first thoughts that come to mind are:
- Many flight attendants will announce that the first class lavatory is reserved exclusively for passengers seated in first class due to FAA regulations. Now, I think the “FAA regulations” line is bogus, but at the same time if the passengers have heard that announcement before, can you blame them for asking it be repeated on that flight?
- Best I can tell the passengers weren’t arrested or charged on arrival, which suggests they didn’t do anything too horrible
- Why on earth was the flight attendant slamming the door when the passenger used it?
- Alaska did offer to pay the medical bills, which seems to suggest there’s at least some merit to the couple’s case
What do you make of this story?