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Updated January 9th, 2024 at 15:43 IST

Alaska Airlines Offers Passengers Mere $1,500 for Horror Flight as Potential Lawsuits Loom

Passengers on the Alaska Airlines flight, which experienced the mid-flight loss of its door plug, were provided a meager $1,500 as compensation.

Reported by: Manasvi Asthana
Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets
Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets | Image:Alaska Airlines
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Passengers on the Alaska Airlines flight, which experienced the mid-flight loss of its door plug, were provided a meager $1,500 as compensation for the harrowing experience. However, an attorney believes they may have a strong case for pursuing lawsuits against the airline for a more substantial payout.

The compensation package, inclusive of a ticket refund, was extended to passengers on Alaska Airlines flight 1282 through an email following the frightening incident on Friday night, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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Daniel Laurence, a partner at the Seattle-based Stritmatter Firm, who is currently representing Alaska Airlines passengers in a separate case, informed The Post that those aboard flight 1282 could explore legal avenues for seeking compensation based on "emotional distress."

“As a moral matter, $1,500 per passenger, for what could have been a death experience and might even be described… as a near death experience, is inadequate,” said Laurence.

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“They clearly would have a claim for emotional distress that was inflicted upon them,” said Laurence, adding he would not be surprised if lawsuits began rolling in as early as tomorrow.

On Friday, passengers aboard Alaska Airlines flight 1282 from Portland, Oregon, faced a terrifying incident as a door plug burst from the port side of the fuselage at around 16,000 feet during the initial ascent. Belongings were sucked out, oxygen masks deployed and a young boy's shirt was torn off.

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The flight made an emergency landing in Portland, with all 171 passengers safely deplaned, although many are left haunted by the ordeal.

Some passengers, who were seated close to the damaged area, recounted feeling they were on the brink of death.

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Emma Vu shared a TikTok video revealing texts she sent to her parents during the flight, expressing fear of death. Despite the airline's compensation offer of $1,500, a ticket refund and assistance in booking new travel, passengers are grappling with the emotional aftermath, as per the reports.

Alaska Airlines stated they are working directly with passengers for their care and alternate flight arrangements. However, passengers, including Emma Vu, voiced dissatisfaction, desiring more than complimentary upgrades.

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Attorney Daniel Laurence suggests that legal action may be pursued after a thorough investigation to determine culpability, involving Alaska Airlines, Boeing or Spirit AeroSystems.

Laurence notes that each passenger's unique experience, including their proximity to the damaged area, could influence damages in potential emotional distress suits. He emphasized that simply being on the plane during the incident justifies filing a lawsuit, given the gravity of the situation. Laurence is already leading another lawsuit against Alaska Airlines related to a separate incident.

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Following the incident, many Boeing 737 Max 9s have been grounded nationwide as airlines conduct inspections. United Airlines revealed incidents of loose bolts on door plugs in other planes during inspections, adding to concerns about the safety of such components, according to the reports.

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Published January 9th, 2024 at 15:43 IST

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