Have you ever been traveling and felt unsafe on a flight? Was it due to the weather, your personal circumstance or the quality of the airline? When you take a flight you expect to be taken care of, but what happens when you are not? As a traveler, do you have the right to complain about your experience or should you keep it to yourself? What about if you suffer an injury while on board an aircraft, did you know there are specialists in personal injury aviation accidents? Here are some tips on how to proceed if you are unhappy with your airline experience.
What to do if you have a complaint
Read terms and conditions first – It is important to be well read on your transportation company’s policies before you pay them. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before booking your flight. If you know what is guaranteed in writing before you step onto the aircraft, it will save a lot of heartache in the long run.
Deal with it immediately – If you are dissatisfied with your flight, airline or experience deal with it as soon as possible. Try going straight to the customer service desk at the airport after you land and speak with a representative. At the very least get the name and details of a manager and a number you can call to file a claim. The longer you wait the harder it will be to get the respect and compensation you deserve.
Don’t be afraid to speak up – As a traveler you have more rights than you are probably aware of. This goes back to reading the airlines terms and conditions first. Don’t be afraid to complain if it is in the bounds of what was promised by the airline. Even if you are unsure, it does not hurt to at least voice your concerns to customer service. When you hold the airline accountable, you help ensure other travelers won’t face the same issues.
Types of accidents in the clouds
In-flight accidents – Some accidents are just that, accidents. They include tripping and falling while walking in the cabin or to the bathroom or falling on the way in or out of the aircraft.
Moving objects – A large number of accidents are caused by moving objects in the aircraft, such as luggage that falls from an overhead compartment or being hit by a passing service cart.
Turbulence – This isa fairly normal occurrence on flights, but in some cases it leads to severe injury if the passenger is not wearing a seatbelt, is moving about the cabin or is not properly warned about the turbulence.
Personnel errors – Injuries can be caused by the negligence of the airline’s personnel, such as the pilot being overtired or impaired, flight attendants, ground crew members or maintenance workers failing to uphold their “heightened duty of care” that they bound to by law, since airlines fall into the category of “common carrier” or entities that transport the public for a monetary fee.
Types of claim
Making a claim for an airline accident is largely dependent on what or who caused the accident.
Negligence claim – This applies if the accident was caused by inattentiveness of airline employees or the Federal Aviation Agency,
Airline employees – Airlinepersonnel must have done something that caused the traveler to be injured such as fail to warn passengers about heavy turbulence, not properly stowing luggage or leaving hazards in the walkway
Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) – This organization responsible for the airline industry as a whole. If they fail to warn a pilot about a hazard on the runway and a crash results, causing passengers to be injured, the FAA may be held responsible.
“Acts of god”- An airline cannot be held accountable for unforeseen natural events. Sometimes the pilot and/or the flight attendants cannot see heavy turbulence coming. If you are injured and the staff did everything in their power to prevent passengers from being injured it would be considered an “act of god”.
Product liability claims – Airline staff cannot take all the blame. Sometimes it is simply that the materials used to manufacture the aircraft were defective. In such cases your claim would be filed against the manufacturer of the product that malfunctioned and caused your injury.
How to file a claim
If you find yourself in one of these situations or something similar, don’t panic. Stay calm; there are plenty of people around to help.
Directly with airline – You always have the option of dealing directly with the airline by visiting the Customer Service desk at the airport. If your problem is more serious, it may be a good idea to simply note the Customer Service manager’s name and number and seek professional help before proceeding further.
Personal injury lawyer -There are a wide variety of personal injury lawyers available, many of whom specialize in aviation injury. You can search online to find firms and lawyers in your area. Getting help from an expert is always the safest bet.
FAA – If you are interested in reporting a complaint or problem about your recent flight experience, including a personal injury, the FAA has a toll-free hotline – 866-835-5322.