Irish based airlines will be monitoring closely the outcome of a law suit being taken by a Ms. Colleen O’Neal who is suing Continental Airlines and three other carriers over mental trauma she alleges she experienced during a turbulent flight. Copy cat law suits could be on the way in Ireland if Ms. O’Neal is successful in securing compensation. Ms. O’Neal alleges that her flight from College Station to Heuston, Texas on the 29th of October 2009, took off despite reports of tornados and thunder storms in the region. The 45 minute flight took over two hours due to turbulence. Ms. O’Neal complains in her law suit that the plane “fell repeatedly, and felt as if it had lost power and was falling out of the sky”.
She claims that since the flight she has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and now fears flying as she believed she was “going to die” on the flight. She claims damages for physical and mental anguish, medical bills and legal costs.
Compensation claims against airlines for trauma and anxiety arising from turbulence are rare in Ireland. However, Irish airlines will be looking on anxiously to see if this will open up the flood gates for future cases.