Passengers Filing Suit Against JetBlue Didn’t Appreciate Pilot Freaking Out On Their Flight

Turns out it’s a bit discomfiting to have a pilot yelling about terrorists during a flight, enough so that 10 passengers are suing JetBlue over the March incident when a pilot had to be locked out of the cabin and then forcefully restrained onboard.

The passengers say they feared for their lives when the pilot was running around the cabin yelling about Al-Qaeda and Jesus, and claim in the lawsuit that the airline was “grossly negligent” in allowing him to fly, reports the Associated Press.

No one on board was seriously hurt when passengers and the flight crew tried to restrain the pilot, but the flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas. The pilot claimed afterward that he was insane at the time of the incident.

He’ll be facing a hearing on Friday to determine if he’s mentally competent to stand trial for federal charges of interfering with a flight crew. A conviction could mean 20 years in jail.

JetBlue passengers sue airline over pilot scare [Associated Press]


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  1. Costner says:

    Raise your hand if you are shocked that only ten of the passengers are suing. I’m not sure how many people were on board at the time of the incident, but I would expect at least 60% of them to be involved in a lawsuit eventually.

    Hey… that is the American way right?

    • Cacao says:

      I had a similar experience but with a flight attendant. It was a TWA flight from London to JFK. 2 engine plane, one of the engines went out. We had to return to the airport. But wait, we had to prepare for an emergency landing and ‘assume the position’. The flight attendant in question went through the cabin advising us of this. When a fellow passenger asked her why, she snapped ‘because the pilot said so, that’s why’. Yeah, she lost her shit. Not a good thing for someone in authority. I really wanted to complain to the airline about her. For more training possibly. But sue the airline? Nah.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        “Similar” experience? Seriously?

        Situation 1: The plane is fine, there’s no security risk, and the pilot starts running up and down the aisles shouting about terrorism and how they’re not going to make it to their destination.

        Situation 2: A plane has lost an engine (which is by no means catastrophic, but is certainly a significant problem requiring immediate attention, and with some degree of risk), and a flight attendant responds snippily (but accurately; “because the captain says so” is a legitimate answer based on FAA regs) to a passenger’s question about safety procedure.

        Yeah, they’re totally the same thing.

  2. Invader Zim says:

    Just out of the jetblue, the pilot starts yelling, and then the flight suddenly became way more interesting than ever thought posssible. Stop yer whining humans.

  3. CrazyEyed says:

    I guess people are playing the lottery different ways these days.

  4. Doubting thomas says:

    If he had a documented history of mental illnesses, and/or psychotic breaks then this suit might have some merit. If not suck it up and be glad you are alive.

  5. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Suing? Were you hurt? No? Then shut the f*ck up.

  6. CrazyEyed says:

    Lawsuits…21st Centuries’ Gold Rush

  7. The Cupcake Nazi says:

    I’m really at a loss to see how a pilot having a breakdown should automatically be the airline’s fault. I hate to say it, but sometimes, shit happens. It’s entirely possible for a person to pass every rotuine check you can throw at them, and then snap anyway for unpredictable or unknown reasons.

    • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

      The airline, that’s where he had them. They laughed at him and made jokes, but he proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the cockpit DID exist. And he’d have produced that key if they hadn’t taken the Jetblue flight out of action.

    • Stickdude says:

      It’s the airline’s fault because they have deeper pockets than the pilot.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Of course. And if he had taken some approved medication and had a bad reaction to it, how do you predict that? Everything turned out all right, and no one was hurt. They need to get over it. Just because they got scared is no reason to sue.

  8. stevenpdx says:

    Emotional distress? Please.

  9. gman863 says:

    This is known in the legal trade as a “nuisance” lawsuit.

    1) Lawyer trolls for enough people on the flight who claim “mental anguish” or higher-than-normal dry cleaning bills because they shit their pants when the pilot freaked; files suit.

    2) JetBlue is anxious to forget the incident, wishes the cell phone videos of the insane pilot on YouTube would stop getting as many hits as Rebecca Black’s Friday got last Summer. They also don’t want the cable news channels to keep airing it if the suit drags on and eventually gets in front of a jury.

    3) JetBlue offers each plaintiff $25,000. The attorney keeps around $11K per person (100 people = $1.1 million); net about $14K to each freaked out flyer. The case is quietly settled out of court with a settlement clause barring anyone from talking about the dollar amount lest their tounge and genitalla will be forcibly removed by a guy named Guido.

    4) Each nuveau riche passenger immediately blows their share of the money on a motorcycle, breast implants or any other item they can sue the manufacturer over in a few years due to an upcoming related “injury”.

    Isn’t law fun?

  10. RedShirt says:

    Did the airline do anything to compensate the passengers that missed their connecting flights, etc for the inconvenience? I mean, I think at the very least every passenger is owed a free travel voucher good for an additional round-trip flight anywhere the customer chooses.

  11. r-nice says:

    People sue for any damn thing.

    Also, why is the pilot on trial? He lost his shit and now he’s facing 20 years in prison? Prison!?!

  12. Libertas says: