Four Alaska Airlines Crew Members Sue Boeing Over Toxic Fumes That Leaked During 2013 Flight

We imagine that working as a flight attendant can be a difficult job: serving hundreds of passengers each flight, traipsing from one city to another, and ensuring that the cabin of the aircraft is equipped and prepared for all situations. One thing these crew members shouldn’t have to worry about: working in an environment with toxic fumes. But that’s apparently what happened during an Alaska Airlines flight in 2013, and now four flight attendants are suing Boeing Co.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the flight attendants filed the lawsuit in U.S. Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, against the aircraft manufacturer for fraud, negligence and design defects related to the Boeing 737-890 aircraft after toxic fumes seeped into the plane’s cabin.

According to the suit, three of the four flight attendants lost consciousness during the July 2013 flight from Boston to San Diego. The plane made an emergency landing in Chicago, where all three crew members were rushed to the hospital.

Since then, the employees say they have suffered from “devastating health effects” such as memory issues, tremors, blinding headaches, fatigue and gastrointestinal problems.

The flight attendants contend that the scary situation was a result of the Boeing jet’s design.

Nearly all Boeing jets pull air through the engines to pressurize the cabin, however, that air can become toxic if it is exposed to heated engine oil, the suit contends.

“By reason of Boeing’s design decisions, the environmental control system on the subject aircraft lacked filters which would have purified the cabin air and prevented the subject flight attendant crew from being exposed to toxic fumes,” the lawsuit said.

A Boeing representative did not respond to the L.A. Time’s request for comment.

While the lawsuit doesn’t list a dollar amount for damages, the flight attendants say the costs should cover long-term physical problems, mental anguish, emotional distress, medical bills and lost wages, among other issues.

This isn’t the first time flight attendants have experienced air issues on planes, Jeffrey Peterson, the president of the Assn. of Flight Attendants at Alaska Airlines, tells the L.A. Times.

“We support our fellow flight attendants in their efforts to seek justice after breathing in contaminated air on board the aircraft,” he said. “In fact, AFA has been fighting for cleaner cabin air for decades while the industry has refused to acknowledge the problem.”

Flight attendants sue Boeing over ‘toxic fumes’ on Alaska Airlines jet [The Los Angeles Times]