A 73-year-old man ordered the chicken on an American Airlines flight from Barcelona to New York. The meal was allegedly contaminated with deadly bacteria. He became ill and his condition worsened on the next leg of his flight from New York to Miami. The man died shortly after the flight emergency landed in Virginia. The surviving family members have filed a lawsuit naming the airline and the catering company used by the airline to supply its meals. The wrongful death suit is seeking more than $1 million in damages from the two companies.
American Airlines is already facing a number other legal difficulties. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. It is not yet clear how the financial troubles faced by the airline will affect passengers on its remaining flights. Certainly passengers have a right to expect a safe flight, including reliable food service. At this point, the airline has not commented on the lawsuit. The catering company denied any involvement, claiming they did not cater the flight on which the man became ill.
In addition to questions over the potential contamination of the food, the family believes that the man should not have been allowed to board the second flight until he had been given proper medical attention for his symptoms. Before boarding that flight, he exhibited stomach cramping, thirst, and other signs of significant illness. On the second flight, his condition worsened to include nausea and a cardiac event that finally caused the airline to land prematurely.
Few people would list bacterial contamination among their worries over airline incidents. For this man, the result of his flight was fatal. Hopefully the lawsuit will help uncover what went wrong so it can be corrected before another tragedy strikes.
Source: The Daily Mail, “American Airlines sued after man DIES after in-flight meal,” 1 December 2011