16 May 2008

Passenger sues airline over flight spent on toilet

N.Y. man traveling on 'buddy pass,' gives up seat for JetBlue crew member

JetBlue passenger forced to sit on the toilet?

May 13: A JetBlue passenger claims he was forced to sit in the plane's bathroom during a cross-country flight. Msnbc.com's Dara Brown reports.


NEW YORK - A New York City man is suing JetBlue Airways Corp. for more than $2 million because he says a pilot made him give up his seat to a flight attendant and sit on the toilet for more than three hours on a flight from California.
Gokhan Mutlu, of Manhattan's Inwood section, says in court papers the pilot told him to "go 'hang out' in the bathroom" about 90 minutes into the San Diego to New York flight because the flight attendant complained that the "jump seat" she was assigned was uncomfortable, the lawsuit said.
Mutlu was traveling on a "buddy pass," a standby travel voucher that JetBlue employees give to friends, from New York to San Diego on Feb. 16, and returned to New York on Feb. 23, the lawsuit said.

Initially, Mutlu was told a flight attendant had taken the last seat on the plane, but then he was advised she would sit in the employee "jump seat," meaning he could have the last seat, the lawsuit said.
The pilot told him 1 1/2 hours into the five-hour flight that he would have to relinquish the seat to the flight attendant, court papers say. But the pilot said that Mutlu could not sit in the jump seat because only JetBlue employees were permitted to sit there, the lawsuit said.
When Mutlu expressed reluctance to go sit in the bathroom, the pilot, who was not named in the lawsuit, told him that "he was the pilot, that this was his plane, under his command that (Mutlu) should be grateful for being on board," the lawsuit said.
The aircraft hit turbulence and passengers were directed to return to their seats, but "the plaintiff had no seat to return to, sitting on a toilet stool with no seat belts," court papers say.
Some time later, a male flight attendant knocked on the restroom door and told Mutlu he could return to his original seat, court papers say.
Mutlu's lawsuit, filed Friday in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, says JetBlue negligently endangered him by not providing him with a seat with a safety belt or harness, in violation of federal law.
A JetBlue spokesman declined comment on the lawsuit Monday.

Now My two cents!!!

Ok this is all kinds of wrong in so many ways. First off the captain was wrong because if there was no immediate emergency and the flight attendant wanted a "comfortable" seat...that's too bad. A part of the airline perks when you travel is flying at a very reduced rate or free. Now that being said, we as the public don't know the whole story. The flight attendant seat is not meant to be comfortable and in turbulence that's where the flight attendants are suppose to sit period, this is not a negotiable choice. It has to do more with after turbulence is over, incident or not the crew is in position (for emergency equipment and communications).
Buddy pass riders in the industry are the very bottom of the "get a seat" list when flying standby and for all practical purposes you have "NO" rights as a passenger. (Unwritten Rule) It's hard to say where things are going in this situation because we don't know all the variables. I'll throw a couple of things out there for ya to think about...
So when this flight originally took off where was the flight attendant sitting and where was the buddy pass rider sitting???
Did the flight attendant stand during the service and the passenger sit for the service or vice versa?
How does the captain get involved in this situation that the lead flight attendant can't handle? Normally if there is an "emergency" or "urgent" need for the cockpit crew to come out of the cockpit it's the First Officer not the Captain.
I'll come back and answer these questions as we hear more about it because this doesn't normally go on with pass riders. Also normally pass riders cannot file lawsuits against the airline because their ticket states your like a member of the airline and certains things don't apply like lawsuits.
This is a sticky situation I'll keep you updated!

Enjoy Your Flight!!!


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