An American Airlines passenger jet. Courtesy American Airlines
American Airlines was sued by a San Diego man who alleges he was wrongfully barred from future flights with the company after a 2019 interaction with a flight attendant concerning the adjustment of his seat, even though a second crew member apologized for his colleague’s actions.
David Klein’s Los Angeles Superior Court negligence suit seeks compensatory damages as well as a court order allowing him to fly on AA again. A representative for the airline did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Monday.
Klein and his wife boarded an AA flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles on March 29, 2019. Shortly after they were seated, a flight attendant approached and told Klein to put his seat in an upright position, the suit states. Moments later, before Klein had adjusted his seat, the flight attendant passed by the plaintiff once again, leaned over him and began to press the seat adjustment buttons under his arm rest, the suit states.
“Surprised at having a stranger make physical contact with him, plaintiff moved the flight attendant’s arm away and told her that he would adjust his seat himself, which he immediately did,” the suit states.
The flight attendant left and there were no further interactions between her and Klein, according to the suit. Another flight attendant who had witnessed the incident apologized to Klein for his colleague’s behavior, stating that she was “having a bad day,” the suit states.
Klein says he considered the matter closed and forgot about the incident.
However, in February of this year, Klein made reservations for himself and his wife to fly on AA from Los Angeles to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten the next month for a friend’s 60th birthday celebration, the suit states. Upon arriving at Los Angeles International Airport after a ride from their San Diego home, Klein and his spouse began checking their bags and found “to their surprise and horror” that Klein was not permitted to fly on American Airlines, according to the suit.
Although AA has allegedly refused to explain why he is banned from flying with them, Klein believes that the flight attendant involved in the incident involving his seat adjustment in 2019 “solely out of spite filed a report with the airline that falsely accused plaintiff of refusing to follow safety instructions.”
By being barred from AA flights, Klein cannot fly to certain destinations with family members and will incur higher costs and a loss of time by having to take flights on other airlines, according to the suit.
“Plaintiff has written to the airline to ask them to please reinstate his right to travel, however he has not received any reply to his letter,” the suit states.
— City News Service