Russian flag carrier Aeroflot became the source of a complaint coming from US passengers, who intend to claim up to $3.5 million from the company. On January 13, 2018, three citizens from the state of Illinois, filed a lawsuit to the United States District Court against Aeroflot referring to numerous company violations.
According to the information of the complainants Dmitry, Svetlana and Alexander Banduryn, they were not allowed to board a plane at Sheremetyevo airport (SVO) on May 5, 2018, having arrived at the gate 20 minutes prior the scheduled departure. After missing the Moscow-Helsinki flight (which was a joint flight with Finnair, also mentioned in a claim as a party to be charged), the three passengers reported spending a day in the airport without any help from the carrier. As stated in the lawsuit, the following day, instead of accommodating the passengers on other flights, Aeroflot offered them to buy new tickets, worth about $2,500 each.
US citizens not only ask for a compensation of about $12,000 plus the legal expenses, but affirm the Montreal Convention 1999 (MC-99) violation by Aeroflot, performed in a form of numerous company breaches against its passengers since 2004, as cited by Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI). They reckon, the actions of Aeroflot have been continuous and intentional, and also infringed on the American law “The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act”, commonly referred to as RICO. In case the aforementioned violations are proved, the claim could reach $3.5 million.
“We believe the size of the claim and the nature of accusation can be regarded as an attempt to exert pressure on the airline, taking into account the involvement of the media, with an intent to further reach a settlement agreement on favorable terms”, said Aeroflot Deputy Director General Vladimir Alexandrov in an official company comment, sent to AeroTime. The plaintiffs themselves admit they contravened Aeroflot regulations when saying they arrived 20 minutes before departure, as stated in Aeroflot’s comment.
The three US passengers, in their turn, insist they were late due to the poorly organized registration process. Russian RIA state news writes, based on the complaint, that only two windows for baggage check were in operation, plus the landing took place far from the exit, which made it hard for one of the passengers with a hip defect, to get there.
Aeroflot is currently looking into the circumstances of the case.