United Airlines passengers demand $5 million in compensation

A group of passengers of the United Airlines flight UAL328 has filed a lawsuit claiming that the incident in which the carrier’s Boeing 777-200 suffered an uncontained engine failure while en route from Denver, United States to Honolulu, Hawaii, US, caused them to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the lawsuit handled by the Chicago-based Clifford Law Office, travelers claim that the explosion of an engine of the Boeing 777-200, registered as N772UA, significantly affected their mental health causing them severe emotional distress, also known as post-traumatic stress disorder. Passengers accuse United Airlines of improper inspection of its aircraft leading to an emergency and seek to get compensation reaching $5 million.

“The 231 passengers on board UA328 were lucky to escape with their lives, as the flight managed to land with no serious physical injuries; however, it left these passengers in fear for their life for nearly 20 minutes. […] Nearly all of them experienced the emotional distress that would be a natural human emotional response to a near-death experience,“ the lawsuit reads as it was reported by local media.

The emergency occurred when the United Airlines aircraft was operating a regular flight from 

Denver International Airport (DEN) to its intended destination of Honolulu International Airport (HNL) at 1:04 PM local time (UTC -7) on February 20, 2021. Shortly after departure, the right-hand jet engine suffered an uncontained failure and started scattering engine parts over several neighborhoods around Denver. Due to the emergency, the aircraft was forced to turn back to its departure airport.

The passenger lawsuit against United Airlines came after the recent decision of Japan Airlines to stop operating jets powered by the Pratt & Whitney engines involved in the UA328 incident. On April 6, 2021, the Japanese air carrier announced that following the explosion of an engine in the US, it retired 13 Boeing 777 jets equipped with the particular PW-4400 series engine.

The legal civil actions when flyers complain and seek financial compensation for suffering a post-traumatic stress disorder after incidents are common measures in commercial aviation. 

On March 15, 2021, a former QantasLink pilot Jacinda Cottee filed a lawsuit against the airline after suffering PTSD due to an incident when the QantasLink Boeing 717 was involved in an in-flight engine failure. The incident occurred on March 10, 2018, when Cottee was the First Officer (FO) on the domestic airline‘s flight QF1799 from Alice Springs (ASP) to Brisbane (BNE), Australia. A few moments before landing, the aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce BR700 engine, suffered an engine failure due to damaged compressor blades.

The former flight crew member seeks $783,811 in damages and costs from the airline arguing that the incident occurred due to a breach of safety from the air carrier and has put an end to the pilot‘s career since the psychological injury left her unable to fly anymore.


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