Travel Trouble

Courtney Allan

Passenger left “scarred” by in-flight accident

Passenger left “scarred” by in-flight accident

An Australian woman is suing Hawaiian Airlines after an incident involving “scalding hot” tea landed on her lap due to an airline hostess’ mistake.

Dimity Plaister, 47, from the Gold Coast, was flying from Brisbane to Honolulu for a ten-day holiday in April, 2017.

However, as she was settling down and preparing for the long flight, an airline hostess accidentally knocked the cardboard cup of tea off Ms Plaister’s tray table whilst passing a carton of milk.

The black tea landed on her lap, burning her skin and saturating her clothes.

Plaister lodged a statement of claims in the Federal Court in Brisbane, claiming that the incident left her with burns to her hip, thigh and buttocks, permanent scarring as well as an aggravation of anxiety and depression.

According to court documents, Plaister immediately told cabin crew what had happened but was not “offered medical treatment or assistance by cabin crew to dry her lap or ease her pain”.

“As a result of the incident, the applicant suffered burns to her hip, thigh and buttocks as well as psychological injury,” the statement of claim read.

“Ms Plaister was unable to enjoy her 10-day booked and paid-for holiday in Honolulu due to her symptoms and the restrictions arising from the injuries she sustained.”

She is claiming an unspecified amount of damages from the airline under the Montreal Convention, which is the global treaty that governs the liability of airlines to passengers on international flights.

Hawaiian Airlines revealed their thoughts in a statement to news.com.au, saying that they’re “disappointed” the matter has gone to court.

“We won’t be commenting on specifics as this matter is in legal process. This was an unfortunate incident which we have investigated internally,” the airline said in a statement.

“We were disappointed to learn of this court case as we are satisfied that appropriate procedures were followed on board. We also continually review our safety procedures against international airline industry standards to ensure the in-flight safety of our passengers.”

Travel law solicitor Sean Sweeny, from Shine Lawyers, has said that these kinds of incidents are becoming more common.

He told news.com.au: “We are receiving a rising number of inquiries from travellers with scalding injuries, which is a genuine problem in the airline industry,” Mr Sweeney explained.

“Airline carriers are required to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their passengers on board and should be taking proactive steps to stop burns being sustained in flight.

“We welcome discussion by airlines around steps which might be taken to further protect the safety of those on board.”