Tuesday, January 27, 2009

US Airways is PAYING the passengers in the Hudson River accident!!?? WHY?

U.S. Airways Passengers Get $5000.00 Each: Is it Enough?

By Gary Stoller, from USA TODAY

Many US Airways passengers who endured a crash landing in the Hudson River 12 days ago say they appreciate the $5,000 that the airline has offered — but some say it's not enough.

Joe Hart, a salesman from Charlotte who suffered a bloody nose and bruises, says he "would like to be made whole for the incident."

It's too soon after the accident to determine what emotional distress he has suffered, he says.

He's one of 150 passengers who were dramatically rescued Jan. 15, when the Charlotte-bound Airbus A320 jet safely ditched into the frigid river off Midtown Manhattan. A pilot on the plane told air-traffic controllers that birds struck the plane before both engines failed after takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport.

After the crash, US Airways sent passengers a letter of apology, a $5,000 check to assist "with immediate needs" and reimbursement for the ticket.

Exactly how much compensation is appropriate is a question after crashes.

The National Air Disaster Alliance & Foundation, a safety advocacy group, says $5,000 is not enough.

"We're grateful everyone survived, and the captain on the plane was so marvelous," says Gail Dunham, the group's executive director. "But passengers lost luggage, briefcases, cellphones, BlackBerrys and business documents, and went through a terrific ordeal."

Like many, Hart says he left a lot of items behind and doesn't know which ones may be lost.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates aviation accidents, wants to examine baggage and belongings, and determine how much they weighed on the plane, says spokesman Peter Knudson.

It could take "weeks or months" before they are returned to passengers, he says.

Hart and another passenger, Dave Sanderson, say they each left more than $5,000 worth of items on the plane.

Sanderson, a sales manager in Charlotte, says US Airways' letter and checks were "a nice gesture," and the airline's personnel "have treated me like gold since the incident."

US Airways Vice President Jim Olson says that an insurance claims specialist is contacting passengers and that they'll be reimbursed for expenses or losses above $5,000.

The airline wants to ensure no passenger is "losing money for the inconvenience or anything lost during the accident," he says. (Z: WHAT? The airlines was pretty 'inconvenienced, too...who's making it up to them, PETA? The zoo?)

Under Department of Transportation regulations, airlines are liable for up to $3,300 per passenger for checked bags that are lost or damaged on a domestic flight. Most airlines disclaim liability for carry-on bags unless a crewmember stowed the bag, says Bill Mosley, a department spokesman.

In addition to recovering losses, Hart says he's concerned about having trouble flying. He's flown on six planes since the accident, and each flight has gotten "progressively more difficult." (Z: will US Airways pay for his therapy? It's sad, but why do they OWE HIM?)

He says he was tense, sweated and "felt every bit of turbulence" on a Los Angeles-to-Philadelphia flight last week, though it wasn't that turbulent a flight. (Z: Can someone explain THIS one? NO TURBULENCE? How can you feel HALF of it, anyway?)

Hart says he has talked to a lawyer in North Carolina but hasn't decided whether to take any legal action.

"I want to see how things play out with US Airways," he says. "I'm hopeful US Airways understands the significance of the incident."

Kreindler & Kreindler, a New York law firm that has represented plaintiffs in crashes, says it has been contacted by several passengers on the US Airways flight.

The firm's lawyers are determining what injuries and emotional distress passengers may have suffered, and what parties might be liable under New York state law, says Noah Kushlefsky, a partner in the firm.

In many aviation accidents, survivors have claimed post-traumatic stress disorder. To recover damages, plaintiffs have to prove that injury or distress was caused by negligence, or the jet or its engines not performing as they should, Kushlefsky says. New York law requires a lawsuit to be filed within three years of an incident, he says.

Sanderson, a father of four, says he's thankful he could celebrate his 48th birthday on Friday and has no reason to talk to an attorney. (Z: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you're the MAN!)

"US Air has been doing the right thing," he says. "Everyone is acting in a responsible way."

Fred Berretta, who suffered a small cut on his head during the crash landing, says US Airways representatives have called frequently and treated him very well. He says that a few personal mementos from his father were left behind but that the money sent by US Airways covers the value of his belongings.

Berretta, who works for a financial services company, was flown home to Charlotte after the crash on his company's jet.

"I'm a private pilot, and I'm sure I'll be flying again," he says. "But it might be a little while before I fly for pleasure again."

Amber Wells of Charlotte says she's so thankful to have survived and to be with her 9-month-old daughter, Rayley, that she hasn't had time to think about her belongings.

She says she lost $2,000 of nursing equipment and a laptop computer, as well as a checked bag and a carry-on bag.

"Everything that's gone can be replaced," says Wells, 34, a senior manager for NASCAR. "My life cannot be replaced." (Z; ATTABOY, kid..a NASCAR guy knows the right thing to say..kind of goes along with my article below, huh?)

Z: One man above says "would like to be made whole for the incident." Maybe he ought to go on Oprah instead, ya THINK? One man says "he left a lot of items behind and doesn't know which ones may be lost." That's funny! I was on that flight and THINK I lost a diamond bracelet worth half a million dollars, I think US Airways ought to pay for THAT, too! One "felt turbulence"...how could he NOT? Is this all US AIRWAYS' FAULT? WHY ARE THEY PAYING ANYTHING? Contact PETA, the geese were the terrorists, maybe PETA will make good?

geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeZ! I simply CANNOT BELIEVE THIS! CAN YOU?



Steve Harkonnen said...

WHAT????? It's clearly not the airlines' fault!

If I were the president of this airline, I'd be secretly wishing they'd all have ended up smeared all over concrete instead.

Papa Frank said...

I think they should all take the $5000 with a big smile and lay the checks at the feet of the pilot who arguably saved all their lives.

Anonymous said...

I read this in disbelief. How can anyone go from being grateful he's alive, to greed in such short order?

How disgraceful. I'm speechless, well, almost.

Since the sum of everything seems to comes down to money these days, will the pilot get a raise? He's the only one who deserves it.


christian soldier said...

I agree w/PapaFrank...

DaBlade said...

It's sad really. You buys yer ticket, you take yer chances. It's not like there was any neglegence here on the airlines. Give this guy a goose sandwich and throw him out.

WomanHonorThyself said...

yup the litigious society at its ugliest my friend!

CJ said...

I agree about the disgusting greed of some people, but I would guess it has something to do with insurance or at least a longstanding policy about air accidents. When I lost all my belongings in a hotel fire as a teenager, the hotel's insurance paid for everything I claimed was lost. The fire wasn't the hotel's fault either.

Kris said...

yes i can believe...when anything happens people see dollar signs. this was not the airlines fault. the fact they are giving $5000 is very genereous. the airlines are out the fares, the gas, the equipment, the sick leave of employees and the cost of the plane...like you said...who is bailing them out?


David Wyatt said...


It just goes back to your "Ice Cream" post. Jeremiah 17:9

Steve Harkonnen said...

I've come back to offer more thoughts on this.

If I were a survivor of this flight? Honestly, I would give the money back - but the airline would have to promise me that they give back meals on flights two hours or longer.

I.H.S. said...

I have a cousin that is a flight attendant with US air and as I have said before she was on a plane that was taking off right behind the one that went down. And, it really made me a little nervous so, I think I need to call those lawyers and see if they can get me $5000 for mental distress.

I'll use the money for "therapy"

Give me a break, are they serious?


Anonymous said...

Z, I'm disgusted at the lot of them. If they needed medical attention, then I can see the airlines paying the medical bill and a "sweetener" of $5oo-1000 for the pain and suffering. I talked to my uncle, a reformed lawyer, and he said when the economy gets rough the lawyers get VERY busy.

Nanette's company owns and operates about 10 hotels. A week ago they hired a real sharp 28 year old manager for one of their FL properties, and everything was looking FANTASTIC! Three days ago Nanette got a phone call from a frantic and VERY GAY front desk clerk at that same hotel that "Sue" (new mgr.) had sexually assaulted him!

Nanette sent two of her best people down there to get "Sue" out of the hotel ASAP and sit her down to get her side of the story. Turns out that she was HAMMERED on vino, and said that she "couldn't remember a thing."

The lobby video tape showed "Sue" trying to French kiss the "greek boy" while he pushed her away, repeatedly. The next day Nanette fired the new manager and the company did all they could to comfort the poor traumatized night clerk. :-)

Enter the lawyers. The dipsh!t girl, "Sue" wants copies of the tape for a "wrongful termination" case and the front desk twinkle toes wants some sort of compensation for TRAUMA! LOL! I'm not kidding! You should see Sue, she's HOT!! They don't have a Navy installation in her neighborhood? She couldn't tell by the swish in his speech? Maybe she was trying to "fix" him? LOL! This is too rich!

WTHELL ever happened to the concept of SHAME! Sometimes I think the whole world's going mad.


Average American said...

The sad part is that every friggin ambulance chaser in the country will be hounding these folks to sue, even the ones who don't plan to now.

The way I see it, any one who can show they actually lost over $5,000 should and probably will be "made whole"(a damned lawyer term)without having to resort to giving a lawyer a fortune. The few people actually physically injured should and will be taken care of, and I'm sure that will include any lost wages. This crap about intangible loss and PTSD and what ever other bullshit they dream up should be rewarded also, with counter charges for "frivilous lawsuits"(another lawyer term)brought against them.

When all claims have been paid, the airline should sue PETA for letting those filthy geese propagate so close to an airport!

Anonymous said...

That guy that wants to be "made whole" is just looking for a fast buck. Instead of being glad to be alive and being glad to get five grand to cover his losses, he wants more for his pain and suffering , eh? Pathetic.

Z said...

Hey, guys!? Doesn't ANYBODY read the whole posts anymore!! LOL!!

Bummer is that I heard Glenn Beck, ten minutes after I posted this, say these people ought to sue the Audoban Society..better than my idea of suing PETA!! VERY clever!!

Anonymous said...

Z, I'm one off the many who got po'd when the "made whole" term came up, and we VENTED! :-) I'll go read some.


Elmers Brother said...

Having seen and been a part of severaly high profile airline crashes and been a part of the recovery, I can see why someone may take awhile to get over the anxiety of flying again AND that person(s) may need therapy. However no one should get anything other than their belongings and medical bills taken care of. The rest is letigious gobblety gook.

Z said...

Elbro. you're so right.
people HAVE suffered, no doubt about it, I feel terrible for them all!.....and some may NEVER fly again, we have to know that!
I just don't see the airplane company paying for years of therapy when THEY didn't cause this and I know you agree!

What does it say about US that we have a country that would promote this kind of thing? MAN.

Papa Frank said...

I like the new photo much better.

Brooke said...

You'd think that these folks would b happy to be alive, but noooooo... some of them think they've hit the litigation lottery.

Chuck said...

Maybe he ought to go on Oprah instead, ya THINK

I disagree, this is clearly something for Dr Phil.

I would like to see the airline to tell these people to take a hike. Let them sue then countersue their lawyers for malpractice. It's actually been done. What it is going to take is for these companies to take a stand and not buckle in.

This pilot and company did an incredible job. These people need to shut up and enjoy being alive because of this pilot.

Z said...

Chuck; dr. Phil..better, you're right
And, you're right...the airline should have said "You're kidding us, RIGHT?"

Papa, I was sent this image JUST after I'd posted the original piece! Couldn't believe it! MUCH better.

Brooke....we're raising generations of Americans expecting this kind of thing!! It's utterly INSANE!

These people ought to be on their knees giving thanks for their lives....instead, they're on the take. I hate this.

shoprat said...

I think 5 Grand for those who were unhurt is generous. This was a major inconvenience to those who missed where they had to be and some remittance is in line, but complaining about it not being enough is just so juvenile, so leftist.

Anonymous said...

Frankly I'M just amazed that PETA hasn't filed a suit to shut down ALL the airlines for their cruelty to poor, innocent, unsuspecting fowl.

It may happen yet.

ANYTHING is possible in this insane world.

In an oblique fashion we are STILL making "sacrifices" to appease FATE.

SOMEONE MUST be BLAMED and HELD RESPONSIBLE and then PUNISHED for everything that goes wrong.

The ancients used to burn selected victims alive on altars or stone them to death --- or accuse them of being "witches" and then PERSECUTE them. Invariably these poor unfortunate wretches were reviled, physically abused and then either hanged, our burned at the stake --- and all in the name of RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Today, we just try to SUE them into submission.

BANKRUPTING selected victims is every bit as effective as killing them outright, don't you know?

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...


I think it would be more than appropriate if all the passengers, who are indeed GRATEFUL their lives were spared, agreed to donate THEIR $5,000.00 to the PILOT who acted with such magnificent poise and presence of Mind.

~ FreeThinke

sue said...

I love the drawing at the top.

Anonymous said...

THis is what the country has turned into.
A bunch of greedy ungrateful opportunists who don't deserve to live in the best country in the world.

This incident was an Act of God, just like Katrina was an act of God, and lots of other things are acts of God.

This man is a jerk, and that my dears is why we have we have now in D.C.

Yes, it is the ice cream story all over again.


highboy said...

Glenn Beck almost always has a good solution.

Z said...

highboy! What did Glenn Beck say??

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I'm glad some of the passengers "get it".

(Z: WHAT? The airlines was pretty 'inconvenienced, too...who's making it up to them, PETA? The zoo?)


In life, stuff happens. It's ridiculous to hold the airline responsible; if anything, they should be rewarded for having a competent airline crew.

The ones who think they should milk more money should have their names known so we can publicly shame them.

Ducky's here said...

US Airways evidently considers this a sound public relations gesture.

Why the big uproar?

If it bugs you so much don't fly U.S. Air.

CJ said...

I thought Z's post was saying the airlines owe nobody anything at all, no? That's what I responded to anyway. Many responses are only objecting to some of the complaints above and beyond the original %5000.

I don't understand giving the passengers a lump sum like that at all, but I did think that normally the passengers' belongings are insured in case of loss in such an event. I don't know why this isn't being handled by an insurance company rather than the airline. Some of the passengers probably did have belongings with them worth more than $5000. There's nothing wrong with expecting to be compensated for such losses in case of an accident.

As for the mental injury claims, poppycock, THAT's the litigious mentality we've been subjected to for the last few decades. But not the basic compensation for material loss.

Rick Frea said...

Everybody who boards a plane knows the risks of flying, even birds.

Z said...

Ducky, you honestly don't see a problem? WOW People are SUING over an accident. Sometimes I think this exact point is the biggest difference between libs and cons...ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, DUCKY...UTOPIA DOES NOT EXIST and sometimes people just have to get over the accident and take R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y...

CJ...Absolutely right; apparently the law says the airline must recompense for something like $3300 ...there's a mention of that in the piece, I believe.
I feel anything like psychotherapy for stress or saying you're not sure what you lost but it was valuable, or ANYTHING over the standard amount seems totally unfair to the airlines to me.
But, of course, it's not too popular to champion a BIG COMPANY (see Ducky's remark...fine if they mea culpa for an accident? Some don't see the difference, I guess)

IF the airlines WANTS to do something...whatever, fine. It sets a terrible precedent, but...whatever
But for people to sue? WOW


CJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


From your post I'm not sure whether you are more annoyed at "Sue" for being an aggressive, drunken hoyden engaging in inappropriate conduct on the job --- or at the clerk who was not man enough to accept and enjoy her untoward advances with aplomb, and thus save you the trouble of having to fire the "hotbox" and then having to respond to a frivolous and malicious lawsuit?

You may not realize it, but your contempt for the clerk appears to be stronger than your disapproval of the out-of-control vixen.

Eeeeeentersting! Varry varry eeeeeenteresting!

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...


Is it your position that it was it the CLERK'S fault that you are faced with a lawsuit?

Even if the clerk had been BILL CLINTON, himself, that still would not have excused HER conduct, would it?

~ FT

Ducky's here said...

Well z, it depends on the nature of the suit.

If it's a suit to recover lost property then I'm not going to get too excited.

Now other damage suits seem to be without merit. I doubt the airline will have much trouble defending against any questions of liability especially after the pilot performed so well.
It was a natural disaster and it would be exceptionally difficult to claim otherwise and prevail.

Tempest in a teapot I think.

Z said...

Ducky. Put the law down. I think you're right in what you said in your last comment. Apparently, the airlines are insured for lost or destroyed baggage, that's fine.

Here's my point, Duck....That people would feel they're OWED something for having been in a situation that was entirely unavoidable.

Hypothetical: You go to the grocery store, a big chain....they've just washed the floors and did a really good job drying it all up but one spot of water brings you down on your back side. Do you sue? is it malice?

My point is sometimes things are just ACCIDENTS and Americans used to say "Man, I fell, I should have looked where I was going..no malice, done." Not anymore.

In France, you can be walking on the sidewalk and there's a huge worker's hole in the cement; There's a sign that basically says "only an idiot would fall down this hole...careful!" that's it...maybe a little yellow tape around it, but that's it.

At Brasserie Lipp (a wonderful Bistro in St Germain) the stairs down to the bathrooms are SO steep that, when I returned to my seat one night, I told our dinner partners "you know, if this were America, there'd be a table with lawyers sitting down at the bottom of the stairs in case you fell." In France, they just don't.

WHY would airline passengers SUE when their LIVES WERE SAVED? Forget the baggage..I understand that....

Pat Jenkins said...

maybe they should treat them like oceanic did with the "lost" bunch. let them fly for free for the rest of their lives..

Anonymous said...

Well, we can say only one thing with perfect certainty:


~ FreeThinke