A woman is taking Irish carrier Aer Lingus to court, seeking damages after the airline’s crew allegedly pulled her out of the lavatory before take-off. The incident took place on an April 2018 flight. Filed in US court last week, the plaintiff, a woman by the name of Mary Oshana, claims that Aer Lingus staff “acted unreasonably, carelessly, and negligently”.
The entire incident took place on April 26th, 2018 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport with the Aer Lingus flight due to depart for Dublin.
Oshana claims to have suffered injuries and embarrassment as a result of the incident in which she was pulled out of the lavatory. As she was being dragged back to her seat, Oshana claims that her pants were still below her knees, her buttocks and genitalia exposed to seated passengers along the way. The plaintiff also claims to have suffered injuries to her hip during the incident.
The timeline of events
According to Irish media outlet Independent.ie, Oshana’s flight had taxied from the departure gate and had remained stopped on the tarmac for approximately 30 minutes before taxiing on towards the runway for take-off. It was at this time that Oshana left her seat for the lavatory.
Court filings go on to say that about 20 seconds after entering the toilet, pulling her pants down and seating herself, she heard one or more persons banging on the door. She was being told to return to her seat. Oshana responded to the demand by saying “in just a minute”.
It was 20 seconds after this that two Aer Lingus flight attendants “broke through the lavatory door, grabbed the plaintiff under her arms, dragged her to her seat while her pants were below her knees, and threw her with great force into the arm rest and seat”.
“In the process of being thrown with great force into the arm rest and seat, the plaintiff, Mary Oshana, suffered pain and bruising in her hip, thighs and buttocks,” – Official court filings via Independent.ie
Court documents also claim that she saw and heard male passengers seated behind her pointing and laughing at her.
An ‘Initial status hearing’ has been set for June 2nd, 2020 at 09:00 (Eastern Standard Time).
A difficult situation
Taking a step back and looking at the situation, it certainly seems like a difficult circumstance. If the aircraft had indeed been on the tarmac for 30 minutes awaiting take-off, then it’s understandable if Mary Oshana had a ‘bathroom emergency’. It seems likely that she was waiting for the aircraft to take-off in order to use the lavatory. More often than not, this doesn’t take too long after the aircraft pushes back from the terminal.
On the Aer Lingus side, we can also see the difficult situation the airline would be in. After queuing for some time to reach the runway, a passenger is found to be in the lavatory moments before take-off. With other aircraft possibly waiting to land and certainly more aircraft taking off, someone being held up in the lavatory for “just a minute” can have far-reaching knock-on effects for airport operations. It certainly seems like a difficult situation for both parties involved.
How do you think this court case will turn out? Who was in the right? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Simple Flying has reached out to Aer Lingus for comment. However, at the time of publication, no response has been received. Although it is unlikely that the airline will comment on an open court case, we will update this article if any new information comes in.