Passenger Sues Emirates For Fainting After Being Denied Additional Water


An Australian passenger is suing Emirates for an injury she says was caused after she was refused drinking water on board a flight.

Emirates A380 on ground in dusky sky
Passenger sues Emirates over water ‘refusal’. Photo: Emirates

Melbourne resident Lina Di Falco has brought a claim for damages against the UAE carrier. Ms. Di Falco claims she was refused water on several occasions. She then fainted due to dehydration, breaking her leg during the fall.

Victoria’s Supreme Court heard how the 54-year-old Aussie had to leave a bottle of water behind before boarding Emirates Flight EK407 from Melbourne to Dubai. More than an hour after take-off she was given water with her meal but no more thereafter.

According to Di Falco flight attendants ignored her repeated pleas for water.

Di Falco explained that the injury she sustained has since caused the breakdown of her marriage. It has also caused her enduring pain and the loss of her self-confidence. The passenger’s accusations have landed Emirates in court.

Fainting causes injury

Di Falco claims she asked for water four times before she began to feel dizzy. Each time she asked she was allegedly told by the crew that she could only have water when food was served. At that point the meal service was two hours away.

Emirates A380 flying above water
Ms Di Falco fell down in the WC and injured her ankle. Photo: Emirates

When Di Falco reached the WC she vomited and then fell down injuring her ankle.

She told the court the pain she experienced was “almost 10 out of 10“, according to The Guardian.

At the point of the fall, Di Falco was unaware that she had broken her leg. Only on her return to Australia was the Moonee Valley council employee told that she had done so. Consequently, she underwent surgery and was absent from work for more than two months.


At the trial

Jyoti Rambhai for The Express writes that the statement of claims alleges that,

the incident [was caused] by reason of the failure of the defendant… to provide water when requested by the plaintiff in order to rehydrate herself.”

Di Falco’s lawyer, Danielle D’Alessandro spoke to reporters after the initial hearing. She said that if her client had been given water at the time the injury could have been avoided.

Emirates’ omission turned Ms Di Falco’s holiday into a nightmare,” D’Alessandro added.

Barrister for Di Falco, Ron Meldrum QC, told the court his client had been an “adventurous” traveler. She had enjoyed various outdoor pursuits before the incident. He added that Di Falco could no longer enjoy even the simplest of activities.

Emirates A380 taking off
“A380 was fitted with water fountain,” says Emirates lawyer. Photo: Emirates

Di Falco admitted that her disability following the accident had also caused the breakdown of her marriage.

Because of the accident, I couldn’t be … the wife that he married,” Di Falco told reporters in reference to her inability to keep up to speed with “domestic duties”.

The confidence I had for myself, it’s all gone,” she added.

Not enough refreshments

Mr Meldrum QC explained to the court that Di Falco needed to drink “an awful lot of water”. She would consume one liter during the day and another before bed. If she did not drink this amount of water she was liable to become dehydrated.

After collapsing in the toilet cubicle, Di Falco was helped back to her seat. She was then handed a large bottle of water to keep her going for the remainder of the 14-hour flight.

In court, Emirates was criticized in general by the complainant for not providing passengers with enough water and refreshments. But Barrister John Ribbands, representing Emirates, told the court the A380 was fitted with a working water fountain. The fountain is readily available to every passenger on board.

Di Falco claims not to have seen or been made aware of the fountain.

A spokesperson for Emirates told The Express,

Emirates cannot comment on this case due to ongoing legal proceedings.”

The trial continues.