Reclining Passenger Damages A Laptop On Delta Flight

An angry passenger took to Twitter to lament the loss of his MacBook laptop after it was damaged during a Delta Air Lines flight. The passenger was on a three and a half hour flight from Texas to Los Angeles when the event occurred this past week. Delta Air Lines issued an apology but said it would not be able to reimburse any costs.

Delta Air Lines receives a complaint after laptop is damaged in-flight. Photo: Getty Images

Broken laptop “castrates livelihood”

A passenger aboard a Delta Air Lines flight took to Twitter on 26 February to tell his 2,190 followers about the incident, which had devasted his personal laptop. Pat Cassidy, an ex-mechanic, was flying between Austin, Texas and Los Angeles, California when the tragedy occurred.

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Mr. Cassidy was traveling to Los Angeles when the incident occurred. Photo: Great Circle Mapper

Aboard Delta flight number DL2979 which left Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 14:45 CST (20:45 UTC), Cassidy writes in a blog post that a passenger “in 13A decided to fully recline his seat and castrate my livelihood”.

The blog post continued:

“There I was [helping to] spread the word about [a friend’s] campaign…And this [passenger] in seat 13A thought he would stretch his legs a bit and he reclined his seat completely destroying my laptop. YOU NEVER FULLY RECLINE. It’s rude and a sign of sociopathy.” 

In pictures posted on Twitter, it appears that the passenger in the seat in front of the complainant had reclined his chair whilst Cassidy had his laptop open on his tray table. This caused the screen to fracture and a significant portion of the display resolution was lost.

Frustrated by this accident, Cassidy blamed Delta.

Delta criticized for laptop damage

Whilst Cassidy was able to inject a dose of lightheartedness into the incident through his blog, he also made a complaint to Delta. He, albeit jokingly, called Delta out for not having warnings for when passengers recline their seats. Cassidy went further to comment that the flight attendant had seemed to take priority over the passenger reclining their seat. Cassidy said that the flight attendant asked the passenger in seat 13A if they were alright and told Cassidy that people need the ability to recline their seats.

Evidently, this rustled some feathers and Cassidy asked Delta who he could email as well as how many SkyMiles were needed for a brand new MacBook Pro. Delta promised Mr. Cassidy that it would put him in contact with the relevant people and after an email exchange, the angry passenger received a reply. However, it was not what he was expecting.

Delta couldn’t cover the personal damage

In an email, Delta Air Lines made it clear that it was not liable for the damage caused to the passenger’s laptop. This was because another passenger had caused the incident to occur. As such it was out of the airline’s hands.

The airline has also taken measures to prevent such instances from happening in the past. Delta changed the recline on its seats to ensure passengers behind could open their laptops.

Delta economy cabin A350
Delta changed its reclining seats to prevent laptop incidents. Photo: Delta

In this case, Delta was not keen to leave its passenger without a small gesture of goodwill. It gave Mr. Cassidy 7,500 additional SkyMiles. Since the airline could not have prevented the accident, the reimbursement is rather kind of Delta. However, Mr. Cassidy did not think so. He said that the response was infantile and the bonus miles did not nearly cover the monetary value he’d lost.

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