268 Who's at fault for this coffee spill?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago


"A Texas woman is suing an airline for $170,000 after a coffee spill during a flight that she says caused second-degree burns and severe pain."

"Lourdes Cervantes was on a New Jersey-bound flight from Spain in 2011 when a passenger in front of her reclined his seat back, causing the coffee on her tray to spill onto her lap. Her lawsuit cites "mental anguish and permanent scarring."

Okay, a nice multiple choice question. The person responsible for the spill was:

a. The passenger who reclined his seat. b. The woman who, knowing how hot the coffee was, should not have put it in a place where it could spill in her lap. c. The flight stewardess who overheated the coffee (if the airline has a policy against it). d. The Airline, if it does not have a policy against serving such hot coffee. e. No one, or everyone, and no monetary award made.


frederick franz 3 years, 7 months ago

The passenger who reclined the seat was doing only what the seat was designed for. The woman spilled the coffee on herself. She should have been more careful. She will probably win her lawsuit since there is the precedent of the case awarded against Mcdonalds.


Pat Randall 3 years, 7 months ago

Maybe it is the same woman and she has spent all her McDonald's money. (: No ones fault. An accident. She needs to get over it. The airlines didn't make her order the coffee. Did she report it at once, go to a dr. or wait 2 yrs. and went to an attorney? I had boiling water and coffee spilled on me at different time before I was 11 yrs. old, I survived. One small scar on my foot.


don evans 3 years, 7 months ago

The airline will probably make a settlement offer. Should a paying passenger have a reasonable expectation that the fold down seat back table will not abruptly move when the fronting seat is reclined? I am no fan of the airline industry who gouges customers at every opportunity. When we flew back from Greece, my wife slowly reclined her seat back to rest. Two obnoxious and rude French women were sitting behind us. The one behind my wife started pushing her seat back and pounding on it rapidly yelling in French as she had her table back down. She did not like the fact that it reduced her space apparently. We had to call the attendant, who told her in French that the meal period was over and seats could be reclined. In my opinion, commercial aircraft seats are way to small and crammed together. I recently heard that some major airlines are considering a new class of seats section that are wider and not as close together, but not as much as first class. (to accommodate us fatter Americans) But, you will pay a much higher fee for them. What a racket.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 6 months ago

"The passenger who reclined the seat was doing only what the seat was designed for."

Can't argue with that. Make good sense.

"No ones fault. An accident."

In a sane world that would b the outcome.

"The airline will probably make a settlement offer."

Which is exactly why people sue like this. They sue, the airlines--or whoever--settles, and we pay the freight.

"In my opinion, commercial aircraft seats are way to small and crammed together."

You can say that again! Back when the military used to fly its own passenger aircraft the seats stayed the standard size while commercial seats got smaller, and smaller, and smaller, and the planes got more and more jammed.

On the other hand, flying used to be far more expensive than it is now. I'm having trouble digging up the prices from back in the 1950's when I first started flying, but by the time I left the Air Force in 1973 I can tell you that I was nothing less than astounded at the drop in ticket prices. In 1964 I flew from Oklahoma City to Salt Lake City for a lousy $37. That same flight a couple of years earlier would have cost almost a hundred dollars.

Back in the 50's and 60's no ordinary person thought of flying a long distance. We drove. All the way across the country if necessary. I've driven all the way across the nation at least five or six time, and made shorter 1,000 or 2,000 miles drives that many times too. Fly? Hah! I'd have had to mortgage my wife and kids to fly.

There was a time (1974) that government regulation required that no airline charge less than $1,442 in inflation-adjusted dollars for a flight between New York City and Los Angeles. Now you can get the same flight for under $300.

I can remember reading in 1965 that the number of people who had ever flown in a plane had jumped from 6% to 20% since 1948. I just checked and by 2000 that had jumped so high that 50% of the people in this country take at least two round trips each year.

How did it happen? Passenger fares were deregulated in 1978. It took a couple of years (and a whole lot of bankruptcies) but, adjusted for inflation, airline ticket prices are 40% lower today than they were before deregulation.

So prices haven't gone up, they've gone down. The recent increase in airline fares is due to a 1200% increase in fuel costs since 1973. In 1973 a gallon of gas was just 32 cents. Look at what it is now.

We got spoiled by deregulation, the price of fuel went up, and that's that. Flying used to be only for the rich; now it's for anyone who wants to bitch.


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