I read this from the new CNN.com: Two planes nearly collide over Pacific.

The death toll would amount more than the Tenerife's one if things went actually wrong.

Kevin Townsend tells more in his post: Two Weeks Ago, I Almost Died in the Deadliest Plane Crash Ever.

My question is:

Can the passengers ask for some compensation (damages or whatever) due to the event?

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    $\begingroup$ What damages? All this is is media speculation about a crash that did not happen. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima May 17 '14 at 6:29
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    $\begingroup$ I dont see how you could claim compensation for not crashing. Mind you in the USA....... $\endgroup$ – mjs May 17 '14 at 6:42
  • $\begingroup$ Kevin Townsend invents more in his post fixed $\endgroup$ – Federico May 17 '14 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't tell asking compensation for not crashing. An extreme diving is frightening and passengers may not stand that. There should be someone else responsible for the incident and its eventual consequences. $\endgroup$ – menjaraz May 17 '14 at 6:53
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    $\begingroup$ I voted to close this question because it is, in essence, a legal question. The fact that the answer would be primarily opinion based is somewhat secondary... Either way I don't think this question is a good fit for this site. $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr May 17 '14 at 14:30

I am not a lawyer. None of this should taken as, or construed to be legal advice.

Looking over United's Contract of Carriage upon which their passenger bill of rights are based, I found this paragraph:

UA shall not be liable for any death, injury, delay, loss or other damage of whatsoever nature (hereafter referred to collectively as “damage”) arising out of or in connection with carriage or other services performed by UA, unless such damage is proven to have been caused by the sole negligence or willful misconduct of UA and there has been no contributory negligence on the part of the Passenger

One of the planes involved in the incident to which you refer was a UA flight. They were flying per ATC guidance, therefor there was no "sole negligence or willful misconduct" etc.

That being said, to answer your given question, yes the passengers can ask for compensation. They are unlikely to be granted any by the airline, as that would set a bad precedent (not a legal precedent, but one that might affect them legally down the road). They are under no obligation to make compensation, as they fulfilled the contract between themselves and the passengers. The passengers were safely delivered to their destination with little to no delay.

In my personal opinion, the airline owes nothing to any of the passengers, even for "mental anguish" as the total deviation from flight path was well within the amount that could be seen or felt due to severe turbulence.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the answer! You've overlooked the "ATC" side of the question: Can it be also sued or just an eventual sanction from the NTSB will do and basta? $\endgroup$ – menjaraz May 17 '14 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't done any research into the ATC regulations concerning culpability of actions. In the US, almost anyone can "be sued". The NTSB (as far as I know) is not a sanctioning body. It would perform an investigation, and submit a report, then some other body (FAA?) would take some action. I would imagine the ATC is already looking into the event and if two controllers put the aircraft on the same path and altitude ( I don't believe this is true ) there will be ( at a minimum ) training or retraining of controllers. $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell May 17 '14 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ "They were flying per ATC guidance, therefor there was no "sole negligence or willful misconduct" etc." - How do you know this? $\endgroup$ – user2168 May 17 '14 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ "the total deviation from flight path was well within the amount that could be seen or felt due to severe turbulence" - How do you know this? Even if the total deviation was within that which could be felt due to severe turbulence, is that the relevant test when determining damages or standard of care in a negligence case? $\endgroup$ – user2168 May 17 '14 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ I know this because the authors description corresponds to severe turbulence according to the guide I linked. Actually, upon further inspection, it wasn't even as bad as severe turbulence. Severe (usually) ends up with injuries to passengers not seatbelted in. aviationlawmonitor.com/2014/05/articles/airlines/… talks about lawsuits. Since the author is a US citizen, traveling domestically, he cannot sue, without proving negligence. $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell May 17 '14 at 20:33

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