Passenger suing airline for not waking her up after flight landed

posted at 10:13 pm on May 28, 2010 by Allahpundit

Via DrewM, who finds this slightly more ridiculous than I do. She hopped aboard a United flight at Dulles, fell asleep, stayed asleep when it landed shortly after midnight, then woke up at four a.m. to find herself alone on a dark, locked plane. The question: Why didn’t she exercise a little old-fashioned personal responsibility and set her alarm for midnight if she’s that sound a sleeper? My answer: Because, er, what sort of airline passenger expects that the crew will simply leave them to rot after the flight lands? That’s really the issue here — whether being awakened by a flight attendant if you’re asleep is a reasonable expectation for the average air traveler to have. Which … it is, right? Falling asleep on a train isn’t the same thing because a train makes many stops en route to its final destination; asking the conductor to roam the aisles rousing sleepyheads at each one would slow things down too much. But what’s the excuse here? Doesn’t the crew usually stroll up and down the aisles once or twice after landing looking for unclaimed baggage or, er, comatose passengers?

But if you agree with me, hold that thought. Because after watching this unpleasant trainwreck interview with Jane Skinner, I assure you that you’ll be desperately searching for ways to take the airline’s side here. Like Drew says, just imagine this woman on the witness stand.

Breaking on Hot Air



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If you were asleep in your boarding area, you’d probably hear the announcements …

Tony737 on May 29, 2010 at 12:04 AM

You’d think so, but it’s not necessarily true. I was flying from D.C. to Phoenix a few years ago and had to change planes in Houston late at night. After checking in, I sat down in the boarding area, fell asleep, and the plane left without me. When I woke up, I explained to the gate agent what had happened. She apologized (unnecessarily, as it had been my own fault), gave me a ticket on the next flight to Phoenix (leaving in half an hour), and upgraded me to First Class. That was United also, BTW.

AZCoyote on May 29, 2010 at 3:11 PM

I don’t believe her for one second. She stowed away in the head while the crew checked the cabin.

The crew does not leave the aircraft until all passengers have disembarked. She would have been awakened and asked to leave had she been in her seat.

drjohn on May 29, 2010 at 3:20 PM

I can see not setting an alarm–who would, unless anything like this had ever happened before?–but why didn’t she call somebody when she woke up? She’s so freaked, why didn’t she call 911?

Anwyn on May 29, 2010 at 3:20 PM

I am confused by the interview and Skinner’s “personal responsibility” angle. People fall asleep all the time on airplanes. This woman did, the plane landed, and she’s left there alone for hours? First off, you have to turn your phone off so how exactly would she have set an alarm? Since when do people set alarms on airplanes? Now on a train after an international flight (and a 1.5hr trip home on a train) I do set an alarm because of the overnight flight is brutal and that last leg home is hard to stay awake. That said, it’s unfortunate she’s suing, but I think the airline is at fault 100% not clearing the cabin before the crew closed the door and Skinner was flat wrong.

Renwaa on May 29, 2010 at 3:31 PM

I think it’s bogus. There’s no way a flight crew accidentally leaves someone sitting in a seat and locks the plane. I could see if she slept through a plane change, in which case that would be her own dumb fault, but not closing and locking the aircraft.

If nothing else, the flight crew usually cleans the aircraft before that. They also usually do a walk to look for stuff people have left behind.

I’m inclined to believe that she stowed away somewhere. If not, then somebody chose to leave her there.

CrankyTRex on May 29, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Umm.. I’ll have what she’s having!!

I also want to be able to sleep like the dead through landing, disembarking, having rude people swing their laptops & baggage around etc.. Forget sue, I’ll pay extra for this kind of service!

saus on May 29, 2010 at 4:05 PM

And Smarmy old Geoffrey Fieger swoops in to make matters worse. Maybe Fieger will introduce this bimbo to Dr. Kevorkian.

Candy Slice on May 29, 2010 at 4:27 PM


No way this happened. Lady probably hid in the restroom or something. I’d be interested to see if she has a history of litigation.

With that said, this Fox News host is a moron. She has to ask why the lady would be suing? And it’s been pointed out many times that cell phones have to be turned off. Fox needs to fire this airhead.

Gregor on May 29, 2010 at 4:37 PM

I can believe it. United is a terrible company. They don’t give a rip about their customers. They’re completely eaten up with unions. The company and its wretched union thug employees can all go to hell.

spmat on May 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM

OT but more noteworthy than this slimy b*tch!

Actor Dennis Hopper died in Venice, CA this morning he eas 74.


cableguy615 on May 29, 2010 at 5:02 PM

eas = was

cableguy615 on May 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM

yeah there’s no way this could have happened unless she made it happen.

johnnyU on May 29, 2010 at 10:38 PM

Ok, she’s a freaking news anchor on a community tv station in Oxford, Michigan. It’s remotely possible she’s just trying to give her career a boost.

The flight she claims to have been on (Dulles-Philadelphia) takes an hour and five minutes. It’s usually a 50 seater with two seats on one side of the aisle and one seat on the other.

Really, what are the chances?

Lynn B. on May 30, 2010 at 12:19 AM

With that said, this Fox News host is a moron. She has to ask why the lady would be suing? And it’s been pointed out many times that cell phones have to be turned off. Fox needs to fire this airhead.

Gregor on May 29, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Because the natural reaction when you’ve barely been inconvenienced (if that word is even accurate) is to sue for 75, 000 dollars….

Narutoboy on May 30, 2010 at 1:21 AM

I fell asleep on a New York bus once…
Hehe! Scared the hell out of the driver, when I appeared behind him, wanting to get off.
He was just trying to park. I was trying to avoid the steam cleaning.
Sue? LOL! Idiot! You’re lucky you didn’t wake up in Mexico, or Detroit.

docjohn52 on May 30, 2010 at 5:48 AM

There is a FAA minimum crew of cabin attendants required to be on board every aircraft (by type and seating capacity) whenever passengers are on board: boarding, away from the gate, and deplaning. The pilots get a free pass: they are only responsible for passenger safety when the aircraft door is closed and the jetbridge is pulled away from the aircraft, which is why ticket agents are always eager to do that.

It looks as if the United flight attendants were in somewhat of a hurry to get home after their flight. Many of them are probably commuters (Remember the Colgan Air crash and the role long distance commuting played in it?).

The life of airline crewmembers is a far cry from the popular conception of it. It basically boils down to sleeping whenever and where ever you can and making the next commuting flight home as fast as possible.

Caveat emptor.

Stepan on May 30, 2010 at 7:45 AM

She said she felt panic when she woke up, and I can believe that. As a teenager, I went to the orthodontist for a checkup, and sat down in the waiting room. I got into what I was reading, and then suddenly realized I’d been there for over an hour, and hadn’t heard any voices for a while. No one else was in the waiting room, so I walked up to the front desk. Nobody. I walked back to the rooms where the orthodontists worked: nobody. Apparently, they all went out for lunch at the same time and forgot that I had checked in for my appointment. It was a very eery feeling, kind of surreal. You suddenly start wondering whether the entire human race disappeared and you’re the only one left.

That said, it never occurred to me to sue them, even though my dad was a lawyer. I just left and never went back. They may have called my name and I just didn’t hear it because I was engrossed in what I was reading.

JS on May 30, 2010 at 9:15 AM

I heard there’s a video of people putting empty beer cups on her head while she was asleep.

pc on May 30, 2010 at 9:49 AM

I bet she still doesn’t know about the permanent marker drawing we drew on her back.

Coronagold on May 30, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Typical American who can’t take any responsibility for her own actions. Let’s blame and sue someone else. This woman on the stand will lose the case.

Wills on May 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

I think the woman was stunned that Jane was questioning her right to sue.

It’s America, she can sue anyone she wants for about anything and the courts will allow it.

Now as for what they did wrong. Outside the obvious of leaving a passenger locked and panicked inside an empty plane for four hours, I think they were doing just fine! Think about it. Nobody checked 50 people on, 49 off? What kind of TSA security is that? Not to mention the fact that there are two pilots at least four crew members on the plane and the cleaning crew found the passenger left behind?

Sure, she could let it go, but this is a payday. She’ll get ten grand, move on and life is well. The airlines should remind their people to make sure EVERYBODY is OFF!

Jeez, it is like dealing with children sometimes.

Imagine I did this when I was working as a police officer. “Hey officer, where is your prisoner?” “He was right here, the last time I saw him he was in the back of the car… Dammit!”

Sure, I could act like it was the prisoner’s fault for not making sure I dropped him off at jail. But it is my car, my prisoner, my responsibility.

archer52 on May 31, 2010 at 5:10 AM

She is just not credible …………. I have to wonder what her mental history might be. I love it when she says, “Ask my lawyer.” Egad, the lawyer is Jeffery Fieger. What a bottom feeder!

SC.Charlie on May 31, 2010 at 9:38 AM

I once ended up in a Long Island Railroad train yard when I got hammered after work and passed out on the train. Like this dingbat, I awoke to the noise of the cleaning crew and ran off the train in well deserved embarrassment.

I can guarantee you that Ginger McGuire did the same thing during her ten hour layover and is now trying to blame someone else for self humiliation.

RadClown on May 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM

archer52 on May 31, 2010 at 5:10 AM

Passengers are prisoners?

They shouldn’t be a security risk, as they already passed security.

This isn’t a security issue, its a responsibility issue. She is an adult not a prisoner, not a child…but an adult. She needs to be responsible to wake her self up.

Conservative Voice on May 31, 2010 at 5:29 PM

You mean she didn’t hear the 100 people onboard who always use their phones and say, “Hi , Its me, yeah we just landed”? Not to mention the combing the plane get or possible lost items, trash and everything else. I will admit once I landed on a rather large plane and spent it in the restroom. They didnt notice my seat was empty but I was on another seat if you know what I mean. eh.. give her some free passes. Its wierd of all the flights that go on every single day that this even happened in todays world.

johnnyU on June 1, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Is it possible to sue her attorney for being so stupid as to think he has a case against the airline?

theRealMcCoy on June 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Airline is at fault. They shouldn’t lockup up someone asleep on a plane.

Skinner’s interview is torturous to the viewer. It never goes anywhere. If I was on a plane watching the interview, I might just fall asleep and get locked up.

I wouldn’t sue. If I was harmed in some way I might consider it but for the most part things like this would be like water off a duck’s back.

By the way, I almost did the same thing in Brazil. I fell asleep and found myself in another state. I missed the announcement that weather conditions prevented the plane from landing at its intended location and that passengers would be flown back later. I didn’t notice until I got to the street and said, “This isn’t Campo Grande. Now what?”

Yeah, I’m a dunce but some of you already knew that.

shick on June 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

And Smarmy Slimey old Geoffrey Fieger swoops in to make matters worse. Maybe Fieger will introduce this bimbo to Dr. Kevorkian.

Candy Slice on May 29, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Mega Dittos. . .

Texyank on June 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM


Can I simply argue that if the g*d d*ammned TSA was REALLY about security, there is NO. WAY. she would have been overlooked by a PROPER security sweep.

GEEEZ…. next you are going to expect me to believe that a redneck girl lived in a WALMART for six weeks and delivered her baby on the linoleum between men’s shoes and IGLOO coolers….

seejanemom on June 1, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Don’t believe her. No way. The only way this could have happened is if she has a medical condition or induced one by consuming something. In the former case she should inform the crew of her condition and to watch for her. In the latter, it’s all her.

If they couldn’t wake her, they would have called in people to carry her out.

I have heard of people sleeping through a change, where some people get off and some get on during a stop to some other destination, only to find themselves in the second stop when they needed the first stop. This lady is not credible though.

PastorJon on June 1, 2010 at 6:24 PM

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