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JetBlue Passengers Filed Class Action Lawsuit Over Tarmac Delay

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JetBlue passengers have filed a class action lawsuit over an extensive tarmac delay this October in Connecticut. The national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, just announced that it filed the lawsuit against JetBlue Airways Corporation on behalf of passengers stranded for seven hours on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut, on October 29, 2011.

As part of the “Airline Passengers Bill of Rights,” the Department of Transportation placed a limit on tarmac delays for domestic flights, said Syracuse.com, Airlines are subject to a $27,500 per-passenger fine for delays that are longer than three hours.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S., District Court for the Northern District of New York and seeks class action status on behalf of all U.S. residents who were passengers aboard JetBlue flights diverted to Bradley International Airport from New York airports on October 29, 2011, and who were stranded on the tarmac for more than three hours. Meanwhile, the U.S. Transportation Department initiated an investigation into why over 100 JetBlue passengers were left onboard with no food, water, or working bathrooms, noted NewsInferno. JetBlue issued apologies to the stranded passengers.

The lawsuit states that, during the storm, JetBlue landed six planes at Bradley, leaving passengers stranded, on those planes, for over seven hours to endure rolling power outages, dwindling supplies, and failing lavatory facilities, said Syracuse.com. Trapped for hours in a dark plane with no supplies or facilities had devastating effects. According to the lawsuit, one plaintiff who “suffers from anxiety, depression, and claustrophobia,” was not able to access her anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications in her stowed luggage. One report discussed firefighters boarding a stranded plane to evacuate a paraplegic who was having health issues, said NewsInferno.

A rapidly deepening Atlantic low pressure system brought heavy winter storm conditions to the U.S.’s Northeast region with winter storm warnings issued from Pennsylvania to Maine; Connecticut was in the direct line of sight of the rapidly approaching storm that caused about 23 flights to be diverted to Bradley International Airport.

The lawsuit alleges that plaintiffs were subjected to intolerable and inhumane conditions, including rolling blackouts and malfunctioning toilets that backed up and would not flush and that crews on the affected flights ran out of potable water and food for passengers. The lawsuit also alleges violations of New York’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, false imprisonment, negligence and negligence per se, and negligent infliction of emotional distress and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of the plaintiffs and all members of the proposed class.

One JetBlue flight, from Fort Lauderdale-to-Newark landed at Bradley around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, remaining on the tarmac until 9:00 p.m. At one point, said NewsInferno, the pilot called airport officials, begging for the police and saying he couldn’t “seem to get any help from our own company.”

Other flights may have also experienced significant tarmac delays including at least one American Airlines flight. An American Airlines spokesperson blamed the problem on U.S. Customs; however passengers said they were told a number of other reasons, including airport capacity and refueling issues. JetBlue said that at least 17 other flights it was aware of were diverted to Bradley on October 29.

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