American Airlines food killed passenger, claims lawsuit

American AirlinesAs if filing for bankruptcy protection was not enough to fill American Airlines plate, now a passenger is claiming the troubled airline killed her husband.

According to the lawsuit, Raquel and Othon Cortes were on a flight to their home in Miami and had just completed the first leg of their journey, a flight from Barcelona to New York, when dinner was served. Othon chose the chicken, Raquel chose something else, reports NewTimes.

  On the ground at JFK it was apparent that something was wrong with Othon. He became pale, had stomach cramps and was suddenly very thirsty, symptoms consistent with food poisoning, in a typical time-frame.

Raquel told NewTimes that as they boarded the flight from JFK to Miami, her husband’s illness was “expressed and obvious” to AA staff. Boarding anyway, things took a turn for the worse quickly with Othon presenting nausea and shortness of breath which preceded a heart attack. He was pronounced dead in Norfolk, Virginia where the plane made an emergency landing, albeit too late.

Raquel and Sandra Cortes, Othon’s daughter have filed suit against American Airlines and Sky Chefs, the airplane catering company that apparently prepared the meal.

The lawsuit, reported to be in excess of $1 million by Tourism and Aviation has four points:

  • The chicken was poisoned.
  • AA was negligent for even allowing Othon to board the flight in the first place.
  • AA failed to provide medical attention.
  • AA waited too long for an emergency landing.

Flickr photo by Andrew Morrell Photography

Diamondback Terrapin turtles shut down JFK airport

Well, there go all our anti-terror measures. Forget dangerous bottled water, or nail clippers – all it takes to shut down an airport is a bunch of lost turtles.

Yesterday morning, 78 of them decided to leave the bay and crawl onto an active taxiway. When an American Eagle flight noticed them, they notified the tower and the FAA halted all traffic for about 12 minutes.

It took a crew 35 minutes to gather up all the turtles and give the all clear for flights to resume.

What surprises me the most, is that this is apparently a fairly common thing – jets hit turtles several times a year at JFK. Surely a small fence could prevent the turtles from causing havoc at the airport? It’s one thing to be delayed due to bad weather, but to sit in a plane awaiting a departure slot because of turtles is just insulting.

The halted flights and clean up caused delays of up to an hour and a half, which is a pretty miserable way to start your vacation (if you were so lucky to be heading somewhere nice).

Next year’s planning for May: Think ahead

May Day, May 1, Mother’s Day, the 2nd Sunday in May, and Memorial Day, the last Monday in May are the obvious “M” days for May celebrations. Then there’s Cinco de Mayo on May 5, a holiday I missed out on this year. I’ll buy a Dos Equis anyway. That’s not the only celebration opportunity that passed me by.

I have a calendar filled with hallmark days from around the world. Here are some of them that are significant in various parts of the world. It’s interesting to see which events or organizations have staked out a day as being special.

Don’t count on them being on the same date next year, however. Some are lunar which means, they move to match the moon’s cycle. Or some, like Memorial Day and Mother’s Day, are day specific.

  • May 2 and May 9–Both are Buddha related. May 2 was Buddha’s birthday. May 9, Vesak Day which was the biggie. It marks Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment. Next year, meditate or head to a Buddhist temple. When we lived in Singapore, Vesak Day was a vacation day. It’s celebrated in across Asia with each country having it’s own mark. The photo is from the Lotus Lantern Festival in South Korea.
  • May 2–International Astronomy Day. Next spring, remember to look up at the stars. Better yet, head to a planetarium. One of my favorites is the one at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
  • May 8World Red Cross Day– Next year, donate blood.
  • May 12International Nurse’s Day–Next year, give a nurse a hug and some flowers. They make hospital stays bearable. You can also visit the
  • May 13–Tulip Time-Holland. Buy tulips. Give them to a nurse if you forgot Nurse’s Day. Better late than never. Or if your mother is a nurse and you forgot Mother’s Day, here’s a double opportunity to make amends. Or, to keep it simple go to the Tulip Time Festival in Holland Michigan.
  • May 14–Jamestown Day–Visit the living history museum, the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia. Or if you can’t visit, read a book about Jamestown.
  • May 17- Brown vs Board of Education–This isn’t exactly a holiday, but remember to be thankful that school segregation ended. Visit Topeka, Kansas, the centerpiece for this particular desegregation struggle.
  • May 29John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s Birthday-Visit Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery, unless you did that on Memorial Day.

This year, on Mother’s Day I saw the Broadway national touring company’s production of The Color Purple with my daughter. On Memorial Day, my mom, son and I went to a the Selma Walker Memorial Powwow. Sometime this year, I will donate blood to make amends for missing out on Red Cross Day. I donated last year and found out what my travel history means when it comes to giving.

Delta passenger busts open exit door at JFK

Every passenger stuck on the ground fantasizes about busting open the door and liberating people on the plane. For me, it usually involves the battle cry, “I GRANT YOU FREEDOM!!!” Of course, I’m no Robert McDonald. He acted on these urges during a delay at John F. Kennedy International Airport (yep, no surprise there).

The Glasgow, Scotland resident was charged with reckless and endangerment and criminal tampering for his shenanigans, which involved opening the emergency exit hatch. The cabin crew stopped McDonald before he could open the door enough to activate the emergency chute.

Delta Flight 149, which had just come from Rome and was to finish in Las Vegas, was stuck on the tarmac for close to three hours when the angry Scot had had enough. Local District Attorney Richard Brown offered a “no shit” explanation that highlights the benefits of a top legal education: “Apparently, the defendant wanted to get off the plane,” District Attorney Richard Brown said, “so he opened the emergency exit door.”

Ultimately, McDonald’s act of defiance ruined the evening for the 146 passengers on Flight 149. McDonald, who is 60 years old, risks spending the next one in prison if he’s convicted.