We’ve all been there at some point – you board your plane, and a child starts crying, with no intention of stopping until the plane lands. Thankfully, most parents are able to soothe their little ones, but for one passenger on a Qantas flight, things were not that simple.
In January 2009, 67 year old Jean Barnard was walking down the aisle back to her seat, when a three year old boy leaned back over his armrest, and screamed so loudly at her, that blood came out of her ear, leaving her deaf.
Now, this is where the story takes an interesting turn, because Ms. Barnard sued Qantas claiming “the plane’s cabin and cockpit crew failed to take all the necessary precautions to prevent the accident that resulted” in her injury.
I’m not an aviation specialist (though I do pretend to be every now and then), but I’m at a loss as to what the crew could have done to prevent this accident. Unless of course locking toddlers away in the luggage hold is considered an appropriate solution. the airline simply can’t be held responsible for actions of a passenger, especially a three year old.
Sadly, Ms. Barnard showed the often notorious American way of dealing with large companies, because she spent over a year in court, up till the point where Qantas gave in and settled in a confidential agreement.
The case stinks even more, because lawyers for Qantas discovered that Ms. Barnard admitted to wearing a hearing aid before the incident and uncovered an email in which she said the kid was lucky she did not stomp him to death.
[Photo: TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images]