Mother, daughter sue airline over mishandling of incident during flight

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) – A mother and her daughter filed a lawsuit in a Makati City regional trial court against Etihad Airways for its alleged mishandling of an incident during a flight.

Christine Arimas and her daughter Kristine Mikaela Arimas were passengers of Etihad Airways bound for Manila.

According to their complaint, they boarded a flight from Geneva to Abu Dhabi on July 25, 2022 with a connecting flight to Manila the following day.

Two hours into the flight, another passenger allegedly grabbed Christine by the shoulders and forcibly pulled her out of her seat.

“[T]he assailant started hurling racial invectives towards Christine. She recalls the assailant yelling at her face 'You crazy Asian people!' It was at this moment that the Plaintiff observed that the assailant's face was red and he was reeking of alcohol,” the complaint said.

The report added that Mikaea was awakened by the commotion and saw her mother being held by the shoulders, shaken, and yelled at by a big, tall man.

A cabin attendant hurriedly wrapped his arms around the passenger and took him away from Christine’s seat.

But Christine said she noticed that the assailant was merely reassigned to a seat not too far from her and was never restrained nor guarded.

“Worse, they continuously served the assailant with liquor for a good three more hours into the flight despite the aggression he had demonstrated while obviously intoxicated,” she said.

The complaint added that she was assured that upon landing that the incident would be properly addressed by Etihad.

But she said that when they arrived in Abu Dhabi, the assailant casually walked away upon deplaning.

She pointed out that there was no coordination or endorsement made with law enforcers by the cabin crew.

The lead cabin crew then informed her that the incident will be reported to Etihad’s legal department and that they will be in touch.

Receiving no updates after a week, they sent a complaint through email to the company, stating that Etihad breached the contract of carriage by failing to ensure their safety and of abusing their rights by neglecting proper protocol in handling air rage incidents.

They were seeking compensation amounting to 21 million pesos for actual, moral, and exemplary damages, along with one million pesos for attorney's fees and litigation expenses.

The Makati court has given Etihad 30 days to answer the complaint.

"If you fail to answer within the time fixed, the plaintiff will take judgment by default and may be granted the relief applied for in the complaint," the court told the airline.

CNN Philippines is waiting for comments from Etihad.