From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Court Rules “Economy Class Syndrome” Not Airline’s Problem

A London court ruled in December that victims of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) have no claim to damages from airlines regarding “economy class syndrome,” and that airlines could not be held liable for the on-set of DVT.

The decision comes just months after a passenger on a London to Los Angeles flight received a $20,000 settlement from Virgin Atlantic Airlines after she spent the flight seated next to another passenger who was reportedly too large for one airline seat.

DVT is a blood clot in a major vein, usually in the legs and/or pelvis, often associated with too much time spent in one position. Informally deemed “economy class syndrome,” DVT has been connected to long-distance travel since the 1950s.

The December decision was in response to a suit filed by 55 DVT victims and their families, naming 27 airlines including American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, KLM, Quantas Airways Ltd, Japan Air Lines, and Virgin Atlantic. The airlines argued that DVT was neither a flying disease nor an accident as defined by the Warsaw Convention (an agreement signed in 1929 pertaining to the liability of airlines regarding international flights). The High Court sided with the airlines.

Victims have until January 28, 2003 to appeal the High Court’s decision. The decision also follows a claim by a member of the British House of Commons that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is attempting to block research on DVT by purportedly denying the request of a professor working with the World Health Organization to put researchers on flights for a large-scale DVT study.

Sources: Reuters, Ananova