On almost any flight, you will see flight attendants coming down the aisle with a galley cart to offer drink or meal services. Those carts are actually much heavier than you might imagine; when fully loaded, they can be well over 200 pounds each. And because the carts have wheels, they must be securely braked during service and when not in use, so they don’t come running down the aisle in a cabin.
Well, Gilbert Ott over at God Save the Points was recently on an American Airlines flight where the brakes of a beverage cart was presumably not deployed properly. The galley cart came running from the galley during the initial climb, down the aisle of the entire Business Class cabin. It traveled for almost 40 feet, picking up speed along the way, and finally his knee, thigh, and leg. You can see images of the injury in Ott’s post. he flight attendants suggested that the flight be turned back to LAX, but Ott declined in order not to inconvenience anyone.
Here is a video of him discussing his incident.
On the flight, it seems that the crew handled the situation to the best of their ability. The pilot and purser both filed a report, a customer service representative met with him upon arrival, and he was wheeled out of JFK. He documented the injury, and reported the incident to American Airlines.
American’s Risk Management department reached out a week later, offering to cover the immediate medical expenses for Ott. In addition, they also offered a $600 travel voucher as
compensation a gesture of good will if he promises not to sue the airline and seek reimbursement for medical expenses down the road (rehabilitation, physical therapy, etc.) Ott thought this was insulting, and decided to pursue additional compensation through the customer service department.
After another lengthy wait, he was finally offered a $200 travel voucher or 10,000 AAdvantage miles to put an end to the matter. American will not refund the cost of the flight.
Obviously, this is an accident that probably could have been prevented if they flight attendants deployed the brakes correctly. And Ott has a point when he said that the outcome could have been drastically different if the galley cart hit a passenger in poorer physical health.
You may remember that Delta issued refunds to everyone onboard the flight with an unruly pro-Trump passenger. On a JetStar flight, a passenger received free food and drinks and a full refund when his lost his pre-assigned seats. In no way am I even creating an equivalency between disruption on a flight and physical injury, but knowing about these other “incidents,” I do want to pose a question:
Do you think this is a fair compensation for a passenger physically injured by a runaway galley cart?