Alaska Airlines Facing $1B Lawsuit From Passengers

( – On Tuesday, February 20, several passengers who were aboard the Alaska Airlines flight that was grounded after a door panel blew out while they were in the air have filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Boeing and the airline.

Amanda Strickland, Kevin Kwok, and Kyle Rinker were all aboard Alaska Flight 1282 on Friday, January 5th on a flight from Portland, Oregon to Ontario, California when an exit door detached from the body of the plane and required an emergency landing. While only minor injuries were suffered by passengers, in addition to the loss of personal items including cell phones, the lawsuit alleges that the passengers suffered “extreme panic, fear, and post-traumatic stress.” The suit also claims the passengers’ lives were in danger due to the negligence of both Boeing and Alaska Airlines.

Rinker described the situation onboard, saying things were fine starting off, but five minutes into the flight, they heard a loud pop and then the oxygen masks came down.

Jonathan Johnson, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the “preventable” situation jeopardized the lives of the 180 people onboard the airline, which is why they are seeking punitive damages. The lawsuit accused Alaska Airlines and Boeing of “placing profits above safety.”

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, an error in manufacturing led to several bolts in the door not being installed, which caused the door to be blown off a few minutes after the plane took off. This discovery led the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to temporarily ground all planes of that model, which are Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.

While the planes have since been cleared to return to the air, Boeing has declared that they will be changing their manufacturing processes and quality control in response to the incident. A report released by the FAA on February 26th described Boeing’s safety culture as “inadequate and confusing.” The FAA and NTSB are continuing investigations into Boeing following the incident.

Both Boeing and Alaska Airlines declined to comment on this story.

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