The passenger hopes to hold the airline accountable.

El Al Israel Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner 4X-EDC
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

A man traveling on an El Al Israel Airlines flight has filed a lawsuit against the airline due to allegedly getting injured while stuck in a seat. The incident occurred on a flight from Tel Aviv to New York in October.

The man said he was forced to spend money on medical treatment. According to the lawsuit, he believes El Al should be liable for his injuries.

Details of the incident

Eshagh Wiseman filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York last Monday. While flying from Tel Aviv to New York on an 11-hour flight on October 23rd, Wiseman was seated in business class on Israel’s national airline. According to Paddle Your Own Kanoo, he got stuck and seriously injured when a flight attendant had to pull him free.

El Al Boeing 787

Photo: Boeing

In the lawsuit, Wiseman alleges that El Al should be held accountable for his injuries because the inflight crew did not show him how to operate the seat. A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated the flight. The business class seats on El Al’s 787s can transform into lie-flat beds for increased comfort on long-haul flights.

Stuck & injured

According to Wiseman, he was unaware that the seat reclined, which was why he got injured mid-flight. The lawsuit claims that the passenger’s “lower extremity” became entrapped within the seat as it was being reclined, making him call a flight attendant to receive assistance.

Wiseman, described as a “gentleman of advanced age,” alleged that the flight attendant “forcibly” pulled him free, resulting in a serious and permanent injury that has caused him “great pain, agony, and mental anguish,” according to Paddle Your Own Kanoo.

El Al Boeing 777-200ER

Photo: El Al

Gary Leff from the View From The Wing travel blog said seats in some premium cabins can be complex.

“To be fair, premium cabin seats are complicated,” Leff wrote. “I once had my laptop next to me in ANA first class when I fell asleep, and having woken up in a daze I wasn’t thinking about it as I restored my seat to a more upright position. I cracked the screen’s case, though it remained usable.”

The blogger, however, said he has never witnessed a passenger being injured from a seat.

“I have never seen a passenger get stuck in the seat itself, such that physical removal by a crewmember would lead to injury,” Leff explained.

Holding airlines responsible

Wiseman’s lawyers are reportedly bringing the lawsuit to the attention of the Montreal Convention, which holds airlines responsible for inflight passenger injuries unless they can prove the injury was the result of the passenger’s negligence.

Passengers often turn to the Convention to seek compensation after being burned by hot beverages onboard a flight. Recently, a European court ruled that the Convention can also be used by passengers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following an accident.

According to Ramos Law, domestic flights within the same country, such as a flight from Los Angeles to New York, do not apply under the Convention, but an international route between Toronto and New York would. The Convention also includes trips that start and end within the same country but have an international connection in between.

Sources: Paddle Your Own Kanoo, View From The Wing, Ramos Law


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