Man sues airline for not explaining how his business class seat worked

Lawyers for the man claim the experience led to ‘great pain, agony and mental anguish’

Joanna Whitehead
Friday 24 March 2023 09:52 GMT
An El Al aeroplane landing in Zurich
An El Al aeroplane landing in Zurich (Getty Images)

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A man has filed a lawsuit against Israeli airline El Al after he claimed to have been injured by getting stuck in one of their business class seats.

Eshagh Wiseman was flying from Tel Aviv to New York JFK in October 2022 when the incident happened.

According to View From the Wing, a flight attendant “had to pull him free” from the seat, an experience that Mr Wiseman claims occurred because the cabin crew “failed to explain to him how the seat operates”.

Mr Wiseman, who was described as being a “gentleman of advanced age”, was alleged to have become trapped as the seat reclined.

He sought assistance from a flight attendant, who “pulled him free”, but this led to “great pain, agony and mental anguish” and medical treatment for his injuries.

“Lawyers acting on behalf of Wiseman are bringing the lawsuit under the Montreal Convention, which holds airlines responsible for passenger injuries unless they can prove the injury was the result of the passenger’s own negligence,” reads the lawsuit.

It’s not the first time passengers have initiated legal action against an airline.

In 2020, a woman took legal action against Spirit Airlines after a bad odour on one of its flights caused her “serious and permanent injuries.”

In the lawsuit, Mary Vincent Randall accused Spirit of being “negligent, careless and reckless” in not preventing the odour from affecting passengers and for not helping with her after-care following the incident.

The suit alleged that the airline “neglected and refused to adjust or pay [Randall’s] claim” and stated that Randall was suing for loss of earnings and “economic damages”.

In 2016, an 81-year-old retired lawyer initiated legal action against El Al after staff made her switch seats because an orthodox Jewish man refused to sit next to her.

Renee Rabinowitz, whose family moved to Israel after fleeing the Nazis during the Second World War, said: “Despite all my accomplishments – and my age is also an accomplishment – I felt minimised.

“I think to myself, here I am, an older woman, educated, I've been around the world, and some guy can decide that I shouldn’t sit next to him. Why?”

The Independent has contacted El Al for comment.

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