A group of British Airways pilots are suing the airline because they claim they have sustained neck and spinal injuries by being forced to constantly twist around in the cockpit to look at a security camera monitor.
The surveillance system was introduced to British Airways aircraft after 9/11 and it allows pilots to make sure only cabin crew are attempting to gain access to the flight deck. The door can only be unlocked from inside the flight deck.
Pilots check the so-called Cockpit Door Surveillance System before unlocking the door but on some aircraft the monitor has been fitted behind their crew seats. The crew seat doesn’t swivel so pilots are forced to twist in their seats to look at the monitor.
To make matters worse, the CDSS is made up of three cameras and the pilots must switch between each camera before eventually permitting entry to the flight deck. To switch between the cameras, the pilot must repetitively twist forwards and backwards between the monitor and the switch in front of them.
A group of 16 pilots have filed a lawsuit against British Airways alleging that this constant twisting and turning has resulted in a variety of neck and spinal injuries. They are suing BA for compensation in varying amount of between £10,000 and £100,000.
The total compensation sought is worth around £250,000.
The lead claimant is Captain Jonathan Parry, an RAF veteran who claims to have suffered a slipped disc and spinal damage from twisting his neck as many as 5,000 times to view the CDSS.
British Airways denies any liability and also questions the value of the compensation being sought by the pilots.
Captain Parry’s lawyer fears a pilot could suffer an injury in the middle of a flight which could jeopardise the safety of passengers and crew.
Some of the pilots involved in the claim say they have been forced to change to other aircraft types where the security camera monitor isn’t fitted on the back wall of the cockpit. No trial date has yet been fixed for the lawsuit.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.