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JetBlue Passenger Sustained Serious Burn Injuries When Flight Attendants Served Hot Tea During Turbulence

JetBlue Passenger Sustained Serious Burn Injuries When Flight Attendants Served Hot Tea During Turbulence

a jet plane in the sky

A JetBlue passenger says she sustained severe burns after a flight attendant served another passenger hot tea during turbulence when the seatbelt signs were on during a flight from Orlando to Hartford Bradley Airport.

Tahjana Lewis of Bloomfield, Connecticut, is now suing JetBlue for $1.5 million, alleging that the airline was negligent for serving a ‘dangerously hot’ drink while the seatbelt signs were switched.

In a civil complaint filed in a Connecticut court, Lewis says she suffered severe burns across a large part of her body, including her upper chest, breasts, legs, left buttock and right arm, during JetBlue Flight 2237 on May 15, 2024.

Tahjana says she sustained her extensive injuries when flight attendants were performing a beverage service during ongoing turbulence and whilst the seatbelt signs were switched on.

The passenger sitting next to Tahjana had ordered a hot tea, and while the flight attendant was passing the cup to her seatmate, the scalding hot liquid spilt over her.

After she was burnt, Tatjana also claims that the flight attendants failed to properly perform First Aid which “rendered her sore and partially disabled”.

The incident occurred just days before Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London Heathrow encountered severe turbulence, leaving scores of passengers seriously hurt with a variety of injuries, including spinal and head trauma. Tragically, one passenger died of a suspected heart attack.

At the time of the incident, Singapore Airlines’ procedure was to suspend the service of hot beverages during turbulence, but normal meal services could otherwise continue.

In the aftermath of this incident, however, the airline industry has been taking a long, hard look at turbulence procedures. Singapore Airlines now suspends meal services and instructs flight attendants to sit in their jumpseats whenever the seatbelt sign is switched on.

In the last few days, Korean Air has also announced that it will end cabin services earlier before landing because turbulence is more likely to occur during the descent phase of flight.

Matt’s take

It’s pretty common practice for airlines to suspend the service of hot drinks whenever the seatbelt is switched on, so if flight attendants did serve hot tea during turbulence, as this lawsuit alleges, this would seem like an obvious lapse of safety protocols.

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