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Tumbling Suitcase Caused Injuries, Southwest Airlines Passenger Seeks Award

Tumbling Suitcase Caused Injuries, Southwest Airlines Passenger Seeks Award

A passenger on a March 2017 flight with Southwest Airlines filed a lawsuit against the company after a suitcase fell on him during the flight, which caused multiple injuries and incurred medical expenses.

The passenger, Charles E. Giebel II, was sitting in the aisle seat on a flight to Newark, NJ from Denver International Airport (DIA) when another passenger struggling to load a suitcase in the overhead bins dropped the luggage on Giebel’s head.

According to the lawsuit, Giebel sustained permanent injuries, including head and shoulder pain.

If a passenger is having difficulties loading their suitcase, a flight attendant should take notice and offer assistance, the lawsuit stated.

In a similar case of tumbling suitcases, a passenger filed a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines in 2013 after another passenger’s oversized luggage fell on him and caused a compressed disc. The lawsuit claimed that the airline and its staff are liable for letting passengers board the aircraft with oversized carry-ons.

The passenger sought $49,000 in damages against the airline, for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

[Source: Southwest Airlines]

View Comments (6)


  1. mvoight

    February 26, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    So,, why mention the 2013 lawsuit without mentioning the result?

  2. Irpworks

    February 28, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    How about suing the person who dropped the bag and not the airline that didn’t?

  3. ConnieDee

    March 1, 2019 at 9:18 am

    This story is helpful for my own risk avoidance: It’s occurred to me that this could happen, but seeing the story will make me super-cautious in the future when people are loading stuff over my head: I thing it’s a good idea to just (rather assertively) stand up and wait while this is happening over your aisle seat, even if that delays boarding.

  4. DCAFly

    March 1, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Americans never miss an opportunity to sue someone, do they?

  5. kkua

    March 3, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Case should be dismissed. The plaintiff could have moved away or offered assistance as they saw the other passenger struggling with overhead bags. Better yet, the plaintiff should have brought it up during boarding process.

  6. traveling.geocacher

    March 10, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Sorry the passenger was hurt but I try to get an aisle seat every flight and many times I offer to assist with the luggage above my head. If they don’t want help, I either move out of the way or really watch the loading. Same if a passenger is accessing the bin during the flight. In this case, I don’t feel it’s the airline’s fault. The flight attendants can’t see everyone loading their luggage and I have seen many, many times when they do see someone struggling, they jump right in to help. The plaintiff should have asked for help and they should be held accountable. Good thing I’m not on the jury. Of course, could there be more to the story as to other causes???

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