Passenger sues airline for “extreme turbulence”

Lawsuit filed against United Continental for causing post-traumatic stress

A woman from Texas has filed a lawsuit against Continental Airlines, as well as Colgan Air, Pinnacle Airlines and United Continental Holdings, saying that she suffered severe mental trauma following an especially turbulent flight. Colleen O’Neal argues that the October 2009 flight, which hit extreme turbulence shortly after takeoff, should never have been allowed to leave the ground. Weather reports at the time warned of “tornados, wind shear and dangerously strong winds with rotating and intense thunderstorms.” Colgan Air, owned by Pinnacle Airlines, was operating the plane for Continental. United and Continental have merged since the flight took place.
The flight should have taken 20 minutes, but instead it took more than two hours. O’Neal describes the plane “as if it had lost power and was falling out of the sky.” An emergency landing was aborted. She says that she experienced “extreme fear during this flight and believed that she was going to die”. She has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
[pictured: Continental Airlines in Star Alliance livery; courtesy Star Alliance]

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