Airline passengers’ DVT case ends run

The other day I had what I’d like to think was a brilliant idea. Airlines that offer uncomfortably snug seating arrangements in steerage class (you know who you are), could start charging for compression stockings to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

leggy.JPGHear me out. A trendy compression stocking supplier – if there is such a thing – or some other willing clothier could design fashionable yet sturdy hose for use on long-haul flights. Just imagine the array of designs and logos that could be employed.

“JetBlue won’t let your leg turn blue” or “Skip the trains. Protect your veins. Fly Delta” or “United we stand in our stockings”. And just as passengers can now purchase “pillow and blanket” sets for keeps, so too would the stockings be reusable on other flights. 

But alas, I’m afraid this idea may never fly. Why? Passengers pursuing damages for DVT injuries allegedly sustained during flights have lost yet another landmark lawsuit.

In what could very well close the book on these types of cases (and give airlines even more incentive to keep seat pitch tight), the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has rejected the argument that airlines are liable for such injuries because they had not properly warned passengers of the risk of developing DVT.

Here’s the ruling.

DVT Ruling (2).pdf

A key quote:
“Passengers maintain that such DVT warnings as were given through videos, magazines, and in ticket packets, failed to notify them of the risks of DVT. This is beside the point, given our holding in Caman that the airlines have no duty to warn of the risks of DVT. Given no duty to warn, it follows that there is no duty to warn in any particular way.”

An attorney for the defense, Rod Margo, has followed the issue on his insightful blog. Speaking to me yesterday, he said: “The House of Lords in the UK has decided DVT in favour of the airlines and the High Court of Australia has done the same so effectively the courts here are following well-established international precedent as well.”

He adds: “I would say that the airline industry and the airline insurers are relieved by the outcome.”

No doubt they are. I guess it’s back to the think tank for me. But first, I’m taking a walk. Gotta let the blood flow, don’t ya know…

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3 Responses to Airline passengers’ DVT case ends run

  1. Kevin August 30, 2008 at 11:35 am #

    As some one who has engineered LOPA’s (Lay Out Passenger Accommodations) for a regional airline I can understand your frustration with 29″ pitch seating arrangements. Even the industry standard seat pitch for economy class of 30-32 inches doesn’t leave a whole lot of leg room for a girl with great gams such as your self. The only suggestion have for you is to sit right behind the bulk head because the airlines have to give more leg room there in order to ensure a minimum 35″ head strike clearance distance. Beyond that, you are going to have to suffer with the rest of us.


  2. Mary Kirby September 1, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

    In my book, every little inch counts. A 29in seat pitch – my gosh, my knees would be squarely in the seat-back of the passenger in front of me. Dare I ask which regional carrier was so generous?

  3. Kevin September 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    I can’t confirm whether these numbers are acurate but you probably can with your connections.