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Singapore Airlines aircraft for flight SQ321 is parked on the tarmac after an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport
FILE PHOTO: People look at the Singapore Airlines aircraft for flight SQ321 parked on the tarmac after an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo Image: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

Singapore Airlines offers compensation to passengers on severely turbulent flight


Singapore Airlines has sent offers of compensation to passengers on board a flight last month that encountered severe turbulence that led to dozens of injuries and one death, the carrier said on Tuesday.

Passengers with minor injuries have been offered $10,000 and those with serious injuries can discuss an offer to meet their specific needs, the airline said.

"Passengers medically assessed as having sustained serious injuries, requiring long-term medical care, and requesting financial assistance are offered an advance payment of $25,000 to address their immediate needs," that will form part of any final settlement, it added.

A 73-year-old passenger died of a suspected heart attack and dozens were injured after flight SQ321 from London to Singapore encountered what the airline described as sudden, extreme turbulence while flying over Myanmar. It diverted and landed in Bangkok, Thailand.

Passengers said crew and those not strapped in left the floor or their seats and slammed into the cabin ceiling, cracking it in places. A Bangkok hospital treating passengers said there were spinal cord, brain and skull injuries.

As of June 4, more than two weeks after the May 20 flight, 20 passengers were still receiving medical care in hospitals in Bangkok, according to the airline. It did not respond immediately to a request for an updated figure.

Singapore Airlines said it would refund airfares for all passengers on board the flight and they would receive delay compensation in accordance with regulations in the European Union or Britain.

A preliminary report by Singapore's Transport Ministry said a rapid change in gravitational force and a 54-meter altitude drop likely caused passengers and crew to become airborne.

It said the plane was likely flying over an area of "developing convective activity", a term referring to developing bad weather.

There were 211 passengers, including many Australians, British and Singaporeans, and 18 crew members on the flight.

The incident has put seatbelt practices in the spotlight, with airlines typically allowing passengers to undo belts during normal cruise conditions, while recommending they keep them on.

© Thomson Reuters 2024.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Word to all non-cabin crew: You can completely rule out this risk when seated by wearing the damn belt.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I think until this incident, a lot of people thought the seatbelt was there in the case of a crash! Perhaps now people will do as they are asked.

I think airlines have contributed to this in the long-term by the small spaces they allocate for each seat. Guidelines even recommend having a walk about and stretching from time to time to combat the effects of sitting in a confined space for such a long time.

For the record, in my opinion, the airline was not really at fault here, they can't help the natural phenomena, but I'm sure the passengers will welcome the money.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Can't argue with that. It's pretty good of SQ to offer money they don't have to pay. So many corporations even resist paying money for years and decades for things they are totally responsible for.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

$10,000 for bumping my head on the ceiling?! Damn, sign me up for the next Singapore Airlines flight!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

a rapid change in gravitational force

I assure you the gravitational force did not change :) . The g-force the passengers felt did. That's something completely different.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think Spore Airlines is legally liable for an "Act of God" ie; weather.

But while it displays admirable responsibility in making these offers, it also is a smart legal move in the face of invariable actions that will be filed against it anyway.

I think we can expect to see, from all airlines going forward;

Passengers must wear seat belts at all times other than going to the bathroom.

Airline tickets and purchasing sites will make clear that passengers will waive any rights to discomort or injuries sustained from turbulence.
1 ( +1 / -0 )

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