American to pay $45M to settle airfare collusion lawsuit

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American Airlines has agreed to pay $45 million to settle a lawsuit that says it and other major U.S. airlines colluded to drive up the price of airfares.

In settling the case, American denied any wrongdoing. The company, in a statement, said fighting the case in court would be costly.

Earlier this year, Southwest Airlines also reached a settlement in the case, agreeing to pay $15 million. Southwest also denied any wrongdoing.

The lawsuit alleges that major U.S. airlines colluded to limit capacity in order to increase ticket prices.

One Airline Just Ditched Windows in First Class

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This may not be good news to white-knuckle flyers, but Dubai-based Emirates Airlines is testing a new kind of flight experience—one without windows. Instead of looking through actual windows, passengers in the first-class cabin of Emirates’ newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will view the outside via images projected by fiber-optic cameras outside the plane, reports digitaltrends. Think, virtual windows. The airline hopes to eventually roll out virtual windows in all sections of the plane, arguing that windowless planes are lighter, and thus burn less fuel, as well as more structurally sound. Not everyone is excited about the idea, however. One safety expert is concerned about safety issues.

“Flight attendants would need to check outside the aircraft in an emergency, for example for fire, before opening a door and commencing an evacuation,” one such expert tells the BBC. “Anything that needed power to do this may not be easy to get certified by an aviation safety regulator.“ The bigger problem might be passenger squeamishness about the concept. “An aircraft could be very claustrophobic and for many, air travel is anxiety inducing already,” observes the BBC expert. Other companies have been moving in the opposite direction, notes CNN. Boeing’s Dreamliner features large windows; Airbus introduced a cabin with transparent walls back in 2011, and jet manufacturer Embraer has an aircraft with large panoramic windows. Analyst Saj Ahmad points out what might be the most fundamental problem. “You can’t beat what the naked eye sees.“

She Got on Plane and ‘Stepped Into Her Coffin’

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The parents and husband of a South Carolina nurse who died on a flight from Honolulu to Dallas have filed a wrongful death suit against American Airlines, reports ABC News. Brittany Oswell, 25, suffered a pulmonary embolism and cardiac arrest during the April 2016 flight, according to the lawsuit, per USA Today. The suit alleges that an onboard defibrillator and two blood pressure cuffs were faulty and that the plane should have made an emergency landing. About three hours into the trip, Oswell’s husband, Cory, paged flight attendants when Oswell complained of dizziness and then fainted. Flight attendants found a doctor onboard who examined Oswell. The doctor initially believed that Oswell had experienced a panic attack. A few hours later, Oswell’s condition worsened and the doctor recommended that the flight be diverted.

But by that time, the flight was 90 minutes away from Dallas and the pilots elected to continue the flight. Later, Oswell stopped breathing and the doctor attempted to resuscitate her, but the plane’s lifesaving equipment was not functioning, the suit says. After landing in Dallas, Oswell was transported to Baylor Medical Center, but never regained consciousness. Three days later, she was taken off life support. “When Brittany got on the plane, she stepped into her coffin,“ Brad Cranshaw, the family’s lawyer, tells the State. “It’s a tragedy.“ American Airlines, which has not yet answered the lawsuit, issued the following statement: “We take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we are looking into the details of the complaint.“

Woman With MS: Delta Tied Me to Wheelchair

Maria Saliagas has multiple sclerosis and can’t sit up on her own. Typically, Delta accommodates her with a wheelchair featuring straps that help support her, but during a trip earlier this month the airline didn’t have one available—so, Saliagas tells WSB-TV, Delta employees used someone else’s blanket to tie her to a regular wheelchair. “They took a dirty blanket and tied her forcefully with it and she has bruise marks on part of her arm because it was so tight and she started crying,“ says her son. A photo was taken at that moment, which you can see HERE. On Facebook Tuesday, Saliagas’ son said his mother “was told to ‘shut the f—- up’ or she will be ‘left there’” after she started crying. The incident unfolded at the Amsterdam airport after Saliagas and her husband flew to Europe out of the Atlanta airport April 01.

“We regret the perception our service has left on these customers,“ Delta told WSB-TV in a statement. “We have reached out to them, not only to resolve their concerns, but also ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations.“ But Delta tells the New York Post an airport-contracted wheelchair vendor met the Saliagas at the gate and Maria Saliagas chose a wheelchair out of several options presented to her. After she complained of “slipping,“ the airline says, she agreed to the blanket plan proposed by a wheelchair assistant and a new blanket was used to secure her. The airline says its “findings do not align with details shared by the customer’s family,“ but that it is “disappointed that our customers didn’t have a satisfying travel experience.“ The Saliagas return to the US April 30 and say Delta has offered them 20,000 free SkyMiles, but they want to see a change in the airline’s policy for handling customers with disabilities.

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