Shards of Glass in Ice Cream Sundae...

by Christina
(Caldwell, NJ)

We were on a flight and had just been served our ice cream sundaes and I started eating it. All of a sudden I bit down and noticed the ice cream was very crunchy. I took one more bite, and this time it was a big hard chunk of something.

I started feeling around in my mouth and found the first big piece of glass. Then I started swabbing my finger around my gums and started finding tiny sharp pieces of glass all around my gums.

I noticed my finger was bleeding pretty bad, and I even got blood on my baby boy who was sitting on my lap. I had to have my sick husband hold him while I got up to wash my hands and talk to the flight attendants.

I noticed that there was broken glass all over the floor in their little prep kitchen area, so I'm guessing the glass may have come from their carelessness by dropping the glass on the floor and not cleaning it up before they served dessert.

Anyway, I was washing my hands and had the attendants clean my wound up with alcohol, gauze, and a bandage. I kept finding little pieces of glass in my mouth for two days after the incident!

I suffered from pain in my hand and mouth for weeks, and major anxiety because I thought my stomach and intestines were going to be damaged. I am the main caregiver to my sick husband and little baby boy, so the last thing I need is to get sick.

I spent 2 weeks awake at night scarred to death that my insides were going to be cut up. All because the careless flight attendants served me food with sharp dangerous glass in it.

I just thank GOD I didn't let my son try it or have my husband eat his. He is very weak due to his chemo and other treatments, and his platelets are low, so if he had eaten the broken glass it would have ended with a trip to the ER thanks to the airline.

A little about me and my family... my husband Joe got diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor back in July 2011. We found a surgeon out in San Fransisco who could perform the surgery, so we moved our young small family to California from New Jersey for 6 months while he got radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

We decided to move back to NJ right before the holidays, and chose the airline because we have used them for years. We decided to fly first class because it's easier with a baby, and my husband needs the extra space. Well let's just say that was the worst flight of my life!

To top it off they lost 3 pieces of our luggage. We landed at Newark airport at midnight on Christmas Eve, and didn't get home until 3:00am, and remember I have an I'll husband and a tired cranky baby.

Two of those pieces of luggage had my son's Christmas gifts, and the other was filled with my expensive makeup and toiletries. We finally did get our luggage back 3 days later, but by that time Christmas was over, and my son didn't get what could be his only Christmas with his father that he should have had.

All my makeup was destroyed, and many things were broken inside my case. Should I mention we got to the airport 3 hours early, and we had priority tags on our luggage since we were flying first class, so how did they mess that up?

I would like some kind of compensation for all of the above and the ridiculous treatment the airline showed us. Is there anything I can do to make this right?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Shards of Glass in Ice Cream Sundae...":

Christina (Caldwell, NJ):

If airline passengers were able to prevail in lawsuits against airlines for making their flights horrid, losing their baggage, facing rude ticket agents and flight attendants, most of the flying public would be wealthy.

You apparently didn't seek or require medical attention. Without medical bills your case is immediately minimized. Without medical bills your case against the airline will be supported almost exclusively by the pain and suffering you endured as a result of your mouth injury.

Although it is regrettable your husband suffers from cancer, his condition is minimally actionable. The same applies to your child.

Airline companies are reticent to admit liability for their passengers' anxiety, frustration, and anger, especially from third party relatives. Airline companies receive several thousand complaints each week filed either directly with the FAA, or with the airlines themselves.

Most complaints are about passengers' frustration over everything from late flights which ruined reunions, business meetings and more, to lost luggage, and rude treatment by airline employees.

Airlines do not compensate most passengers for those matters. Once and a while there are events like yours which are more serious, but even your case will probably not garner more than a small settlement amount, or a free future flight.

If you want to pursue your claim contact the airline. It is highly probable the flight attendants created an "Incident Report" when you were injured.

When contacting the airline have the flight number and date of flight readily accessible. You will probably be referred to customer service and from their to a special representative in the Complaint Department. Be prepared for more frustration while your complaint goes through the airline's bureaucratic process.

Threatening to sue will only delay your claim. Once you even mention a lawsuit the airline employees must refer your case to their legal department. Once that is accomplished it could be a year before your case is finally resolved.

If you get through to a person with authority and that person is authorized to pay compensation for your injury, you might demand $2,500 dollars as a settlement. You probably won't get that amount, especially because you don't have any cost outlays, whether medical or other.

Unfortunately what you may receive from the airline is either an amount of money you probably won't be happy with, or a free coach flight to a place you won't want to visit sometime in the future.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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