British Airways is being forced to pay £130,000 after a man slipped in a puddle of Bailey’s at Heathrow… but perhaps the case isn’t quite as frivolous as it sounds.
Details of the British Airways Heathrow Baileys slip
On November 11, 2017, Andreas Wuchner was flying from London Heathrow to Zurich with British Airways. While near the check-in desk, Wuchner slipped in a puddle of Baileys, and hit his head on the floor.
It’s claimed that the man suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the incident. Furthermore, he used to run an office supplies company, but that liquidated in September 2018, about 10 months after the accident occurred at Heathrow. The man is now suing British Airways for both injuries and a loss of earnings.
I’m curious about the logistics of the spill. How exactly did another passenger spill Baileys in the check-in hall? Did the person have an open container of liqueur, did the bottle fall and crack, or what?
Traveler awarded £130,000, seeking more
A judge has awarded Wuchner £130,000 under the Montreal Convention’s strict liability clause, which governs payouts for injuries suffered by passengers when traveling on international flights. This is the limit for compensation under the Montreal Convention, and that’s even for situations where there’s not found to be negligence.
If negligence on the part of British Airways can be proven, then that limit can be exceeded. That’s why Wuchner is now pushing ahead with a loss of earnings claim, since it’s alleged that his company liquidated in part due to this incident. Wuchner’s attorney wants to call in experts, like an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, and a pain management expert, to show that the slip had a major impact on his life.
Obviously I’m no lawyer, but it’s interesting to me that the airline is liable here, rather than the airport. On the surface you’d think the airport is responsible for maintaining terminal areas. It’s one thing if British Airways staff saw the mess but did nothing about it, but there’s no indication that anyone at the airline knew. I guess this comes down to the fact that passengers enter contracts with airlines, and not airports.
What the Montreal Convention says
The Montreal Convention governs many aspects of aviation, though I never fully realized just how broad consumer protections were. Surely airlines aren’t liable for every type of injury that could happen while traveling? Well, here’s what Chapter III Article 17 states:
“The carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking.”
One has to wonder if there are any limitations to that, because it’s really, really broad…
British Airways is being forced to pay £130,000 after a man slipped in a Baileys puddle at a check-in counter, even though the airline hasn’t been found to be negligent. In the event the airline is found to be negligent, the man could be entitled to even more.
On the one hand, it seems like this guy suffered some serious consequences from the fall. On the other hand, the man is being awarded this even though British Airways hasn’t been found guilty of negligence.
What do you make of this British Airways Baileys case?