As a nation, we have come to believe and accept that if something bad happens, then by God someone is responsible. For decades now, anytime an accident happens, lawyers ensure that someone pays the “victim.” We have adopted an attitude of entitlement. It has become a social assumption: Someone is always to blame and someone will pay.
Heh. That may be changing.
Remember that US Airways Airbus that hit some birds on takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York and landed in the Hudson River last winter? Sure you do, it made this guy a national hero (especially to us pilots).
Captain Chessley “Sully” Sullenberger
Airbus floating nicely, people getting out, front of plane high and dry
Now, of course the passengers want to be compensated. Check out THIS article that appeared on Yahoo News this (Saturday) morning and which originated at The New York Times.
The article says that US Airways gave everyone on that flight $5,000. Ostensibly this was to cover the loss of any carry-on stuff or clothes they were wearing. Passengers who felt they deserved more were referred to US Airways’ insurance carrier, the infamous AIG.
And apparently, AIG is not playing ball.
The Yahoo/NYT article opens by listing the complaints of one Paul Jorgenson. He lost his wallet, laptop computer and car keys in the ditching, and of course his clothes were ruined. The article notes that Jorgenson did get his wallet back, and some clothes. However his laptop, car keys, sunglasses and – get this – cuff links were never returned. And because of this, he wanted money. Well, he wanted more money than the pathetic $5,000 US Airways gave him. So the airline generously gave him another $5,000! Not satisfied, he wanted even MORE. The airline then said, “Tell it to AIG.” Jorgenson did, at which point, the article quotes Jorgenson as saying, “Everything went downhill.”
Jorgenson – who wasn’t hurt, remember – got ten-thousand bucks from US Airways and yet he wants more?! Must’ve been some expensive cuff links!
I believe that Mr. Paul Jorgenson could legitimately be characterized as what we call a “greedy bastard.”
But he’s not the only one! Another woman who was on the plane with her husband and their two children wants AIG to pay for psychological therapy “…to reduce the risk of post-traumatic stress for her and her daughter.”
Not actual post-traumatic stress, mind you. Just the risk of post-traumatic stress in the future, should it ever appear. AIG agreed to pay for three therapy sessions. The woman felt that three sessions was insufficient. AIG referred her to her own health insurance provider, which unfortunately has a high deductible.
This woman, by the name of Tess Sosa, verbalizes what many Americans feel. Referring to AIG, she said, “Why should we be paying out of pocket? That’s what they’re there for.”
Look, I’m sure that being on an airliner that hits birds and lands in the water has got to be a scary friggin’, life-passing-before-your-eyes, oh-my-God-we’re-gonna-die! experience. No doubt. I sure wouldn’t want to have to live through it, either as a pilot or a passenger.
And maybe, had I been a passenger on that plane, I’d be inclined to think that somebody owes me some damn money. I mean, yeah I know that flying is risky, but why should I have to bear any of that risk? If’n I ever get scared and want some therapy just in case lingering memories of this event ever resurface…or if I lose some clothes, and a laptop, car keys and a set of cuff links…I’ll want someone to fork over some cash, baby.
Or maybe not.
Yahoo News Article