Woman left on plane recounts ‘horrifying’ experience

United Airlines customer service took another hit when flight attendants and pilots evidently left a woman asleep on board of a commuter flight in Philadelphia after a flight from Detroit. Now she is suing the airline for false imprisonment.

Ginger McGuire said no one had awakened her when the plane landed more than three hours earlier. She said she paced the aisle for about 15 minutes early Tuesday until the locked door opened and police demanded identification.

“Waking up to an empty airplane and not being able to get out — it was very horrifying,” McGuire, 36, told reporters Thursday as her lawyer announced a lawsuit.

McGuire said she simply fell asleep after a long trip that stretched from Detroit to suburban Washington and, finally, Philadelphia. She said the plane landed Tuesday about 12:30 a.m. EDT.

More to travel over holiday weekend using social media

Deloitte, a consulting firm, has reported that in one of their latest surveys that Americans are planning to travel more this Memorial Day weekend and during the coming summer. The news is music to the ears of airline and hotel executives.

Almost one-third (31%) of survey respondents plan to take a leisure trip during the Memorial Day weekend, up from the 24% who said they traveled a year ago during the same period. In addition, 17% expect to take a longer break than they did last year.

The firm says about 81% plans to travel by car and 19% by air, with nearly half planning to stay at a hotel and a third planning to crash with friends or relatives.

The firm says social media is playing a bigger role in travel planning, with half of survey respondents having used a computer or Web-enabled smartphone to research information about a hotel, and 16% having read a positive consumer-generated comment about a hotel/motel, which influenced their decision to book a room at that facility.

EU court limits airline baggage claims for passengers

The European Union courts denied a passenger the right to file a larger claim than that permitted by the Montreal Convention. The passenger claimed not only a loss of possessions, but also an “immaterial harm.”

The court’s decision should provide some relief to airlines, which complain that rising compensation costs are hurting the industry. Airlines contend that compensation rules generally are biased in favor of passengers.

The court said strict liability limits are needed for an “equitable balance of interest” between air carriers and passengers.

EU law on air carrier liability is based on the Montreal Convention, which sets limits on claims against airlines for loss, damage or delay of baggage to the equivalent of EUR1,134.71. The limit applies unless the passenger declares the baggage valuable in advance and pays an extra fee.