Man Sues Airlines After His Pinky Got Stuck in Plane Seat Armrest

Dec 12, 2018

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A passenger is suing American Airlines and SkyWest for negligence after he allegedly got his pinky finger stuck in his plane seat’s armrest for almost an hour on a flight to Los Angeles.

Stephen Keys was in first class on SkyWest Flight 3095 from Reno to LA on Sept. 9, his lawsuit states. When Keys lifted the right armrest to access his seatbelt, his pinky got stuck in a hole on the underside of the armrest. Even though he repeatedly tried to remove his pinky, it was hopelessly stuck in the tiny hole under the armrest.

“The spring mechanism embedded inside of this hole in the armrest applied intense pressure to plaintiff’s finger, immediately inflicting injury, swelling and pain,” his filing says. Keys also says the injury left him unable to drive, play with his children or do other simple tasks, he writes in the suit, adding that he underwent weeks of pain and emotional distress.

“The comfort and safety of our passengers is our first priority,” SkyWest told NBC News Los Angeles in a statement. “We worked with our partner American to reach out to Mr. Keys regarding his bruised finger and look forward to swiftly resolving this matter. Due to the ongoing litigation, we cannot comment further.”

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against both airlines on Dec. 5, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Keys further alleges the incident caused him embarrassment among his fellow passengers.

“By this time, dozens of passengers became aware of Mr. Keys’ perilous condition, causing his dire situation to become a humiliating public spectacle,” the lawsuit says. Flight crew attempted to help him remove his pinky, as did firefighter first responders — all to no avail. An airline mechanic finally had to come and disassemble the seat to free Keys’ pinky.

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