Singapore Airlines offers $25,000 in compensation to passengers most seriously injured in fatal turbulence flight

Singapore Airlines announced on Tuesday that it will offer $25,000 in compensation to the most seriously injured passengers on Flight SQ321, which encountered severe turbulence during its flight from London Heathrow to Singapore on May 20, tragically resulting in the death of one passenger on board.

The compensation detailed on Tuesday is in the form of an advance payment, and Singapore Airlines indicated that the final amount paid to passengers who suffered life-changing spine, neck and head injuries could be much higher.

Singapore Airlines covers private medical care for all passengers injured during the flight, and as of June 4, about 20 passengers were still in hospitals in Bangkok, where the flight was diverted to a medical ambulance after the shock of turbulence.

Singapore Airlines offered compensation totaling $10,000 to dozens of passengers who suffered minor injuries, and all passengers on the plane received a full ticket refund. Additionally, the airline said it would honor its obligations under UK and European delay compensation laws.

The actual amount of compensation injured passengers will receive may be significantly higher than initially offered by Singapore Airlines, and some passengers are likely to pursue legal claims under the Montreal Convention.

Article 17 of the Montreal Convention imposes liability on airlines for injuries or deaths of passengers during a flight unless the airline can prove that the damage was caused by the passenger’s negligence.

The airline’s liability limit is currently 128,821 special drawing rights, an international reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1969.

Special drawing rights represent a basket of currencies, which means their value may change over time. As of June 11, 128,821 SDRs are worth approximately $170,000.

In a statement published on the airline’s official Facebook page, Singapore Airlines “sorrows to all passengers for the traumatic experience on board Flight SQ321 on 20 May 2024. We are committed to providing our full support and assistance at this time.”

“Passengers who are medically assessed to have suffered serious injuries, require long-term medical care and are seeking financial assistance are eligible for an advance payment of $25,000 to cover their immediate needs,” the statement continued.

“This will be part of the final compensation these passengers will receive.”

“We have provided all passengers with S$1,000 to cover their immediate expenses upon departure from Bangkok. SIA also covers medical expenses for injured passengers and arranges for their family members and loved ones to be flown to Bangkok if requested.”

Late last month, a preliminary accident report released by the Singapore Transport Safety Investigation Bureau revealed that the SQ321 pilots activated the “fasten seat belts” signals seconds before the plane suddenly descended to 50 meters, throwing anyone who didn’t do so towards the ceiling. he was wearing a seatbelt. .

The turbulence, which caused the most serious injuries, lasted only five seconds and tragically, 73-year-old passenger Geoff Kitchen died of a suspected heart attack.

Following the incident, Singapore Airlines said it would change its approach to turbulence and suspend all dine-in services whenever the “fasten seat belts” signal is activated. Cabin crew will also be required to wear seat belts in jump seats.

Sign up for our newsletter

No spam, just a weekly roundup of the best aviation news you don’t want to miss

Mateusz Maszczyński

Mateusz Maszczyński improved his skills as an international stewardess at the most famous airline in the Middle East and flew throughout the Covid-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centered stories. Always keeping his eyes on the ground, Matt’s industry insights, analysis and reporting are often relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.