Singapore Airlines offers compensation to passengers on flight hit by severe turbulence

Singapore Airlines offers compensation to passengers on flight hit by severe turbulence
  • PublishedJune 11, 2024

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has offered compensation to passengers who were on board a flight that encountered deadly turbulence last month.

A 73-year-old man died of a suspected heart attack and dozens were injured when flight SQ321, flying from London to Singapore, encountered what the airline described as sudden, extreme turbulence while flying over Myanmar.

The May 21 flight on a Boeing 777-300ER plane carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew diverted to Bangkok for an emergency landing after the plane was buffeted by turbulence that flung passengers and crew around the cabin, slamming some into the ceiling.

A Bangkok hospital treating passengers said there were spinal cord, brain and skull injuries.

As of June 4, more than two weeks after the flight, 20 passengers were still receiving medical care in hospitals in Bangkok, according to the airline. It did not respond immediately to a request for an updated figure.

Passengers on board Singapore Airlines flight
Some passengers hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead, denting them, during the turbulence.  (Reuters)

“For passengers who sustained minor injuries from the incident, we have offered US$10,000 [$15,150] in compensation,” the airline said in a statement.  

“For those who sustained more serious injuries from the incident, we have invited them to discuss a compensation offer.”

The airline said it sent out the compensation offers on June 10. 

“Passengers medically assessed as having sustained serious injuries, requiring long-term medical care, and requesting financial assistance are offered an advance payment of US$25,000 to address their immediate needs,” it wrote.  

The airline said it would also provide full refunds of the air fare to all passengers who were on flight SQ321 regardless of their injuries and that all passengers were provided $S1,000 ($1,120) to meet their immediate expenses in Bangkok. 

“SIA has also been covering the medical expenses of the injured passengers, and arranged for their family members and loved ones to fly up to Bangkok where requested,” the airline said. 

A preliminary report by Singapore’s Transport Ministry said a rapid change in gravitational force and a 54-metre altitude drop likely caused passengers and crew to become airborne.

It said the plane was likely flying over an area of “developing convective activity”, a term referring to developing bad weather.

The incident has put seatbelt practices in the spotlight, with airlines typically allowing passengers to undo belts during normal cruise conditions, while recommending they keep them on.


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