The death of a passenger on one of its flights continues to haunt American Airlines after the family of the passenger accused the airlines of causing food poisoning and allowing a person to board a flight even though he was noticeably ill.
Othon Cortes was traveling to New York on the Barcelona-to-New York flight on May 18 and ate a meal on the flight. Cortes' health took a turn for worse at the JFK airport as he "pale, experienced 'sharp stomach cramps' and was suddenly very thirsty". He then boarded a plane to Miami on which he experienced nausea and shortness of breath, and eventually had a heart attack and died, according to Cortes' widow's account in an article published in the Miami New Times.
The family has filed a lawsuit against both American Airlines and the catering company Sky Chefs which provided the meal that Cortes ate. The lawsuit alleges that the airline "was negligent in allowing the man to board the domestic flight, failing to provide medical attention, and waiting too long to pull an emergency landing."
A spokesman for the American Airlines said that it cannot comment on an active lawsuit but said that all of its aircraft are provided with emergency medical supplies and the crews are trained to overcome on-flight medical emergencies.
"In general, I can tell you that our aircraft are equipped with medical supplies approved by the FAA and our crews are trained in numerous procedures related to any type of medical emergency onboard the aircraft in-flight", the spokesman, Tim Smith said.