An attorney representing a group of passengers on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 has expanded the lawsuit against Alaska Airlines and Boeing with new allegations about the incident. The lawsuit now includes a new allegation that passengers on a prior flight of the aircraft heard a whistling sound coming from the vicinity of the door plug. Passengers apparently brought this to the attention of flight attendants, but no further action was taken.
The lawsuit also cites the preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which found that the cockpit door was designed to blow out in a depressurization situation and that pilots and crew weren't informed of this design feature. The lawsuit claims that the resulting shock, noise, and communication difficulties contributed to a lack of proper communication between the flight crew and passengers, intensifying confusion and stress.
The lawsuit includes allegations of emotional and physical injuries, including severe stress, anxiety, trauma, and hearing damage. More passengers have been added to the lawsuit in the amended filing.
The door plug blowout and depressurization incident occurred on January 5, when Flight 1282 was climbing after takeoff from Oregon's Portland International Airport en route to Ontario, California. The door plug panel blew out at about 16,000 feet, causing the cabin to depressurize. Some passengers' items were blown out of the airliner, and empty seats near the hole in the fuselage sustained damage. The plane safely returned to Portland for an emergency landing, and no serious injuries were reported.
Alaska Airlines and Boeing have declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Following the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded 737 Max 9s for further inspections. The FAA has since finalized inspection protocols that had to be completed prior to the planes returning to service. As of now, the majority of the United Alaska Airlines Max 9 planes have been inspected and returned to service, with inspections on all of Alaska Airlines' Max 9 planes (except the one involved in the emergency) expected to be completed soon.