Airline Passenger Rights

Attorney Blog

airline passengersPassenger rights if you are removed from an airplane or injured by another passenger

Imagine that after spending hundreds of dollars on airfare, you are sitting on an airliner getting ready to take off on your way to the vacation you planned for months. Or instead, you are sitting with your seat belt on as you prepare to leave for an important business meeting. Perhaps you are traveling in an emergency-situation to visit an ill family member or friend. While you are preparing for take-off, what happens if an airline employee tells you must get off the airplane. If you choose to remain on board, can you be forcibly removed? And, what are your rights if you are injured in the process?

Recently, a United Airlines passenger who encountered this situation was forcibly removed by airport security, suffering personal injuries in the process. American courts have ruled that airlines do not have an unrestricted right to forcibly remove passengers whether due to overbooking issues, unsubstantiated security-related claims, or even impolite passenger behavior. These limitations on airline and crew behavior apply to both international and domestic flights in the United States.

Damages awarded to passengers on flights in the United States could include pain and suffering, reimbursement of medical expenses, wage loss if the passenger misses time from work, and emotional distress.

If the airline bumps the passenger from the flight or prohibits the passenger from boarding because of discrimination also constitutes improper conduct. Federal law prohibits discrimination based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or ancestry. If the airline engages in discriminatory practices, a passenger could file a civil rights lawsuit, with damages including pain, suffering, emotional distress and attorney’s fees to pay your legal representative. Our American civil justice system may permit recovery of punitive damages.

In addition, there have been situations where quarrelsome and unruly passengers attack others and cause them bodily harm. In a situation such as this, the airline should protect you from assault by another passenger, and could face liability if it fails to do so. Again, American courts permit recovery in the appropriate circumstances for both domestic and international travel.    

Airlines cannot mistreat their passengers in violation of the law. If your rights are violated, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorneys at Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices at (630) 585-2320  for a free case review or fill in our Contact Form.

Click  Aviation Injuries for more information

Click Steven Sandler for more information on the blog’s author.


Lee Alhambra: kind and patient when explaining things, and a calmness that is soothing in stressful situations.

Want to say thank you to Attorney Leandro Alhambra for not just being a good lawyer but for being kind and patient when explaining things. He has calmness that is soothing in stressful situations.


Lee Alhambra will represent you well and will fight for your case. Highly Recommended.

Very professional, detailed and courteous. My case was handled with ease and I’m very grateful! Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices will represent you well and fight for you. Leandro Alhambra is a lawyer I would highly recommend.

Dylan C

I HIGHLY recommend this firm as they are forthright, honest, and easy to work with! Mr. Evans was absolutely outstanding!

I met with Attorney Evans today about a vehicle/pedestrian settlement claim. Mr. Evans was absolutely outstanding and helped guide my thinking regarding the insurance company and potential lawsuit. I HIGHLY recommend this firm as they are forthright, honest, and easy to work with!

Keith W

I recommend Jay Johnson and Woodruff Johnson & Evans. Jay Johnson is a real trailblazer in the work-related injury process. 10 STARS!

My attorney, Jay Johnson, was efficient and there for me when I needed help with my work-related injury. Whenever I had an issue related to my employers’ insurance adjuster, he took care of it. Jay protected my rights when I was wrongfully charged medical bills and collectors. Jay always made himself available when I had  […]


El Sr. Jay Johnson fue genial. Me guió paso a paso a través de su proceso. Lo recomendaría en caso de alguna lesión laboral.

El Sr. Jay Johnson fue genial. Fue muy receptivo. Respondió a todas mis preguntas. Siempre encontraba tiempo para devolverme la llamada cuando no estaba disponible. Me guió paso a paso a través de su proceso. Lo recomendaría en caso de alguna lesión laboral.

Rodrigo G.

Work Compensation Attorney Leandro Alhambra Fought Hard For My Case. I Highly Recommend Him. Great Communication.

Leandro Alhambra at Woodruff, Johnson & Evans did an excellent job. From the time I first contacted him, he was professional and caring. He kept me informed even during the pandemic and he fought to get me a good settlement. I recommend him highly!

Edward P.

I Got Hurt at Work and Hired Russell Haugen to Take On Workers Comp for Me! I Highly Recommend This Law Firm.

I got hurt at work and my employer workers comp has a history of giving hurt employees a “Run Around.” Well, my workers comp “kept” loosing my Doctors orders for physical therapy. After a couple of weeks of this “Run Around” I contacted Russell. It was approximately 20 minutes after speaking to Russell, and my […]

Joseph H.

I highly recommend attorney Jay Johnson to anyone facing work comp issues!

Jay Johnson was an amazing attorney. Whenever I had a question, however little it was, I’d always hear back from him either that same day, or the following morning. I really felt he represented me very well. I’d highly recommend him to anyone who has even a question about their case!

Holly B.

Mr. Russell Haugen is the best personal injury attorney in the entire Chicago area!

In my opinion, Mr. Russell Haugen is the best personal injury attorney in the Chicago area. He is very professional and very hard working person for his clients. His knowledge allowed me to have a good ending for my case. He was awesome to work with. The process took several months but the settled was […]

Barbara I.

Great Law Firm to Work With! They Stay On Top Of Everything! Thanks So Much!

They are on top of everything. Great people to work with! Thank you so much for everything you done for me.

Deanna S.
View All Testimonials

Get Your Free Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.