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Flight 1282 Passengers File Lawsuit Against Alaska Airlines, Boeing

— March 15, 2024

An attorney for the passengers said that one of his clients would likely have died if he had not been wearing his seat belt when a door plug failure caused part of the aircraft’s fuselage to give way mid-flight.

Alaska Airlines and Boeing are facing further litigation from passengers who claim that a mid-flight door plug failure could have had catastrophic consequences.

According to The Associated Press, the latest claim was filed on Thursday in Washington state’s King County Superior Court. It names defendants including Boeing, Alaska Airlines, Spirit AeroSystems, and 10 individuals identified only by “John Doe” pseudonyms.

Cuong Tran, one of the passengers aboard the January flight, said that he was sitting a row behind the side of the 737 Max 9 aircraft that was impacted by the door plug failure.

After the door plug failed, a section of the fuselage tore away—creating a large hole and generating sufficient suction to tore Tran’s shoes and socks off his feet. An attorney for Tran said that his client felt his body “lift off the seat” shortly before sustaining lower-body injuries.

“Tran’s leg was jerked so violently that his foot was injured when it got trapped in the seat structure in front of him,” the lawsuit says, adding that Tran likely would have been pulled outside the aircraft if he had not been wearing his seatbelt.

Attorneys for Tran and his co-plaintiffs claim that many of the passengers aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 remain traumatized, with some now avoiding air travel altogether.

An Alaska Airlines-operated Boeing 737 MAX 9. Image via Flickr/user:kitmasterbloke. (CCA-BY-2.0). (source:

“The pressure change made ears bleed and combined with low oxygen, loud wind noise and traumatic stress made heads ache severely,” the lawsuit alleges. “Passengers were shocked terrorized and confused, thrust into a waking nightmare hoping they would live long enough to walk the earth again.”

In court documents, lawyers suggested that the door plug failure was caused by the absence of bolts on the door plugs or the improper installation of bolts on the door plug.

“The level of apparent negligence and disregard for safety protocols is astonishing and terrifying,” said attorney Timothy Loranger, a senior partner at Wisner Braum.

Loranger, notes USA Today, had earlier served as an aircraft mechanic in the Marine Corps.

“This lawsuit isn’t only about the unimaginable fear and suffering of the passengers on that plane, it is about a failure that should never have occurred,” said Ari Friedman, another attorney and partner at Wisner Baum. “We’re talking about a gaping hole ripping open mid-flight in the side of a commercial jet. Properly installed bolts are the difference between safety and disaster, so there is no excuse for why those would be left out, or why quality control checks and routine inspections would miss them.”

Outside of litigation, Boeing is also facing increasing scrutiny from regulators and safety advocates. The U.S. Department of Justice, for instance, has already initiated a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the door plug failure.

The results of the probe are expected to assist with a federal review of the Boeing’s compliance—or lack thereof—with the terms of a settlement relating to safety standards on its 737 MAX aircraft, which were involved in two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.


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Seat belt saved passenger’s life on Boeing 737 jet that suffered a blowout, new lawsuit says

The DOJ has opened a criminal investigation into the Alaska Airlines 737 blowout, a report says

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