Request a Free Consultation

Five Common In-Flight Aviation Injuries

Updated March 24, 2019 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

During a commercial flight, your safety is in the hands of the pilot and flight crew. Regulations set in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determine how pilots and flight attendants must be trained and what rules they must follow to ensure the safety of everyone on board.

Although major aviation accidents are rare, in-flight injuries are much more likely to happen to you or your fellow passengers. If they are caused by negligence on the part of the airline or crew, you may be entitled to compensation.

Common In-Flight Injuries

A variety of circumstances can lead to in-flight injuries.


As defined by the FAA, turbulence is “air movement that normally cannot be seen and often occurs unexpectedly.” It can be caused by anything from weather fronts or thunderstorms to jet streams or atmospheric pressure.

Turbulence is the most common cause of in-flight aviation injuries. The FAA has collected several years of data for both passenger and crew injuries caused by turbulence:

  • 2013: 9 passenger injuries, 4 crew injuries
  • 2014: 22 passenger injuries, 9 crew injuries
  • 2015: 7 passenger injuries, 14 crew injuries
  • 2016: 32 passenger injuries, 12 crew injuries
  • 2017: 12 passenger injuries, 5 crew injuries

Falling Baggage

A rise in checked baggage fees has led to passengers taking advantage of airline carry-on policies. When overhead bins are stuffed too full or are improperly latched, baggage can fall out and injure unsuspecting passengers.

Rolling Service Carts

Food and beverage carts, when fully stocked, can weigh several hundred pounds. If at any point during the flight a cart collides with a passenger, it can cause serious injury.

Beverage Burns

Airlines generally have rules about when flight crews can serve hot beverages—specifically that they should not be served during turbulence. You and nearby passengers can be burned if a hot drink is spilled on you.

Tripping or Falling Hazards

Airplane aisles must be kept free of tripping or falling hazards, and the flight crew is responsible for keeping clear pathways to the restrooms and throughout the aircraft. Objects or other hazards in the way can lead to dangerous conditions.

Examples of Airline Negligence

Just because an injury occurs in-flight does not mean that the airline can be held responsible. You must be able to show that the injury was caused by an act of negligence on the part of the airline.

Some examples of airline negligence include the following:

  • Flight crew does not properly secure overhead storage
  • Flight crew leaves an object or tripping hazard in the aisle
  • Flight crew fails to instruct passengers about safety measures
  • Airline fails to properly train flight crew or employees
  • Airline fails to provide the appropriate number of flight crew members

Contact an Aviation Accident Attorney Today

Two of the attorneys at WKW are licensed pilots. Both pilots have flight experience in Boeing 727s and private aircrafts as well as commercial licenses, flight engineer certificates, and instrument and multi-engine aircraft ratings.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of an aviation accident, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Aviation Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you with the next steps in pursuing an aviation accident case. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Contact Us

Let WKW put our experience to work for you. Contact us for your free case evaluation.


Or, call us today at (317) 920-6400

Located In Indianapolis
Back to Top