Singapore Airlines Offers Compensation for Turbulence Victims

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 with wheels down.
Photo Credit: RHL Images from England, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has stepped forward to offer compensation to passengers injured during a severe turbulence incident on flight SQ321 in May 2024.

The incident, which resulted in one fatality and dozens of injuries, understandably caused significant distress to those on board.

Singapore Airlines Compensation Plan

Singapore Airlines’ compensation plan addresses the varying degrees of injuries sustained by passengers. Passengers who sustained minor injuries were offered a sum of $10,000.

For passengers with more serious injuries requiring long-term medical care, SIA offered an initial advance payment of $25,000 to address immediate needs.

This initial amount is intended to be part of a final settlement that will be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

Beyond Injury Compensation

In addition to compensating for injuries, Singapore Airlines offered a comprehensive support package to all passengers on board SQ321. This included:

  • A full refund of the fare for all passengers, regardless of whether they were injured.
  • Delay compensation in accordance with relevant regulations. This likely refers to European Union (EU) or United Kingdom (UK) regulations, depending on the flight’s origin and destination.
  • An immediate expense payment of $1,000 to each passenger.
  • Assistance in arranging flights to Bangkok, Thailand, where the flight diverted due to the turbulence incident, for loved ones of those on board.

Singapore Airlines has expressed its sincere apologies to all passengers for the traumatic experience. The airline has committed to providing its full support and assistance to those affected by the incident.

Photo Credit: Singapore Airlines

Turbulence – A Relatively Common Occurrence

While turbulence can be a frightening experience for passengers, it is a relatively common occurrence in air travel.

Most turbulence is mild and poses no serious threat. However, as this incident demonstrates, severe turbulence can result in injuries and even fatalities.

Recent reports have suggested that severe turbulence encounters are on the increase. Whilst this is a consideration, it should not deter people from flying.

Studies have shown that the majority of those injured in such events were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the inflight encounter.

Safety Measures on Board

Airlines take a number of precautions to mitigate the risks associated with turbulence. Seatbelt signs are illuminated when turbulence is expected.

Airlines generally recommend passengers wear seatbelts whenever seated, and flight attendants instruct passengers on proper bracing techniques.

In addition, aircraft are structurally designed to withstand significant inflight turbulence loads.

Passengers who sustained serious injuries may wish to seek legal advice to understand their options for further compensation.

An aviation lawyer can advise on the specifics of their case and help them navigate the legal process.

This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of following crew instructions during turbulence and being mindful of unexpected events.

While turbulence is a risk inherent to air travel, extreme encounters such as the one encountered by Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 remain relatively low.

Encounters which occur with little or no warning are relatively infrequent, but air travellers need to be aware that they can and still do occur.

Airlines take steps to minimize those risks and offer support in the aftermath of such incidents, but awareness and simple precautions on the part of passengers is a key to safety.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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