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Passengers demand Korean Air compensate them for incident on codeshare partner flight

All Headlines 09:53 September 06, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- A set of passengers have taken Korean Air Lines Co. to court for an incident aboard a foreign carrier with which it has a codeshare agreement, a case that may set the boundary of responsibilities between the actual operator of a flight and its partner, aviation industry officials said Tuesday.

The plaintiffs were headed to the Czech Republic on a Czech Airlines flight on Sept. 12, 2014, out of Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. The flight was a codeshare with Korean Air, with Czech Airlines as the operating carrier.

During the flight, one of the plaintiffs, the mother, was pricked by a syringe in the seat pocket while stretching and received emergency care aboard the plane on fears that the needle may have been used by an AIDS patient. The plaintiffs said they asked to keep the syringe for a thorough checkup after returning to Korea but were advised to get tested at a local hospital in the Czech Republic. They ended up waiting for days for the test results and were not given the syringe back due to translation errors by an airline employee, the plaintiffs said.

Korean Air contacted them a week later and said it was not responsible since the incident occurred aboard a Czech Airlines flight, and although it has repeatedly said it will make compensations, it has not done so, the plaintiffs said.

Passengers demand Korean Air compensate them for incident on codeshare partner flight - 1

The case was filed recently with the Seoul Central District Court, with the plaintiffs demanding 70 million won (US$63,262) in damages to cover nearly a month of hospital treatment and mental duress from the incident.

The lawyer for the plaintiffs said although Korean Air was not the operating carrier, it has to bear equal responsibility with Czech Airlines under the Montreal Convention. The treaty says passengers who suffer physically or mentally on airlines can be compensated up to 180 million won.

"We had discussed compensation measures with the plaintiffs but were unable to come to an agreement," a Korean Air official said. "We will take measures after a legal review once the case is accepted by the court."
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