Skip to main content

Passenger sues Southwest Airlines over hot tea spill

By Aaron Cooper, CNN
updated 4:37 PM EDT, Wed September 26, 2012
A woman is suing Southwest Airlines and a flight attendant for $800,000 for serving tea she says severely burned her.
A woman is suing Southwest Airlines and a flight attendant for $800,000 for serving tea she says severely burned her.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Woman suffered second-degree burns, is permanently scarred, lawyers say
  • Southwest does not have trays in front rows, which contributed to the accident, suit says
  • "We safely serve about 100 million drinks onboard every year," Southwest says

Washington (CNN) -- A Tennessee woman sued Southwest Airlines and a flight attendant Tuesday for $800,000 for serving tea she says severely burned her.

On December 28, 2011, Angelica Keller was seated in the window seat of the front row on Flight 955 between Nashville and Houston with a stop in New Orleans.

She ordered hot tea, and the suit says the flight attendant brought her a cup of "extremely hot water" sitting in another cup which contained the tea bag and condiment packets.

Air Force One aborts landing, second try successful

In the "plaintiffs efforts to extricate the tea bag from its position of being wedged between the tilted paper 'hot cup' of extremely hot water and the shorter clear plastic soft drink cup, the extremely hot water spilled into her lap at her groin area," the suit said.

Keller's body suffered second degree burns and her skin blistered, peeled and she was permanently scarred, the lawyers said.

"Our Customers' comfort is our top priority at all times, and we safely serve about 100 million drinks onboard every year," Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said in a statement. "The referenced event is unfortunate, and we are currently reviewing it. We can't provide additional details due to the pending lawsuit that was filed."

Southwest does not have tray tables in the front rows of its aircraft, and Keller's suit said that contributed to the accident.

It also said the airline served the drink in an unreasonable manner and used "hot water at a temperature too hot for use in an aircraft."

Mainz was unable to provide the standard temperature of the water on Southwest flights, but said it has never been an issue in the past.

The suit, filed Tuesday, seeks $300,000 for property damages, medical bills, injuries and pain and suffering as well as $500,000 in punitive damages.

Crikey! Crew corrals crocodile in cargo hold on plane

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN recommends
updated 11:53 AM EST, Wed February 12, 2014
Are abandoned buildings urban blight or historic relics? Photographers love them, in either case.
updated 12:00 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
The lush Emerald Isle is easy on the eyes.
updated 1:49 PM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
Usually, a ride on an elevator involves pushing a button and zoning out until the ding for your floor. It's so much more on these lifts.
updated 8:17 AM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
From swimming pool slides and oversized LEGO stations to Plinko walls and Wii consoles, hotels all over the world have committed to having fun.
updated 5:25 PM EST, Fri January 17, 2014
Earth never stops surprising us. Every corner of the planet offers some sort of natural peculiarity.
For 24 hours, we made the world's busiest airport our destination and found a world unto its own. Join us on our journey. What you see will surprise you.
updated 3:21 PM EST, Tue February 11, 2014
Some roadside attractions have become kitsch institutions. You might even make a trip just to see them.
updated 11:27 AM EST, Mon February 4, 2013
Check out daily travel photos from CNN.com readers and share your best shots.
updated 10:02 AM EST, Thu January 2, 2014
The coasts get all the glory in the United States, but there's something fun to do in each and every state. Yes, every state.
updated 3:34 PM EDT, Tue August 13, 2013
Beaches along the coasts of the United States call to shoreline explorers year-round.
updated 9:01 PM EDT, Fri July 27, 2012
When five teenagers sat down and posed for a picture at Copco Lake in 1982, they didn't plan on making it a tradition. But that's what it became.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT