Airline liable for hot coffee spill, EU court rules

Burns suffered when a cup of hot coffee spilled on a plane passenger were the result of an accident for which the airline is liable, Europe’s top court said Thursday.

In 2015, a six-year-old girl flying from Palma de Mallorca to Vienna was badly scalded when her father’s coffee fell into her lap for unknown reasons.

The family demanded 8,500 euros ($9,465) from the now defunct Austrian carrier Niki Luftfahrt, which argued that a spill was not a “hazard typically associated with flight”.

As such, it said, it was not covered as an accident under the Montreal Convention on international air transport.

But the court found otherwise.

“The concept of ‘accident’ at issue covers all situations occurring on board an aircraft in which an object used when serving passengers has caused bodily injury to a passenger, without it being necessary to examine whether those situations stem from a hazard typically associated with aviation,” it ruled.

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