National

Thirsty passenger fails in airline lawsuit

By AAP Newswire

A thirsty traveller has lost a legal case against Emirates airline, after claiming she collapsed on a long-haul flight as a result of being denied enough water.

Lina Di Falco, 54, now faces potential costs running into hundreds of thousands of dollars after failing to get compensation from the airline giant.

Ms Di Falco sued the airline for damages in the Victorian Supreme Court, claiming the denial of adequate water caused her to faint and fall, hurting her ankle on the March 2015 flight from Melbourne to Dubai.

The mother told the trial the injury caused her constant pain, forced her to take two months off work, deprived her of doing the things she loved and led to her marriage breakdown.

Justice Jacinta Forbes on Tuesday found Emirates had no liability. She invited the parties to make submissions on costs.

Barrister John Ribbands, representing Emirates, is also seeking special costs, given an offer made to Ms Di Falco to resolve the case early was rejected.

Ms Di Falco, who was not in court for the judgment, told the trial she had constant ankle pain after falling on the way to the bathroom.

She said she was given just one glass of water with her meal more than an hour after the plane took off, but that wasn't enough.

Ms Di Falco claims she had asked for water four times before getting up to go to the bathroom, feeling dizzy and like she was going to vomit.

She claims she fainted and hurt her ankle on the way, describing the pain as nearly 10-out-of-10.

Emirates' legal team countered that the plane had a water fountain available for passengers' use, but Ms Di Falco said she did not see it.

After returning to Australia from her holiday, the Moonee Valley City Council employee was told her ankle was broken. She underwent surgery and didn't go back to work for more than two months.

"It's always aching ... since the accident," Ms Di Falco said, adding she could no longer do the things she loved, like gardening and exercise.

She also told the trial she had withdrawn from friends and her marriage had broken down because of the injury.

"Because of the accident, I couldn't be ... the wife that he married," Ms Di Falco said, referring to her frustration at being unable to keep up with domestic duties.

Ms Di Falco said she was a happy person before the accident but had lost her confidence.

She complained that Emirates passengers hadn't been offered enough refreshments and her Middle Eastern holiday was wasted because of her injured ankle.

After collapsing, Ms Di Falco said airline staff gave her a large water bottle for the rest of the 14-hour flight.