Federal Lawsuit By Renowned Airline Law Firm Seeks To Block Alaska/Hawaiian Deal

Alaska/Hawaiian Airlines Merger Threatened By These Latest Developments

Two recent events are shaking the prospects of Alaska Airlines buying Hawaiian Airlines. This comes as the airlines are just four months into a process that, if successful, could take up to 18 months to fruition.

Alaska Airlines MAX 9

Could these events upend progress on the proposed deal?

First is the $1 billion lawsuit by three passengers suing Alaska Airlines due to the emergency door plug blowout. That lawsuit is against Alaska Airlines and Boeing following that harrowing January 5 flight. This lawsuit follows a class-action case against the two on behalf of fourteen plaintiffs.

After 22 Hawaii flights, the plane’s warning signals kept it away from the islands.

The lawsuit by passengers Kevin Kwok, Kyle Rinker, and Amanda Strickland, says that both companies were negligent, and that the plane should never have flown given the warning indicators that had previously removed the Boeing 737 MA 9 aircraft from flying to and from Hawaii. As we already pointed out, the plane had been used for 22 flights to and from Hawaii until that warning appeared.

Image by passenger Kyle Rinker. Credit Jonathan W. Johnson LLC.

The lawsuit complains that both companies disregarded safety protocols, failing to address hazards, including that warning indicator. As a result, it claims the companies jeopardized all passengers’ lives. The plane was flying at a relatively low altitude, and things might have been very different if it had occurred en route to Hawaii.

Boeing has acknowledged their role in the incident. Nonetheless, the suit aims to hold the companies accountable financially. Neither Alaska Airlines nor Boeing have commented on the lawsuit.

Are these fair claims of injured passengers or just gold-digging opportunists?

While those who are suing were fortunately neither injured nor killed, they were unquestionably scared to death, as were all the other passengers on the flight. And rightfully so. The question arises, however, as to who is responsible and what a fair compensation is for that event.

Compared with other suits, Boeing previously committed to a financial settlement of over $2.5 billion related to the Boeing 737 MAX crashes involving Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines. There were 346 people were killed in those incidents.

In any event, it seems highly doubtful that this suit, no matter how it is settled, will significantly impact Alaska Airlines’ planned acquisition of Hawaiian Airlines.

It is our understanding that passengers on the Alaska flight were each paid $1,500. Was that fair for what they went through? And, could or should Alaska Airlines have somehow known that there was the potential for this to happen?

First Impressions | Onboard Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliner

No appeal in JetBlue/Spirit Merger raises concerns for the Hawaiian deal.

Alaska said, “The decision involving other airlines does not impact our plans to combine with Hawaiian Airlines. Our deal combines two airlines with complementary networks, and we believe the transaction will enhance competition and expand choice for consumers.”

While the JetBlue/Spirit deal differed from the Hawaiian/Alaska one, there’s no doubt that the Justice Department is completely opposed to airline mergers.

JetBlue had planned to appeal the federal court ruling against their merger but decided not to do so. The issues raised by the JetBlue-Spirit failure cause serious concern regarding Alaska’s ability to bring the $2 billion Hawaiian Airlines purchase to fruition. In the meantime, we await further information from the Justice Department.

Do you have any thoughts on the Alaska Airlines/Hawaiian Airlines merger and whether it will be approved?

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7 thoughts on “Alaska/Hawaiian Airlines Merger Threatened By These Latest Developments”

  1. Gold diggers? And the disregard from others acting like ‘no big deal, it was all under control.’ Easy for you to say when you weren’t the passenger(s) holding on for dear life not knowing if those bolts were gonna pop and the seat(s) would go flying out the window too. I generally lack empathy but I can see those persons dealing with that terror for the rest of their lives. They deserve significantly more than a $1500 flight voucher. Do you really think any of those passengers will ever board an Alaska 737 Max flight again???

  2. Gold Diggers! Yes, it certainly would have been scary to be aboard that Alaska flight. However, after the first minutes when the aircraft was under total control, all was well. Speaking as a pilot, I have had doors come open in flight on a Cessna, both my pilot side and right side. Essentially a non-event at 3,500 feet and 90 knots. Certainly a bit more serious at 14,000 feet and probably around 250 knots.

    Warning lights in cockpits go off and after a quick check of what it is telling you it is reset and no further problem. The captain would log in the tech sheet and it was certainly checked without finding issues, which would lead one to believe there was simply a bad sensor. Not the fault of Alaska!

  3. The Hawiian culture to end short term vacation rentals and tourism as well know it shows the greed that allowed tha mismanagement and corruption that has existed within the culture for years. There us no reason why these current issues weren’t managed properly throughout the years except for the political corruption. The Golden Goose was shot long ago and is succumbing to a slow death

  4. To answer your question gold digging. 2 billion for pain and suffering, don’t think so. They could lose the suit altogether for that. I think some people feel juries will side against big companies not always. Accidents happen were they at fault don’t know wasn’t there.

  5. I think that what distinguishes the Hawaiian Alaska Merger is that Hawaiian will not be able to survive without financial assistance if it fails to find a partner. United would have more monopoly concerns and both American and Delta would have more issues than Alaska. Preventing the Alaska deal would likely sign the death knell for Hawaiian and that would have a massive effect on air travel in Hawaii.

  6. My last Mai Tai at that dive bar had the plumeria blossom incorrectly placed. I am Deeply scarred for life. I plan to sue for: … Insert photo of Dr Evil here… A Billion dollars! (but I’ll settle for $50 here and now)…


  7. Let me be the first to thank these ambulance chasing maggots for suing every paying passenger in America! A billion dollars divided by 3 people (and who knows how many lawyers). Thats absurd!
    It was certainly a frightening experience, but when will this madness end. In the meantime the rest of us who understand bad things happen and take responsibility for our own actions will pay the bill for the shameless litigants and the greedy lawyers who encourage this kind of non sense.

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