Man Dies After Flight and Airplane Food May Be to Blame

airplane foodAt some point or another, we've all eaten something served on an airplane that we thought was going to kill us. (Hey, they don't call it airplane food for nothing.) But whatever Othon Cortes ate on American Airlines flight from Barcelona, Spain to New York allegedly did kill him. That's what his family thinks, anyway.

Which is why they're suing American Airlines and airplane catering company Sky Chefs for $1 million.

Cortes apparently got sick with severe stomach cramps and sudden thirst shortly after eating an in-flight chicken meal -- basically as soon as the plane landed at JFK International Airport. On their connecting flight to Miami, he got much, much worse: When no one was able to revive him after a cardiac event, the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in Virginia.

Unfortunately, by then it was too late.


Cortes was pronounced dead on arrival, and his wife and daughter blame the foodborne bacteria Clostridium perfringens, which they say poisoned his meal as a result of American Airlines and Sky Chefs "failing to properly maintain or prepare the food."

Okay. The concept of a person being poisoned to death by airplane food does not in all honesty seem that far-fetched to me. In fact, I'm surprised there haven't been more cases of in-flight food fatalities. Come on, that stuff is nasty! It's worse than hospital food! (Only by a very slim margin, however.)

That said, Clostridium perfringens is apparently rarely, if ever, fatal. And apparently when it does kill somebody, that somebody is usually already seriously ill. Was Othon Cortes already sick when he ate the chicken? (Is that why nobody else on the plane seemed to have a problem?)

Sky Chefs is reportedly already dismissing the case; with their recent bankruptcy announcement, I'm sure this lawsuit is the least of American Airlines' worries. Sadly, I doubt the Cortes family will get any answers or resolution (or money) as a result of their legal actions.

I bet they'll never eat so much as a peanut on an airplane again, though.

Do you think airplane food is horrible enough to kill somebody?

Image via Pat Guiney/Flickr

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