Qantas passenger claims faulty seats left him with chronic back injury

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A passenger who says faulty plane seats on two Qantas flights caused him a chronic back injury has launched a six-figure compensation claim against the airline.

Barry Johnston's lawyers have lodged a claim in the New South Wales Federal Court which says he asked to be moved from seat 62K on a flight between Sydney and Los Angeles because the seat would not stay upright but airline staff ignored his request, The Daily Telegraph has reported.

Barry Johnston said two flights in 2015 had left him with a chronic back injury. Source: Facebook
Barry Johnston said two flights in 2015 had left him with a chronic back injury. Source: Facebook

Mr Johnston said the discomfort did not stop with the first flight and he suffered a similar problem on the return trip from Honolulu.

Qantas has denied the seats were faulty, despite sending a written apology to Mr Johnston for any discomfort he may have endured as a result of the “dysfunctional seats”.

“I flew from Hawaii to Sydney on August 22 and my seat was broken and I was left in it all the way to Sydney,” Mr Johnston wrote on Qantas’ Facebook page back in 2015.

“I called Qantas and was told I had to fill in a form and it was taken seriously. Surprise surprise it has been completely ignored.”

Mr Johnston and his representatives from Shine Lawyers are now seeking damages equivalent to $220,000 and unlimited damages for pain, suffering and any economic loss.

His lawyer said the IT engineer is now unable to travel freely as his employment requires. Source: Facebook
His lawyer said the IT engineer is now unable to travel freely as his employment requires. Source: Facebook
Following his nightmare travel, Mr Johnston took to Facebook to tell Qantas of his ordeal. Source: Facebook
Following his nightmare travel, Mr Johnston took to Facebook to tell Qantas of his ordeal. Source: Facebook

The 43-year-old said the seat on the first flight would not stay upright and at one point he was sitting on nothing more than the seat's metal frame.

Shine Senior Aviation lawyer Thomas Janson said Mr Johnston’s ability to travel overseas for his work as an IT engineer had been greatly impacted as a result of the faulty seats.

“Mr Johnston has been left with a chronic condition that’s had a real impact on his quality of life, his ability to earn an income and his psychological health,” Mr Janson said.

Mr Johnston claimed that he had requested to be moved from both faulty seats but his plea had been denied. Source: Facebook
Mr Johnston claimed that he had requested to be moved from both faulty seats but his plea had been denied. Source: Facebook

Qantas were quick to reply to Mr Johnston’s Facebook complaint asking if he had filled out “a Customer Care form" to which Mr Johnston promptly replied, telling them he had submitted three separate forms.

“I kept going to doctors to see if there was something they could do,” Mr Johnston told News Corp.

“Eventually one said to me 'you should be talking to a lawyer, you’d have a case against the airline for this'.”

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