Whether it is through added fees or the elimination of amenities, it is no secret that airlines have been looking at ways to save money. Such moves are the cost of doing business, we suppose. A new lawsuit filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, however, suggests that one airline is taking its cost-saving game to a whole new level. As reported by philly.com, five American Airlines workers have filed suit, accusing the airline of cross-using water jugs to transport toilet chemicals. The water jugs allegedly come directly from the employee break room. The suit contains causes of action for public nuisance, fraud, and conspiracy; it also seeks an injunction for the airline to cease operations until the process is discontinued.
According to the report, the airline assumed the duty of cleaning its lavatories from an outside contractor in 2010. The lavatories are supposed to be cleaned through the use of two pumps. One to remove toilet waste from the lavatories and another to return deodorant cleanser, also known as “blue juice,” back into the toilets. Unfortunately, the intake mechanism for the “blue juice” pump has allegedly broken on many Boeing 757s. Rather than make the repairs, airline workers are allegedly directed to pour the blue juice into empty, 5-gallon water jugs and manually pour the jugs into the toilet. Thereafter, workers allegedly return the water jugs to the break rooms without cleaning them. In turn, the water vendor picks the jugs up for re-filling. And, so the alleged cycle of decontamination goes on.
As is the case with any new lawsuit, we here at Abnormal Use have no idea as to the merit of this case. On the surface, the allegations certainly don’t seem to describe a sanitary practice. On the other hand, we don’t know if anyone actually drinks from the uncleaned jugs. We would hope that after they are retrieved and replaced by the vendor that the vendor would also make investigate and/or clean them before placing them back in service.
We have to wonder whether this lawsuit addresses the drinking water itself or the process. In other words, could this be a case of disgruntled employees overburdened with the new task of manually refilling the blue juice? If not, couldn’t this situation be remedied by having the employees transport the blue juice with a 5-gallon bucket rather than a jug?