A passenger on an American Airlines flight is suing the airline, saying he was put through mental and physical anguish after being falsely imprisoned when the airline gave police his name as the sole suspect in a terminal robbery.
The alleged incident began with a burglary at a duty-free store in Dallas on May 12, 2020. Police were able to trace the suspect to Michael Lowe’s flight, CBS News has more:
Lowe was flying from Flagstaff to Reno with a layover in Dallas. During the layover, there was a burglary at a duty-free store in one of the Dallas terminals — and police were able to trace the culprit onto Lowe’s plane from Dallas to Reno, the lawsuit said.
As a result, the lawsuit says, airport police obtained a search warrant “ordering American Airlines to produce any and all recorded travel data” for the flight’s passengers. The lawsuit said the affidavit from police “described the suspect as a tall and thin, White or Hispanic male with a short military style haircut, black polo shirt and blue jeans.”
But instead of providing the names of all the passengers, according to the lawsuit, the airline “departed from its established procedures” and only gave them one name: Lowe’s.
Giving police only one name when they had requested the full manifest led police to put out warrants for — who else — the only name on their list. It seems a huge oversight, and one the airline says it is looking into.
Apparently the accidental word of a multi-billion dollar corporation singling you out for no reason is enough to send you to the slammer for over two weeks. In 2021, Lowe was picked up while on vacation in New Mexico for felony and misdemeanor arrest warrants after being singled out by the airline. The charges were eventually dismissed, but not before he spent 17 hellish days in a New Mexico jail.
American Airlines, like any major corporation in the U.S., is no stranger to controversial lawsuits. A Black family sued the airline after they were kicked off of a flight, alleging discrimination. A 2018 lawsuit alleged the airline knew uniforms worn by flight attendants and pilots were toxic before distributing the clothing and tried to cover up health complaints.