​Airline Sued Over Soda Spat, Not Flushing Toilet

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May 4, 2013
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An airline is being sued for $500,000 in damages after a flight attendant refuses to give a passenger a soda because he left the bathroom door open and did not flush the toilet.

Airline Sued Over Soda

According to a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California, Salvatore Bevivino, 52, a business manager for Genentech, boarded a flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco.

According to the suit, which seeks $500,000 in damages, Bevivino had pressed the call button and asked a male flight attendant for a soda. The flight attendant told him that he had to order by using the touch screen on the back of the seat before him.

“He just pointed to me, pointed to the screen and said, ‘Use the console, sir’,” Bevivino told ABC News. “I said, ‘I don’t want to turn this thing on.’ He said, ‘I don’t have time for your attitude’ and left.’”

A minute later, a female flight attendant approached Bevivino and told him to use the seatback ordering system. Once again, he refused, and said that he would complain to Virgin America. A third attendant finally brought him the soft drink.

There were no further interactions between him and the flight attendants, the suit maintains. Instead, Bevivino spent the remainder of the flight working on his computer.

Once the plane landed, Bevivino gathered his belongings to disembark. But the captain stopped him, he claims, and told him to follow a group of police officers waiting in the jetway corridor. “I see all these cops there and I said, ‘Sure,’” Bevivino recalls.

Bevivino was subsequently questioned by the police, who asked him if he knew why he was being detained. He said he did not, and recounted what had transpired during the flight. The officer then asked Bevivino to wait while he got a statement from the flight crew.

While the officer was taking the crew’s statement, the pilot sat down next to Bevivino, he says, and asked why he had been yelling obscenities at his crew. Bevivino replied that he never used any obscenity during his interactions with the crew.

According to a police incident report, a flight attendant told an investigator that Bevivino had gone to the bathroom, and “came back out with a smile on his face and began using profanities. [Name redacted] passed by the restroom and saw that Bevivino left the door open and did not flush the toilet.”

The police report adds that the captain did not believe he or his crew were in danger.

After about twenty minutes, Bevivino was released, he said.

Not long after, Bevivino said he called Virgin Customer Service and asked for their ordering policy on flights.

“I was told that if I elect not to use the console, the flight attendant has to provide you with one-on-one service,” he said.

A month later, he hired an attorney and sued the airline for “depression, worry, and anxiety surrounding his detention by law enforcement.”