Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

We return to the subject of airline customer service.

Specifically, a passenger's unhappiness with airline customer service.

In an extraordinary lawsuit, first reported by Bloomberg, Gregory Lagana says he was sitting on an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to Philadelphia, his seat belt fastened, when a Flight Attendant punched him "in the face and back of the head."

This, claims Lagana, happened "repeatedly."

Lagana is suing the airline.

His lawyer insists Lagana had to go to hospital, was treated for a traumatic brain injury, suffers from severe headaches and endured "scalp hematomas, abrasions, swelling, redness, bruising and defensive wounds to his hand." Some of his injuries are "permanent."

Lagana says this all occurred on January 5 last year.

Yet there's one thing about the lawsuit that some might find curious. Bloomberg reported there were few details in the lawsuit about what caused the situation to escalate in such an allegedly brutal manner.

Lagana's lawyer, Edward Capozzi, told USA Today that it began with an argument about a drinks order. 

But long is the line between drinks order and disorder.

How long, indeed, might a conversation between a Flight Attendant and a passenger have lasted before things became feisty and fisty?

Capozzi subsequently told Yahoo Lifestyle that his client had asked for a Coke with ice, but only got a can of Coke.

Said the lawyer: "They want back and forth, and Lagana said, 'Just give me the f***ing ice!"


From there, Capozzi says, there was an alleged suggestion from the Flight Attendant that Lagana mind his language, some alleged finger-wagging, some alleged pushing away of the Flight Attendant's hand and then the alleged escalation.

I asked American whether it had record of this alleged incident and whether it had comment on the lawsuit. An airline spokesperson told me: 

We are reviewing the lawsuit and the details of the flight.

Normally with such incidents there's at least one passenger who films it on their phone. Or, at least, an objective bystander who offers their play-by-play. 

So far, I can find none.

Yahoo reports that, for his part, the Flight Attendant allegedly claims that Lagana's injuries were self-inflicted.

The caustic and flight-tired, of course, will say that some Flight Attendants can be rude or even militaristic.

When it comes to American Airlines, it's not easy to forget the Flight Attendant who challenged a passenger to a fight.

However, passengers can also be a menace. 

Why, only yesterday a Texas student was jailed for six months after biting, spitting at and attacking British Airways cabin crew. (His girlfriend had apparently broken up with him.)

This isn't to suggest that Lagana did anything wrong. His lawyer claims his client "was not involved in any wrongdoing that jeopardized the safety of the aircraft."

Indeed, the story he presents doesn't suggest a depth of customer service skills on the Flight Attendant's part.

Lagana is seeking $161,000 in damages, while flying bystanders might be seeking just a little more information about the entirety of what might have occurred.