Virgin America’s high-tech seat-back consoles are meant to make everyone’s lives a bit easier, but at least one man found them rage-inducing and has now filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the airline.
According to ABC News, Salvatore Bevivino of San Francisco was flying home from Philadelphia last year when he pushed his flight-attendant call button and asked for a soda. The flight attendant told Bevivino to order with the touch screen on the back of the seat in front of him.
"He just pointed to me, pointed to the screen and said, 'Use the console, sir'," Bevivino said to 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.'"
Another flight attendant came by and told Bevivino about the ordering console, and he restated that he had no intention of using the newfangled order-taking device and would complain to the airline. A third flight attendant eventually just brought him a soda.
According to Bevivino, that’s all that happened. But the flight crew said Bevivino had been yelling obscenities and leaving the lavatories unflushed. When Bevivino deplaned, he was questioned by airport police and TSA officers for about 20 minutes.
So Bevivino got a lawyer and asked Virgin America for $50,000 and an apology, citing "depression, worry, and anxiety surrounding his detention by law enforcement." The airline offered him $3,000. Bevivino rejected that offer as well as one for $5,000, and instead filed a suit seeking $500,000 in damages.
"I'm going to have some kind of record because of a flight attendant fabricating events?" Bevivino said to ABC. "They're being given too much power. That's what concerns me. The only thing I have is my reputation. Lies just irk me. And it's such a weird one."
A Virgin America spokesperson said the company would not comment on ongoing litigation, but had reviewed the case and thought the crewmembers acted appropriately.