On May 21, 2024, a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER encountered severe turbulence while en route from London (LHR) to Singapore (SIN), on flight SQ321. The turbulence was so violent that dozens of people were seriously injured, and one person even died (reportedly from a heart attack). The plane was diverted to Bangkok (BKK), where many passengers were hospitalized.

A few weeks after the incident, the airline has now announced how it will compensate passengers who were on this flight.

How Singapore Airlines Compensates SQ321 Passengers

On June 10, 2024, Singapore Airlines sent compensation offers to passengers on flights that encountered severe turbulence. Besides apologizing for the traumatic experience, here is the offer Singapore Airlines made to passengers:

For We have offered US$10,000 in compensation to passengers who suffered minor injuries as a result of the incident.

For those who suffered more serious injuries from the incident, we have invited them to discuss an offer of compensation to meet each of their specific circumstances, when they feel comfortable and are willing to do so. Passengers who are medically diagnosed with serious injuries, require long-term medical care and apply for financial assistance will be offered an advance of $25,000 to meet their immediate needs. This will be part of the final compensation these passengers will receive.

In addition to the above, SIA will provide a full airfare refund to all passengers traveling on SQ321 on May 20, 2024, including those who have not suffered any injuries. All passengers will also receive delay compensation in accordance with relevant European Union or United Kingdom regulations.

We have given all passengers S$1,000 each to cover their immediate expenses upon departure from Bangkok. SIA also covered the medical expenses of the injured passengers and arranged for their relatives and loved ones to fly to Bangkok upon request.

Singapore Airlines has handled this situation very well

I think Singapore Airlines should be commended for the way it handled this situation. First, the airline has done a great job of communicating transparently. The company’s CEO released a video message shortly after the incident and the airline has been continuously updating the public in recent weeks.

Many airlines try to sweep these types of situations under the rug, while Singapore Airlines prioritizes transparency, and I think that’s great.

As for the compensation offer to passengers, Singapore Airlines’ offer seems fair to me. I don’t think we know how “minor injuries” are defined, although there is clearly room to negotiate here as this is just an offer.

Compensation in these types of situations is governed by the Montreal Convention, which makes airlines liable for virtually all injuries sustained during travel unless something can be proven to be due to a passenger’s negligence. Under the Montreal Convention, airlines are liable for a maximum compensation of approximately $175,000 per person.

Now, I’m not a lawyer (let alone familiar with the complexities of international law), so I wonder if we might see lawsuits for emotional distress, etc. Granted, this wasn’t a flight full of Americans, so …

In short

Singapore Airlines has revealed how it is compensating passengers who encountered severe turbulence on its May 21 flight from London to Singapore. If you ask me, the airline is doing an excellent job, both in terms of offering and transparent communication.

What do you think of Singapore Airlines’ compensation offer?