Two passengers who were stranded for hours on American Airlines airplanes diverted during a major storm over north Texas have sued the carrier, accusing it of false imprisonment, fraud and negligence, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Kate Hanni of Napa, Calif., and Catherine Ray of Fayetteville, Ark., were on flights diverted from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to Austin on Dec. 29, 2006. After landing, passengers sat in the planes for more than eight hours, unable to leave despite overflowing toilets and little food or water.

The lawsuits ask for unspecified damages as well as legal expenses.


Both suits were filed in circuit courts; Hanni’s in California and Ray’s in Arkansas. They seek class-action status, claiming the airline’s decisions affected 12,000 passengers that day.

The flights were among hundreds diverted when an unusual system of storms snarled traffic over the airport. “A major weather event that no one predicted” happened and caused 119 flights to be diverted that day, the most since 9/11, said airline spokesman John Hotard.