Olympic Airways v. Husain

An airline passenger with asthma was seated three rows ahead of the smoking section on an international flight. The passenger and his wife repeatedly asked the flight attendant to move to a different seat but the flight attendant refused, alleging that the plan was full (it was not). The passenger died during the flight and his wife sued the airline under the Warsaw Convention, which imposes liability for a passenger’s death caused by an “accident” on an international flight. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed earlier rulings that the airline was liable for the passenger’s death because its conduct constituted an accident. The court found that the carrier’s unusual and unexpected refusal to assist the passenger was a cause of his death, along with the exposure to secondhand smoke.


Olympic Airways v. Husain, 540 U.S. 644 (2004).

  • United States
  • Feb 24, 2004
  • Supreme Court of the United States



  • Hannah Husain
  • Isaac Husain
  • Rubina Husain, individually and as personal representative of the estate of Abid M. Hanson, M.D., deceased
  • Sarah Husain

Defendant Olympic Airways

Legislation Cited

International/Regional Instruments Cited

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Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues


Type of Tobacco Product