A United Airlines passenger jet takes off with New York City as a backdrop
United Airlines is headquartered in Chicago | Photo: AFP Reuters

The parents of a six-year-old child have sued United Airlines, claiming their daughter was ''burned and disfigured'' after a hot meal served by a flight attendant spilled onto her lap.

The incident occurred on a United Airlines flight travelling from Israel's Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) to New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in July 2022. The child, who was flying with her mother, has been referred to as O.F. in the lawsuit filed by her parents, according to reports in the local media.

During the flight, a hot meal in a tray was handed to O.F.'s mother by a flight attendant. The mother then placed the meal on a fold-down tray table in front of her young daughter. The lawsuit, reportedly filed last week, claimed that the tray table was damaged and slanting down, which resulted in the meal dropping on the kid's lap.

"The food contents on O.F.'s meal tray were unreasonably hot and caused O.F. to suffer severe burn injuries," the lawsuit read.

The mother reportedly said in the suit that she "requested prompt medical attention" for her daughter, but accused the United Airlines staff of not being able to provide sufficient care. The mother claimed it was "partly because United did not equip the aircraft used for the flight with reasonable medical supplies to treat burn injuries".

The suit further stated that the girl was in "extreme discomfort" for the remainder of the flight to New Jersey and is now "scarred and disfigured" from the incident.

The parents reportedly accused the airline of carelessness, claiming that the food was ''unreasonably hot" and caused severe burn injuries to their daughter. They also slammed the airline for failing to maintain, inspect and repair tray tables on the aircraft before a flight journey.

The injured girl's parents also accused the United Airlines staff of failing to provide immediate access to medical equipment and care on the flight, among other allegations. Meanwhile, the lawsuit also added that United Airlines did not warn the girl or the mother that the tray table was defective.

As per the lawsuit, the parents want the airline to compensate for ''past and future non-economic damages for her injuries, burns, disfigurement, scarring, discolouration, neurological deficits, impairment, pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, inconvenience, humiliation, embarrassment, and the loss of ability to enjoy her life, which she has experienced in the past and/or will continue to experience in the future''.

The girl's parents also requested a jury trial for the Chicago-headquartered airline to compensate medical costs and cover the damages that are believed to be over £60,000.