A Texas woman is suing Chicago-based Continental Airlines for mental trauma caused by turbulence on an October 2009 flight.
Colleen O'Neal of Lubbock, Texas, was flying from College Station to Houston when the flight hit extreme turbulence and what was supposed to be a 20-minute flight turned into more than two hours, according to the lawsuit obtained by MSNBC.
The aircraft repeatedly rose and fell "as if it had lost power and was falling out of the sky," according to the lawsuit.
Since the flight, O'Neal said she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and suffers from nightmares, flashbacks and an intense fear of flying.
O'Neal said her inability to fly since the incident has damaged her job prospects and future earnings potential.
Weather reports before takeoff showed a threat of "tornados, wind shear, and dangerously strong winds with rotating and intense thunderstorms."
After the flight, O'Neal said crew members took a picture because they all survived.
The airline, which merged with United Airlines in 2010 and became United Continental Holdings, said the airline had not yet had the opportunity to review the lawsuit.
Published at 8:15 PM CDT on Oct 12, 2011