Woman Sues Continental over Flight Turbulence

A Texas woman said turbulence from an October 2009 flight gave her post-traumatic stress disorder

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 05: A Continental Airlines Boeing 737-724 jet takes off from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on June 5, 2008 n Los Angeles, California. The US air carrier has announced that it will cut 3,000 jobs, drop 67 of its less fuel-efficient jets, and reduce services to cope with skyrocketing fuel costs which the company describes as the worst crisis in the air travel industry since the travel slump that followed the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. With fuel prices about 75 percent higher than a year ago, Continental will dump its Boeing 737-300 aircraft fleet for new fuel-efficient Boeing 737-800s and 737-900ERs. The announcement comes a day after United Airlines said it is grounding 20 percent of its fleet, or about 100 jets, and eliminating up to 1,100 jobs because of the fuel cost crunch. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    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.