What Does Aviation Law Cover?

Nearly everything that occurs inside an airplane, at an airport, or within an air traffic control system falls under aviation law. Some issues are more likely to require an aviation lawyer than others so let's take a look at 6 of the biggest concerns.


Incidents involving aircraft crashes are almost always under the domain of aviation law. This includes claims against whichever parties are potentially liable for a crash. Such claims may cover things like damage to property on the ground and injuries to people involved in or near the incident. Wrongful death claims associated with crashes also fit in this category.

In-Flight Incidents

Unruly behavior during flights can cause flight disruptions. Airlines expect folks on flights to conduct themselves in an orderly fashion for the benefit of the crew and passengers. If a fight breaks out on a place, for example, this falls under aviation law to simplify what would otherwise be a complex issue of jurisdiction. Aviation law is largely a branch of federal law, and that makes it easier to determine where a criminal or civil case would be tried.


If you believe you were the victim of discrimination while on a flight or at an airport, you may want to contact an aviation attorney. Federal code prohibits airlines and their employees from discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color, or national origin. Some cases involving physical and mental disabilities may also be discriminatory.

Consumer Complaints

Many sorts of consumer complaints involving airlines fit into aviation law. These include issues involving delays, refunds, ticketing practices, and personal privacy. Baggage problems may also fall under this heading.

Product Liability

A plane or helicopter is a product just like your car is. That means that incidents caused by manufacturing defects or failures are likely to be treated as product liability cases. The overlap with aviation law occurs because the FAA certifies planes for flight. If there are known issues, sufficient warning must be provided to airline operators, pilots, and passengers. Similarly, manufacturers can assert defenses based on the misuse or unauthorized modification of an aircraft.


Companies that fly cargo trips may face liability issues. Any damage that the airline might have reasonably foreseen and prevented might be a cause of a civil action. The plaintiff is allowed to seek recovery of damages amounting to the value of the damaged cargo. Note that some limits on damages may apply under international agreements.

To learn more or to find out if you have a case, contact an aviation lawyer.