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Zhang v. Air China, Ltd.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

April 17, 2012, Decided; April 17, 2012, Filed

No. C 11-06724 SI



Defendant Air China Limited has filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint alleging wrongful death and survival causes of action. Pursuant to Civil Local Rul 7-1(b), the Court has determined that the matter is appropriate for submission without oral argument.


Decedent Wenpei Zhang suffered from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and secondary pulmonary hypertension with chronic hypoxemia. Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") ¶ 11. His medical conditions required that he receive continuous supplementary oxygen. Id.

This case arises from Wenpei Zhang's death on November 5, 2009, which occurred a few days after defendant Air China Limited ("Air China") failed to provide him with an oxygen device that the airline had previously agreed to supply for a short flight from Beijing to Shenyan, China on Air China Flight 1625. Wenpei  [**2] Zhang boarded Air China Flight 1625 on October 24, 2009, shortly after disembarking from a San Francisco, California flight to Beijing, China on United Airlines Flight 889. SAC ¶¶ 26-28. United provided Wenpei Zhang with oxygen service during United Airlines Flight 889. SAC ¶ 26. Plaintiffs have not specifically alleged which air carrier, United or Air China, provided Wenpei Zhang with oxygen service during the waiting period between United Airlines Flight 889 and Air China Flight 1625. See SAC ¶ 17.

Wenpei Zhang's son, plaintiff Lin Zhang, used a $70 receipt to pay for the oxygen service that Air China was to supply on Air China Flight 1625. E.g., ¶ SAC 23. Lin Zhang had received the $70 receipt weeks earlier, when Air China issued it to him at San Francisco International Airport ("SFO") as proof of payment for oxygen service that Air China had agreed to supply during an earlier round of flights — Air China Flight 986 from SFO to Beijing, China and Air China Flight 1653 from Beijing to Shenyang, China. SAC ¶ 14. Air China ultimately canceled Wenpei Zhang's tickets on that earlier round of flights and reimbursed the costs for them, after Wenpei Zhang discovered that Air China Flight  [**3] 986 was not equipped to provide him with the appropriate oxygen service. SAC ¶¶ 14, 17. However, Air China did not reimburse the $70 paid for Wenpei  [*1165]  Zhang's oxygen service on that earlier round of flights. SAC ¶ 17.

After the Air China flight from SFO to Beijing fell through, Lin Zhang purchased a ticket for his father on the United Flight 889 from SFO to Beijing. Lin Zhang then tried to book his father a flight from Beijing to Shenyang on Air China. Id. at ¶ 20. He discovered that a domestic flight could only be booked from California if the ticket was part of an Air China international flight. Id. He then attempted to purchase the Beijing-Shenyang flight through Air China's domestic air travel website,, but discovered the website only allowed domestic - within China - flights to be purchased by a credit card issued in China. Id. at ¶¶ 20, 21. Eventually, Wenpei Zhang's daughter, Ning Zhang, who lives in China but had no Chinese credit card, convinced the husband of a coworker in China to use his China issued credit card on Air China's domestic website to purchase three tickets for the one-hour and fifteen-minute Air China Flight 1625 on October 24, 2009. Id. at ¶¶  [**4] 21, 22, 28, Ex. E. Ning Zhang then reimbursed the coworker's husband for the tickets. Id. at ¶ 22.

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866 F. Supp. 2d 1162 *; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54565 **

LIN ZHANG, NING ZHANG and XUEGIN LIN, Plaintiffs, v. AIR CHINA LIMITED, and DOES 1 through 10, Defendants.


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