The Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli is suing an air charter firm that specializes in luxury jet service, alleging the company provided him an older, noisier airplane than agreed upon during a portion of a U.S. tour last year.
The lawsuit filed in September by Bocelli, 64, in federal court in New Hampshire also says Private Jet Services of Seabrook violated the terms of its contract when the crew on one flight announced that Bocelli and his party should expect a bumpy ride before landing on a flight from California to Cleveland.
In the lawsuit, Bocelli, a tenor who performs around the world, is asking for treble damages of the refund of the $569,800 he paid for 15 flights, the amount he paid for alternative flight arrangements, lawyers fees and damages.
A representative of the company did not return a phone message and email sent on Wednesday.
The lawsuit says that Bocelli’s representative contracted with the company to fly him around the United States during a concert tour in November and December of last year.
The specifications included the acceptable model and year of manufacture of the jet that “ideally should not be ‘older’ than 4 years,” as well as requirements for on-board services.
“He is also not a very keen flyer, as he has fear of flying and can feel anxiety related to safety issues during air travel,” said the suit filed by Portsmouth Attorney Michele Kenney. “In particular, he is sensitive to the elevated noise that an older airplane tends to make in flight, with such elevated noise causing him more anxiety.”
Every time Bocelli charters a jet, the commander is instructed not to make any on-board announcements about weather conditions and should make not mention air turbulence, “all to avoid causing undue anxiety to Mr. Bocelli,” the suit says.
The suit says Professional Jet Services agreed to the requirements including the use of the Falcon 2000LX for shorter flights within the United States and a different aircraft for transatlantic flights.
But the final “statement or work” excluded the terms of the proposal that identified the specific aircraft and, in small print, “that stated, among other things, an aircraft type to which the parties had not agreed — the Falcon 2000, rather than the Falcon 2000LX.”
During a Dec. 2 flight from Santa Ana, California, to Cleveland, the company provided a Falcon 2000 that was manufactured in 1996. And, the flight attendant announced that they should expect a bumpy ride before landing. Riding in the older plane and hearing the announcement “caused him to be anxious and to fear for his safety during the last 20 minutes of the flight,” the lawsuit says.
The suit says the company apologized for the incorrect aircraft and the crew’s mistake, but a company representative said they were unable to find an acceptable aircraft for the final five tour dates. The lawsuit does not say if the company provided the correct aircraft for any portion of the tour.
The company then canceled the flights for the final dates and did not provide a refund, forcing Bocelli to charter new flights with another company that cost him more than $300,000, the suit says.