apparently some have. And some have sued the airlines. Case heading to the (gasp) US Supreme court.
What I found surprising was the fact that this had got to the Supreme Court level.
The Supreme Court only hears issues that they want to hear, and these are constitutional issues.
The issue being decided really has nothing to do with frequent flyer programs per se. The issue for the court is for them to decide whether these people have a right under state law to bring their case before a state court, or if a law passed in the 1970s that deregulated the airline industry preempts it. The law prohibits parties from bringing similar state claims against airlines related to a "price, route or service" of the carrier.
Yeah, the way I understood it was that the FAA had been given the job of regulating certain aspects of how airlines are run, including their "services" - the question is, do they have any responsibility to regulate frequent flyer programs in cases like this?
The Supreme Court only hears cases they want so they must feel that the underlying issues are important enough they warrant a ruiling. Otherwise they would have declined to hear the case.
Exactly. It's not as if the us is litigious through and through - it's an important issue
A news update on the Court (doesn't look favorable for the plaintiff)
"Most justices signaled they think that ruling for Ginsberg could give rise to state-by-state rules that the deregulation law was intended to prevent."
The final ruling is not expected until June 2014.
yeah, I know, the thing about living in the free world is that everyone can have his day in court.
For me I'm not entirely surprised that this case got to, and was accepted by the High Court..
I guess I can see the points raised on both sides as I keep in mind that at the time of the implementation of what's known as re Deeregulation Act -- in 1978 , the notion of a large scale Frequent Flyer program was in its very, very early infancy with the first real national scale roll out in 1981 by AA..
So, I can see a question being raised that asks "what about this?" as I can see arguments both ways about what a FFP is and is not, and as such who should have not only regulatory jurisdiction over, but also the resulting limitations of judicial purvue for any future litigation..
This is really a case about federal law superseding state law. The frequent flier program expulsion was just the trigger. The Supreme Court is not going to rule to grant/deny the original plaintiff his frequent flier miles. They will decided if his case can proceed in the lower court.
I don't see the SC allowing it to proceed. It could become a nightmare as it could affect just about every airline operation. Say that New York decides to pass a law saying that an airline cannot charge more that $1 per pound for checked baggage. Massachusetts passes a law saying it can't be more that $25 for a bag under 50 pounds. California says it is no more than 5% of the fare paid. How do you ever figure cost for BOS-JFK-LAX? What if the flight diverts to Chicago for a medical emergency and Illinois has disallowed all baggage charges? Can I sue to get the fee I paid in BOS back? Now extend that law making to every complaint you see here time 50 states - on-time departure, cancelled flights, wrong meals, changed seat assignments, rerouting .....
Even if the suit can proceed in state court, or he takes it up in federal court, I still see a loser. FF program contracts are 100% in the airlines favor. They explicitly state you can be terminated for any reason at the sole discretion of the airline. This guy must have pretty deep pockets to have paid for lawyers to get it this far.
Very nice explanation tev9999! Much better than the inaccurate and emotional nonsense in the linked article.
Attorneys probably took the case just for the publicity value and aren't receiving any fee.
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