Airline Merger Scrambles Travel Plans

Passengers Sue Delta, Claiming Lies

Flight Cancellations Decline

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What Kate’s Saying

United/Continental Merger Scrambles Travel Plans

FlyersRights member Scott Bechtel and his family planned a trip to Florida eightContinental Airlinesmonths in advance. Scott reserved four seats for his party as a pair of two-ticket records, which included his wife and parents, on Continental Airlines. He did everything right, and received confirmation for the two sets of tickets and for two pairs of seats across the aisle from each other.

Perfect. The flights were set, and the younger Bechtels would be across the aisle from Scott’s elderly parents.

Then came United Airlines’ takeover of Continental. A seasoned traveler, ScottUAL Logoknew that United might move his seats as they converted the Continental flights to their Economy Plus business model, and he doubted that United would inform him of the change before his family reached the check-in counter.

He was right. Checking his seat assignments once a month, he discovered that the seat assignments had changed-the family was scatter all over the aircraft, with no two seats together. Scott then noticed that United had voided both reservation records and created new records. Not only that, they refused to even allow Scott to view the record until he entered into a binding, non-refundable agreement to accept the new reservations.

Luckily, Scott caught the changes early, and was able to fix the seating arrangements-as he says, “for now.” The lesson we should all learn here is that we all need to be our own advocates. Purchase far in advance of travel doesn’t guarantee a problem-free trip, so it is important to check the trip’s status often and take immediate action to deal with any problems that arise.

Passengers Sue Delta, Claiming Lies

According to the Courthouse News Service, a group of airline passengers has filed a class action suit against Delta Airlines, charging the airline with breach of its own contract of carriage.

Delta Airlines“This is a case of breach of contract,” the complaint states. “Delta Air Lines has a contract with all its passengers to reimburse them up to $3,300 for expenses if their bags are delayed. Delta ignores the contract and often tells passengers they are only entitled to $25.00 to $50.00 in daily expenses. At no point does Delta tell passengers of their rights to up to $3,300.00 in reimbursement. Passengers are left in the dark when their bags are delayed. Passengers want Delta to abide by its contract.”

Lead plaintiff Susan Miller says “Delta is contractually responsible for reimbursing consumers for any direct or consequential damages resulting from Delta’s own misconduct,” including the cost of medication, warm clothing or other essential items in the lost or delayed baggage. “Under the contract, if passengers need warm clothes or medications, etc., they are entitled to buy those and be reimbursed by Delta, not be told that there is a limit for expenses of $25.00 a day.”

FlyersRights agrees. Contracts of carriage, though often presented in mouse-print and always packed with legal-ese, define the airlines’ responsibility to us. They will never hesitate to quote their contract to avoid redressing wrongs to passengers, and we should never hesitate to quote those documents to demand that redress.

>Flight Cancellations Decline

Despite the continuing predictions of pending doom from the airlines and a flawed Government Accountability Office study that claimed our Three-Hour Tarmac Rule was “probably” the cause of this year’s higher cancellation rate in comparison with that of 2010, cheapflights.com reports that “FlightStats says North American cancellations were down measurably for the second straight month.”

November’s results continue a trend begun in October, when FlightStats reportsthat flight cancellations were down as compared to September.

FlyersRights applauds the airlines’ recent performance numbers. Could it be that the Rule has caused the airlines to better manage their schedules?

Flyers Rights Education Fund

Board member Paul Hudson leads a coalition with Ralph Nader and some ofFREF LogoRalph’s friends, matching, dollar for dollar, your contributions to the Flyers Rights Education Fund, our education and service arm. Your contributions are tax-deductible, and this is a great opportunity to really make your dollars count.
In the holiday spirit, please give what your can to Flyers Rights Education Fundand help us increase our airline passenger education and services effort for the coming year.

Want to be a FlyersRights Spokesperson?

Kate will be out of touch for a few days next week, so we need a stand-in. If you would be comfortable with a commitment that could mean only a moment’s notice, and appear in our behalf, and you feel that you know a lot about our organization, please let Kate know, kate@flyersrights.org.

Candidates should be well versed in FlyersRights.org positions and willing to follow our FlyersRights.org guidelines for media spokespeople which Kate will provide upon request.

What Kate’s Saying

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