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Can A Upset Passenger Sue An Airline For Damages  
User currently offlineLegacytravel From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1067 posts, RR: 2
Posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2840 times:

This might be a stupid question. I have a client that had tickets from MKE to MCO in April. The flight was canceled due to a MX issue. They were given a hotel pass and tickets the following morning from MKE to PHL on YX and then from PHL to MCO on US. When he got to the hotel they had no rooms available so he went to a different hotel and paid out of pocket.
The following morning he flew to PHL and then found out he was a STANDBY passenger!!. US had no seats to MCO until MON this is SAT. My client then took seats to Fort Myers and rented a car drove 3 hours back to MCO, He lost a night in MCO and had incurred drop charges on the car of some $440. He did make his cruise thankfully.
All this being said NWA offered only a $150 pp voucher good for future travel. They did not want to pay for his hotel in MKE or the additional charges for the car rental.
He is sueing NWA in small claims court the papers will be filed this week.
My question is can he do this?? If so and he is succesful and gets a judgement how does he collect his monies owed him.
Can he impound equipment from NWA to offset his loss of monies??


I love the smell of Jet fuel in the Morning
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirlinelover From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 5580 posts, RR: 23
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2774 times:

Quoting Legacytravel (Thread starter):
This might be a stupid question.

You're absolutely hilarious..

Quoting Legacytravel (Thread starter):
My question is can he do this??

Yes, he CAN do this..

Quoting Legacytravel (Thread starter):
If so and he is succesful and gets a judgement how does he collect his monies owed him.

Ask the court, if he wins.. which he probably won't..

Quoting Legacytravel (Thread starter):

Can he impound equipment from NWA to offset his loss of monies??

Ya know, I needed a great laugh tonite.. THAT was worth reading for the laugh. .IMPOUND EQUIPMENT? I doubt his losses were anything substantial... What the hell could he possibly impound from NW? Riiiiiiiiight...

Quoting Legacytravel (Thread starter):
I have a client that had tickets from MKE to MCO in April. The flight was canceled due to a MX issue. They were given a hotel pass and tickets the following morning from MKE to PHL on YX and then from PHL to MCO on US. When he got to the hotel they had no rooms available so he went to a different hotel and paid out of pocket.

This just does not add up.. I've had MX issues with NW in the past, and they BOOK YOU into the hotel.. Not just a freakin VOUCHER.. Plus, if there was an issue with the hotel supposedly being full, why didn't he hit the airport again demanding to know where he was supposed to stay??

Plus, this was in APRIL!! it's now SEPTEMBER..

You need to drop this "Client" cause it seems he's a couple sandwiches short of a picnic.....


Chris



Lets do some sexy math. We add you, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply
User currently offlineLegacytravel From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1067 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2752 times:

Quoting Airlinelover (Reply 1):
What the hell could he possibly impound from NW? Riiiiiiiiight...

A DC-9  Smile

Quoting Airlinelover (Reply 1):
this was in APRIL!! it's now SEPTEMBER

I discussed this with the airline right away.

Quoting Airlinelover (Reply 1):
I've had MX issues with NW in the past, and they BOOK YOU into the hotel

Not in MKE. They did the same to my mom and dad. I was right next to them when they were given the slip of paper for the hotel. It is your responsibility to ge the they did not do it for you.

Quoting Airlinelover (Reply 1):
You need to drop this "Client" cause it seems he's a couple sandwiches short of a picnic.....

He does not travel at all. He is not a travel savvy person. He put his trust in somone that gave him the wrong information.

Mark in MKE



I love the smell of Jet fuel in the Morning
User currently offlineGOAQ From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 32 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2706 times:

Another one bites the dust. This one will fly out the window before the wind catches hold of it.

But good luck.

hahahahahahahahahahahahaha


User currently offlineTommyBoy From United States of America, joined May 2000, 153 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2693 times:

Another typical sue happy American...I'm so proud....

User currently offlineFLY2LIM From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1184 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2691 times:

Quoting Airlinelover (Reply 1):
Quoting Legacytravel (Thread starter):
My question is can he do this??

Yes, he CAN do this..

Quoting Legacytravel (Thread starter):
If so and he is succesful and gets a judgement how does he collect his monies owed him.

Ask the court, if he wins.. which he probably won't..

Now, wait a minute. I don't know how it works, exactly, but if the "defendant" does not show up, I believe he wins. NWA is not going to send a corporate attorney (at about $500 per hour) to defend a small claims case, which are typically under $5000. So, he could possibly win and continue suing until NWA has to respond or pay up. Any attorneys out there?

Quoting Legacytravel (Reply 2):
He does not travel at all. He is not a travel savvy person. He put his trust in somone that gave him the wrong information.

Not to be sarcastic, but maybe he needs a different travel agent???

FLY2LIM



Faucett. La primera linea aerea del Peru.
User currently offlineLegacytravel From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1067 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2665 times:

Quoting FLY2LIM (Reply 5):
Not to be sarcastic, but maybe he needs a different travel agent???

Well since that would be me I am not so sure he should. I tried to get NWA to pay for his extra expenses. He wanted a $200 p.p. voucher and his hotel room paid for and the extra expense related to the car rental paid for. He does not want a penny more than what he spent in regards to this mistake of NWA.
NWA offered $150 pp and that was it. I told him what the offer was and he said no. I dont know why he would need a different travel agent. I did not reacommidate him, NWA call center did it. If it would have been up to me He would have flown UA all the way.
Mark in MKE



I love the smell of Jet fuel in the Morning
User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8226 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2644 times:

It generally costs under $50 to file a claim in small claims court - I understand that it is $35 in OK. For that the guy is going to get some satisfaction, even if it is only making the airline respond.

As for NW, if they do business in the state then they will pay the amount the court establishes - it costs too much not to. Maybe they will tell their local people to take better care of the pax, but that is as far as it will go.


User currently offlineSonOfACaptain From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1747 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2636 times:

You could sue an airline for damages or "damages". Take for instance, my dads first year with US, flying the 732, he, the captain, and US were sued because the pilots "purposely" flew into turbulence and hurt his back. The sad part about the story....US didn't want to go to court so they this moron the mone.

-SOAC



Non Illegitimi Carborundum
User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 9, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2624 times:

The question asked is really not the right question. Of course one can sue. It's a right. If the suit is frivilous, it may or may not be quickly dismissed by a judge.

The right questions are: Can the complainant win? Can the complaintant get a settlement?


User currently offlineJetdeltamsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2987 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2603 times:

No airline guarantees the schedule. All airlines endeavor to operate precisely on schedule. But in the fine print of the Contract of Carriage, is it very specific that the schedule is not guaranteed.

Therefore any loss you incur are your own.

You won't get a dime.

Sorry.

Maybe take your business elsewhere.

[Edited 2005-09-08 07:33:51]


Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
User currently offline777STL From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3619 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2575 times:

Quoting Legacytravel (Thread starter):
Can he impound equipment from NWA to offset his loss of monies??

So what's he going to do, impound a 747 in restitution for his $440? Tell me you weren't serious, please, no seriously, please tell me you weren't serious. You're riot, without looking at your profile I'm going to guess you are 15 years of age or so? Obviously not old enough to know how the real world works.

Use your head and think about that for a second, why in the world would they let you impound equipment for $440 FREAKING DOLLARS!?!?!? Nevermind the fact it's freaking small claims court!!!!!



PHX based
User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 12, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2571 times:

While I'm not at all certain whether a suit is really the best way to do this, the behavior shown by NW in this case is, at best, sub-par.

If they reaccomodate him on another flight, it is their - not the passenger's - responsibility to ensure the passenger gets to where he's going. If, because of their actions, the passenger incurrs further expenses then, yes, they must pay for those (at least they'd have to if the whole flight had started over here; have, with several clients, gone through the same thing and, each and every time, the airlines paid up fully accepting their responsibility - and not trying to weasel out of it).

This clearly is a lawsuit that NW could have prevented very easily; they messed up, they should pay up.

Quoting FLY2LIM (Reply 5):
Not to be sarcastic, but maybe he needs a different travel agent???

Are you the type of person that buys a new refrigerator when his car breaks down? Because that's about the same thing as changing your travel agent when an airline messes up...

Regards,
Frank



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineLaxintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25166 posts, RR: 48
Reply 13, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2572 times:

From having been on the airlines end for several such cases let me say this.

Can the passenger sue the NWA? Sure its a free country.

In my opinion would he likely to get a judgment in his favor: NO

If NW contest this they will likely bring several point forward.

1 - Like mentioned in a previous post, schedules are not guaranteed. If you had to be in MCO by 12 noon to collect a million dollars, the airline would not be liable for you having lost out on that million if they happen to deliver you late.
See the contract of carriage.
2 - Once the passenger came to the hotel that was sold out, instead of him taking it upon himself to locate alternate accommodations on his own, he should have returned back to NW and gotten a voucher for another hotel that hopefully had space.
3 - Same with the flights which NW booked for him on YX/US. I am nearly 100% certain these would have been firm bookings. Upon check in if YX/US put him on stand by as for instance all the seats had already been assigned in advance then now he was in a standby/oversale situation at the doing of YX/US, not NWA.
The only way I could see NWA putting a passenger on standby on a another airline is if the customer did not like the carriers own available transportation (could be next day or even longer) and insisted on getting on any flight anyway to MCO. If that is the case NW could endorse the ticket to any airline and the passenger could go and try his luck on his own.
4 - Why should NWA be responsible for your client changing destinations while under the care of another airline and deciding to rent a car.

It certainly seems your client did go thru a difficult time trying to get to Florida. However I would contend NWA's responsibility ended when they endorsed/FIM'ed your client to YX/US and gave him a hotel voucher. Your client never went back to NW to deal with the hotel problems and the YX/US seem to be more issues with those airlines then NWA. For all they knew this person walked away from the ticket counter all set.
NWA offer for $150 is more then generous IMO. Its a goodwill gesture that probably goes beyond NWA responsability in this case.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineBaw716 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2028 posts, RR: 27
Reply 14, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 2520 times:

LAXintl is dead right on.

The problem is, small claims judges don't apply the law. They do what they want. If they feel the guy got screwed, they'll stick it to the airline, no matter what. Then the airline has to appeal and to go Superior Court, where they have to apply the law and in most cases, you get half your money back.

The unfortunate thing about our industry is that we have a set of laws and contracts which are cast in stone, but are, in reality, unenforceable.

I have gone to court on many small claims cases for AZ in which I had the customer cold on facts and the law and lost every single time. Reason, because the customer was wronged. Didn't matter that the law was on my side. By the time we had gone to Superior Court, spent the $2500 for the attorney plus my time, we get half the judgement back, the client still wins and the precedent is set.

Of course, we tried everything possible to settle with the customer for the correct amount of money that they lost, but the client saw an opportunity to stick us for "punitive damages" wrapped up in "compensatory damages" and they got away with it every single time. The last time I lost I wanted to take a bat and hit the judge over the head and say "Can you f===ing read?" The Warsaw Convention, our own tariff and the contract of carriage which states in several places not the least of which on the PASSENGERS' TICKET states that the passenger is entitled to not more than $20.00 per kilo of checked luggage up to the amount actually checked, excluding items which are not permitted in checked luggage. The fact that they lost credit cards, jewelry, cameras, etc. was not material. We paid them 30kg x $20. ($640), they sued us for $5000 and the judge gave them the $5000.

We got half back in the appeal, but it cost us $5000 to appeal it. The point was to get the judgement overturned and we could not get it overturned.
The judge in superior court still disregarded the law and gave them $2500 when they were only entitled to $640.

Baggage cases are a non starter if you are an airline. You just get your checkbook out and write a check. If you end up in court, you will just end up paying more money. Appealing a verdict will cost you more and you will still likely lose. The reality is that these judges do not like airline cases. They will side with the consumer every time.

It's the American way, if you don't like the result, sue the bastards.
What the hell, you have a 50/50 chance of winning.

Better odds than going to a casino.

baw716



David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
User currently offlineLegacytravel From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1067 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (8 years 11 months 4 weeks ago) and read 2495 times:

Quoting TommyBoy (Reply 4):
Another typical sue happy American...I'm so proud....

I disagree totally he is not looking to get rich and stick the airline. All he wants is his extra expenses back. I have known this man personally for 5 years. He is a hard working man. He despises doing what he is doing. He is also disgusted that NWA could care less about how they screw over their passengers.
I as his travel agent am also disgusted with how they treated my client. So I extract my pound of flesh by not booking clients on NWA. I send them to UA and YX.
Also Tommy Boy until you walk in his shoes dont judge him.



I love the smell of Jet fuel in the Morning
User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2438 times:

Something similar to this happened to AS several years ago. The passenger who filed the small claims suit, found himself named in a countersuit by AS, who claimed no specific damage from the passenger but stated that the court costs would exceed the $1,000 small claims maximum action, which automatically sent the suit to district court, resulting in the passenger having to hire an attorney. In the end, suit was dismissed. Most airlines have junior attorneys on staff to handle these claims, and as junior over zealous attorneys they are eager to complicate the entire process Your client would be wise to seek legal advice from somone prior to filing this suit, which I'm sure you as a professional travel agent have errors & ommission insurance to cover your client for legal fees on claims such as this. After all you were acting as his agent. Therefore to take care of your client, offer him the coverage through your insurance, and let your insurance company deal with NWA for recovery of the damages your client incurred.

[Edited 2005-09-08 12:26:29]

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