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DL Loses Lawsuit Due To Wx Related Cxld Flight  
User currently offlineJumbojet From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1159 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 7800 times:

A delta flight from LAS to JFK had been cancelled back in February of this year due to anticipated bad weather in NY and Delta rebooked this particular traveler on a redeye through Boston and then onto JFK. The passenger noted to the Delta CSA at LAS that other airlines flights hadnt been cancelled and were leaving on time, so the passenger asked for a refund so that he can book on another airline to get back home. Delta refused the refund since it was wx related so the passenger bought a ticket on B6 for a cost of $938.00, departed on schedule and made it home on schdule.

basically, the long and short of this story is that the passenger later sued Delta for the cost of the B6 ticket and won due to the fact that DL lawyers did not show up in court. the passenger won by default and eventually negotiated a settlement from Delta for $$838.00 so that he can receive an immediate payment.

This is a very interesting case on many levels. The most glaring and obvious is that anyone can file a lawsuit against an airline for a similar reason and if the airlines lawyers dont show up then the plaintiff will win. Is there any airline that will spend the time and money necessary to defend a case thats worth only $938.00?

this is certainly not a bash on Delta Air Lines. Although this is the first time I have read of something like this happening, after thinking about it for some time i am sure this happens many, many times to many, many airlines.

Below is a link to the full story.



http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/04/maga...ne/demos_airline.fortune/index.htm

47 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRL757PVD From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4662 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 7740 times:



Quoting Jumbojet (Thread starter):
This is a very interesting case on many levels. The most glaring and obvious is that anyone can file a lawsuit against an airline for a similar reason and if the airlines lawyers dont show up then the plaintiff will win. Is there any airline that will spend the time and money necessary to defend a case thats worth only $938.00?

for Delta its probably cheaper to not fight it. This only works if you have a lawyer who will work for free or if you are a lawyer yourself

when you pay $1,500 for a lawyer to get a $900 voucher you dont really "win"



Experience is what you get when what you thought would work out didn't!
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21511 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 7702 times:



Quoting Jumbojet (Thread starter):
basically, the long and short of this story is that the passenger later sued Delta for the cost of the B6 ticket and won due to the fact that DL lawyers did not show up in court. the passenger won by default and eventually negotiated a settlement from Delta for $$838.00 so that he can receive an immediate payment.

And they should have paid. Wx or no, if you rebook a passenger ahead of time, you should offer that pax an opportunity to cancel and get a refund. It's not rocket science.

Quoting Jumbojet (Thread starter):
This is a very interesting case on many levels. The most glaring and obvious is that anyone can file a lawsuit against an airline for a similar reason and if the airlines lawyers dont show up then the plaintiff will win. Is there any airline that will spend the time and money necessary to defend a case thats worth only $938.00?

If you have time on your hands, you can sue just about any large company for a few hundred dollars and they very likely won't show up in court. Lawyer fees are too high, and default judgment is not an admission of guilt.

There are people who make a cottage industry out of filing small suits like this.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8486 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7635 times:

Good! Airlines ofdten tell lies about wx-related because it saves them money. It is time to take them to court if they keep doing that. I have said this several times on a.net (under one screen name or another). Airlines do lie about this. (You can "source??" me all you want.)

Given the proper data on this, a class action lawsuit on this could collect 10s or 100s of millions of dollars in restitution. Maybe more.


User currently offlineDLRESAGNT From Canada, joined Aug 2008, 27 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7582 times:

I don't know all the facts, but I say we should have just refunded the ticket wx or not. But then what do I know.  Wink

User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21511 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7543 times:



Quoting DLRESAGNT (Reply 4):
I don't know all the facts, but I say we should have just refunded the ticket wx or not. But then what do I know.

It's one thing if the weather is current. But any time an airline makes a move about the future (more than 4 hours in advance) they should be required to offer a refund. After all, it's not likely the customer is going to profit in this way. The last minute fare option at a different carrier is going to cost more, and all the customer would be entitled to is the remaining fare with the original carrier. It would be the customers choice to pay more to get home now, or take the change and save money.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2821 posts, RR: 45
Reply 6, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7534 times:



Quoting Flighty (Reply 3):
od! Airlines ofdten tell lies about wx-related because it saves them money. It is time to take them to court if they keep doing that. I have said this several times on a.net (under one screen name or another). Airlines do lie about this.

Where is your evidence that Delta lied?


User currently offlineJumbojet From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7497 times:



Quoting RL757PVD (Reply 1):
when you pay $1,500 for a lawyer to get a $900 voucher you dont really "win"

You DO NOT need a lawyer to sue. You need $15.00 bucks for the paperwork and you can represent yourself. If you open the link and read the article it mentions that it cost the plaintiff $15.00 for the paperwork and 4 hours out of his day.


User currently offlineAcNDTTech From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 338 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7420 times:



Quoting Jumbojet (Reply 7):
You DO NOT need a lawyer to sue

The great thing about small claims court. The bad thing though, too many people abuse the small claims court system. It should be a venue used when/where all else fails. I agree that the pax was owed a refund and did the right thing since all other options failed to meet his needs.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8486 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7303 times:



Quoting PGNCS (Reply 6):
Where is your evidence that Delta lied?

One piece of evidence is Delta did not show up do defend their reputation and honor (which is worth more than $900). Delta may or may not have "lied" more liked "refused a refund to which it was contractually bound."

In many other cases a flight will cancel due to "weather" which shields an airline from hotel and rebook expenses. It is an excuse they lean on because in the contract it annuls their obligation to the customer for more normal delays (broken planes, late crew, air congestion) for which airlines do take responsibility, if pressed. Here they were pressed and it worked.

You could do a simple cross-reference of multiple carriers, where some cancel for weather and some still operate. You would see that many of those "wx cancels" were not wx at all, and never were up the line either. A tricky investigation but it could be done.


User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21511 posts, RR: 60
Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 7122 times:



Quoting Jumbojet (Reply 7):
If you open the link and read the article it mentions that it cost the plaintiff $15.00 for the paperwork and 4 hours out of his day.

Yep, for small amount, all you need is the time and the will.

Again, you can make a business out of suing every large corporation you deal with every day for $200-$800 a pop.

But people are greedy and usually sue for thousands of dollars to "punish" the airline. Those amounts require a defense....



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21511 posts, RR: 60
Reply 11, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 7114 times:



Quoting Flighty (Reply 9):
One piece of evidence is Delta did not show up do defend their reputation and honor

But a default judgment is not evidence nor an admission of fault. It just means you didn't show up and the judge sides with the party who does show up.

It is not worth the money to defend a very small suit. There is no loss of reputation.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineADXMatt From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 950 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6871 times:

If Delta "Cancelled" the flight for which the customer had a confirmed ticket they should have offered a refund of the remaining coupon value.

Delta offered alternate transportation which was good but if not acceptable to the customer then a refund should be given.

It shouldn't matter why the flight cancelled. Delta may not want to rebook the customer on another airline due to weather cancel since they can protect the customer on-line. But a refund should be given if requested when the fllight had been cancelled.

I know Continental will give a refund if the flight is cancelled.


User currently offlineFanoftristars From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1607 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6844 times:

So if the FAA asks for voluntary cancellations to thin out the schedule because of anticipated weather, is it really Delta's fault for canceling?

Having said that, I was in a similar situation when AA canceled a flight due to weather at DFW, while Delta's flight into DFW was "on time". I missed my connection in DFW and was able to get a refund (after great persistence with the agent) for the portion of the flight not flown. I rented a car and drove the rest of the way that evening.

I could see Delta standing firm if it was just a few hours, but their solution wasn't a good alternative, and they should have been more customer friendly and refunded, even if they're not required by law. The only reason why they shouldn't is if the guy was being a total jerk about the cancellation. I'd follow the letter of the law as an agent if the guy was being a jerk...lol



"FLY DELTA JETS"
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19559 posts, RR: 58
Reply 14, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 6772 times:



Quoting Jumbojet (Thread starter):
A delta flight from LAS to JFK had been cancelled back in February of this year due to anticipated bad weather in NY and Delta rebooked this particular traveler on a redeye through Boston and then onto JFK. The passenger noted to the Delta CSA at LAS that other airlines flights hadnt been cancelled and were leaving on time, so the passenger asked for a refund so that he can book on another airline to get back home. Delta refused the refund since it was wx related so the passenger bought a ticket on B6 for a cost of $938.00, departed on schedule and made it home on schdule.

And so how was DL having wx issues at JFK and B6 wasn't? Do they fly to different JFKs?

AA once delayed a flight of mine, then switched the equipment due to an engine fault. The official reason for the switch? "Wx." Right. Because "weather" usually causes them to open the #1 engine on a 767, look puzzled at it, and then re-book everyone on a 757.

So it appears that in this DL's cancellation can't have been wx-related if everyone else was running on-time (and into JFK that's no small feat). So it appears that he sued because 1) the airline lied and 2) because the airline refused to refund his ticket when they tried to rebook.

And it's time that airlines be held accountable to their customers. Claiming it's wx when it isn't is fraud. And it should be dealt with as the crime that it is.


User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13554 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6639 times:
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Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
And so how was DL having wx issues at JFK and B6 wasn't? Do they fly to different JFKs?

No, but it's quite possible the DL aircraft inbound to LAS was coming from someplace where WX was a factor while the B6 inbound aircraft to LAS wasn't.

Point being, even though there's no WX affecting the origin or destination of your particular flight, WX elsewhere can still cancel it if it means the equipment can't get there.



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineAFGMEL From Australia, joined Jul 2007, 744 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 6191 times:



Quoting RL757PVD (Reply 1):

when you pay $1,500 for a lawyer to get a $900 voucher you dont really "win

I would have thought that you could go for costs as well. Reasonable and justifiable costs mind you. Certainly your lawyers fees, filing fees, even possibly a day's pay as well.



B 727-44/200 732/3/4/8/9 767-3 742/3/4, 772/3, A319/20/21 332/333 342/3 , DC3/4/10, F28/50/100, ATR72
User currently offlineTVNWZ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 2372 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 6107 times:



Quoting RL757PVD (Reply 1):
for Delta its probably cheaper to not fight it. This only works if you have a lawyer who will work for free or if you are a lawyer yourself

when you pay $1,500 for a lawyer to get a $900 voucher you dont really "win"

It is small claims court. No lawyers. A DL representative did not show up.

Quoting AcNDTTech (Reply 8):
The great thing about small claims court. The bad thing though, too many people abuse the small claims court system. It should be a venue used when/where all else fails. I agree that the pax was owed a refund and did the right thing since all other options failed to meet his needs.

Nope. Small Claims courts exist precisely for this type of litigation. In fact, if you stand around any courthouse in the US you will see that most of the cases are small like this.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 6068 times:

Quoting Fanoftristars (Reply 13):
So if the FAA asks for voluntary cancellations to thin out the schedule because of anticipated weather, is it really Delta's fault for canceling?

I'm glad somebody mentioned this (you beat me to it) as it demonstrates the no-win situation that airlines can sometimes be in.

If you thin-out your flights with selective cancellations to help reduce the overall demand on JFK due to anticipated weather, you're lying because Brand-X didn't (for whatever reason) cancel one/some/all of theirs.

If you don't thin-out your flights and run a normal schedule, and the weather hits (with the usual side effects of waiting long periods to get to a gate due departing aircraft needing to de-ice, etc.) then folks get ready to riot.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't....

[Edited 2008-09-05 21:19:10]

User currently offlineCoolfish1103 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 404 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 6068 times:

Airlines deserve to be sued when they use weather as the excuse when it really isn't.
Passengers just need to learn how to protect their rights by understanding more law. Law isn't there to protect the weak, it's protecting the people who knows it by heart.


User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4627 posts, RR: 36
Reply 20, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 6007 times:

What shocked me about this is that the passenger actually sued Delta for just $938 instead of $938 million.

Nice to see somebody sueing for what they were actually hit with themselves, and not just going for a cash grab.



Word
User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5154 posts, RR: 22
Reply 21, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 5956 times:

A default judgment is only the beginning. DL had plenty of legal recourse, if it wanted it, after the default judgment. A default can be "reopened" in the proper circumstances if DL really wanted to. In the end, just like an insurance claim, DL negotiated a settlement and went on its way.

Fact is, cancellation for weather is an art, not a science. Remember when B6 DIDN'T CANCEL flights in JFK due to snow one year, and ended up with its reputation almost destroyed. DL also cancels flights into LGA due to weather on a regular basis when FL doesn't. One reason is that FL crews routinely do a turn ATL-LGA-ATL, whereas some DL crews are coming from NY bases. When the weather gets bad, it gets more difficult to crew those flights with NYC based crews. Bottom line is that the airline gets to make a judgment as to what is best for its operation when inclement weather is present, and that's in the contract of carriage. DL most likely would have won this case if it had bothered to go to court, but it wasn't worth it, or it made a mistake and didn't want to spend the money to reopen the default. Some lawyer tries to bring a class action -- I assure you the response will be different.

PS This dude's obnoxious action in publicizing the matter probably means that nobody will get settlements in the future without agreeing to confidentiality. Thanks, pal. And if Delta had wanted to be obnoxious, it could have just said, "Screw you, we're not paying," and left this guy to try to *collect* the judgment, which is a far more laborious, complex, expensive and time-consuming process, even against a solvent public company like DL.

[Edited 2008-09-05 21:16:57]

User currently offlineThenoflyzone From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 2431 posts, RR: 11
Reply 22, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 5615 times:



Quoting RL757PVD (Reply 1):
This only works if you have a lawyer who will work for free

Just like jumbojet said, you don't need a lawyer, you can represent yourself.

Thenoflyzone



us Air Traffic Controllers have a good record, we haven't left one up there yet !!
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21564 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 5562 times:



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
AA once delayed a flight of mine, then switched the equipment due to an engine fault. The official reason for the switch? "Wx." Right. Because "weather" usually causes them to open the #1 engine on a 767, look puzzled at it, and then re-book everyone on a 757.

To be fair, you can systems that are inoperative if you're not forecasting any part of adverse weather. If there was some problem with the anti-ice system, you could possibly go with it as long as you weren't forecast to encounter any ice. But if you do have ice enroute, you couldn't. Is it a maintenance delay or a weather delay? You could argue it either way - the plane was broken, but if the weather hadn't been bad the flight could have been operated on time.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineFrmrCAPCADET From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1714 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 5494 times:

So why don't legacies adopt something like the SW refund plan. It becomes a 'no big deal'. Everyone is happy, no one is out anything. No one gives it a second thought. Refusing a refund in this situation is another case of 'the customer is the enemy'.


Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
25 Wukka : I usually appreciate your input and your consideration of the situation(s), but here it sounds like the crap from an ambulance chaser. I really respe
26 Pliersinsight : If you don't take an appeal or move to strike/open it within he time period allowed, I might beg to differ. And creating a taxable event for the pers
27 Par13del : In which case it becomes a specific airline operational issue and a pax getting a refund or having his ticket endorsed over to another carrier withou
28 Mayor : I wonder how often a DL representative shows up and actually makes a difference in the outcome? Case in point......several years ago, when I worked DL
29 Cubsrule : ...which creates an incentive for carriers to operate flights when it might be more prudent not to. Why do we want to do that? How do we know whether
30 Jumbojet : well, one thing I know for sure now, next time I am on a flight that is cxld for whatever reason and the airline in question refuses to issue a refund
31 CV880 : I salute him. If other carriers were flying the same route at the same time, it would have been in the best interest of customer service to refund/re
32 Par13del : Why would pax care if a airline wants to waste their money, I think you bring something to the discussion which does not relate to this incident. The
33 Post contains links Cubsrule : Where is there waste of money? I don't believe DL was under any obligation to offer transportation on another carrier. See Rule 240(C)(1) of their co
34 Post contains links ADXMatt : From the Delta.com website. http://www.delta.com/legal/index.jsp#delay Liability for Delay or Cancellation We will exercise reasonable efforts to carr
35 Wjcandee : Sorry, Matt, the contract you quoted plainly entitles DL to put him on the DELTA flight(s) through Boston that they put him on, at their discretion. M
36 ADXMatt : Weather is beyond Delta's control and therefore a refund can be obtained. Delta can offer alternate flights to keep the customer. Long and short Delt
37 Wjcandee : Actually, that's not how I read that language. It says that if they can't help it (beyond their control) the *only* liability they have to you is to
38 Ptugarin : I disagree - companies of this size tend to have staff lawyers, and obviously, it wouldn't have cost Delta anything to fly their lawyer over to where
39 TVNWZ : It was Small Claims Court. No lawyers allowed. And no precedent is set.
40 Cubsrule : The language is ambiguous. Say DL (legitimately) cancels a flight for w/x and refuses to refund the ticket, instead offering to transport the passeng
41 EA CO AS : Agreed. I'm just addressing the "Do they fly to DIFFERENT JFKs?" comment from someone who hadn't considered why one carrier might have a WX delay whe
42 Wjcandee : You can say it's ambiguous, but just because you can come up with some strained alternative reading doesn't make it ambiguous. Studying to be a crimi
43 Cubsrule : The reading isn't strained. The contract says in essence (and I'm paraphrasing for the sake of clarity here) "we shall not have any liability EXCEPT
44 Wjcandee : I have enjoyed this back-and-forth. One thing, though, is that this was a default judgment, so there really wasn't much "deciding", other than I assu
45 Cubsrule : Same here Thanks; I've spent so much time in this hypothetical world we've constructed that I completely forgot that DL didn't contest the original s
46 Brilondon : The same contract also says that airlines are not responsible if the cause is weather related. It is in the fine print which from my latest ticket is
47 Viaggiare : Amen. Enough abuse already. People shouldn't let 'em get away with that shiat.
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