Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tired of Service Charges For Frequent Flyer Tickets....Just Sue Them

Annoyed by new fees and rule changes to your airline's frequent-flier program? You're not alone. One man is going so far as to take Continental to court, suing the airline "for raising the number of miles needed to earn a free trip and then charging him $75 to book the flight," The Associated Press writes. The Cleveland Plain Dealer says passenger David Simon's class-action lawsuit alleges Continental "did not honor its frequent flier rewards program. … The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for those who were charged more miles or fees for using the frequent-flier program," according to the Plain Dealer.

Simon says his troubles began in January. That's when he tried to book a frequent-flier award ticket between Los Angeles and Cleveland for 25,000 miles, Continental's minimum level for a free domestic coach-class ticket. Simon says the airline told him some award seats were available, but only if he redeemed 50,000 miles. AP says "Simon eventually found a flight for 25,000 miles on Northwest Airlines, a partner of Houston-based Continental, but (then) was charged $75 because he booked the flight within three weeks of travel."

"There is no justification for the charge, and there is nothing in the fine print authorizing it," says Simon's lawyer, Joel Joseph. AP says the suit "charges Continental with levying an illegal penalty, breach of contract and unjust enrichment." Continental has not commented on the suit.

The suit may have an uphill battle. A quick trip to Continental's website shows that the airline's basic domestic "SaverPass" award is 25,000 miles, but the airline notes those awards have "limited availability" and are "subject to capacity controls." Continental also shows that its "EasyPass" award is available for domestic travel at a cost of 50,000 miles. Still, Continental says that award -– even with the higher mileage threshold -– still is "subject to capacity controls" and adds that "seats may not be available on certain flights where demand is high." Elsewhere on its website, Continental's site shows a $75 fee for frequent-flier tickets booked within 21 days.

For great information on round the world tickets, check out Nomadic Matt's article on rtw tickets

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