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Frequent Flying Rabbi Denied His Due Rewards Because He Complained too Much
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How arbitrary that Northwest airlines are going to revoke the miles of a membership of one of their most avid customers, one Rabbi S Binyomin Ginsberg, and this on account that he “complained too much.” They owe him rewards for the 75 flights he took a year regarding conferences on education and administration, and the company is arbitrarily saying they have the right to revoke the rewards of their high-mileage customers on their “sole judgment” — or caprice of whim.

So the Rabbi complained about his luggage being mishandled? Is that a reason to cut him off from the rewards he earned under their incentive program?


“It sounds to me like I go in to, you know, get a ticket, my reasonable expectations is they’re not going to charge me what they’re going to charge, you know.  I mean it’s unbelievable,” said Justice Stephen Breyer, who was reviewing Ginsberg’s case and said the Rabbi could sue over the prices. “That might be a great idea, but I don’t think that’s the idea behind this act.”

The idea the Rabbi wishes to oppose is that Norwest and Delta, after their merger, can rescind rewards to customers arbitrarily. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco gave Ginsberg the go-ahead to sue under state laws that require parties to act in good faith on their contracts, as the Associated Press reported.

Justice Elena Kegan agreed that the airlines were arbitrary, saying, “I don’t think that I’d be spending all this time in the air on your place. You know, I’d find another company that actually gave me the free ticket.

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Paul Clement, the Washington lawyer representing Northwest, used this to insinuate that the market should handle this.

“So if some airline really were crazy enough to systematically turn on its most lucrative and loyal customers, surely, the market would solve that,” he said in over-stated language. “And, of course, if a bunch of airlines did it, the Department of Transportation stands ready to police that.” His use of the words “surely” and “of course” belie the flimsiness of his argument, and when a decision is made by late next June, it is not at all clear that Northwest will come out flying.



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