S. Binyomin Ginsberg is a rabbi who flies frequently to give lectures.
However, Northwest Airlines dismissed Ginsburg unceremoniously from its WorldPerks frequent flier loyalty program in June of 2008 because he supposedly had the audacity to file 24 complaints within a period of eight months about the airline’s service and sought compensation — prompting him to file a class action lawsuit in January of 2009 seeking five million dollars against the airline in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.
While Ginsburg claimed that the revocation of his membership in the WorldPerks frequent flier loyalty program was arbitrary and without adequate cause, Janis Sammartino — the judge who presided over the legal proceedings — dismissed the case on the grounds that the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 preempted the contract claims of Ginsburg.
Disagreeing with the dismissal of the case, the appellate panel of three judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena unanimously reversed the decision by Sammartino in August of 2011, and cautioned the United States District Court for the Southern District of California that the virtues of deregulation do not trump the common law — paving the way for Ginsburg to continue pursuing legal action against Delta Air Lines, which had since merged with Northwest Airlines…
…and now the lawsuit will be heard by the judges of the highest court in the land, as the Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it will hear the case of Northwest Airlines versus Ginsburg, according to an article authored by Bart Jansen of USA Today.
The case is expected to determine what constitutes the justification of an airline revoking the frequent flier loyalty program membership of a traveler.
Do you believe that Ginsburg might have been doing everything he can to procure as much money and benefits as he can from the airline — or does he have a legitimate claim? Regardless of what the judges of the Supreme Court decide, what could the outcome of this case potentially mean for memberships of frequent flier loyalty programs in the future?