Was NWA WorldPerks Meshugana For Tossing Kvetching Rabbi?

Passengers complain about airlines, even devoutly loyal airline passengers at times complain about their airline of choice … but what happens when one passenger complains non-stop? In the case of Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg, a former Northwest Airlines WorldPerks Platinum Elite, the airline may have revoked his membership on the 27th of June 2008 because he complained to frequently about the airline’s services.

 

Rabbi Ginsberg, a Northwest WorldPerks member since 1999 and Platinum Elite from 2005 to the time of his membership revocation in 2008, has now filed suit against Northwest Inc, as a wholly own subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.   Rabbi Ginsberg’s case reached the Appeals Court after his original lawsuit in January 2009 for Breach of Contract, Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Negligent Misrepresentation and Intentional Misrepresentation, was dismissed by the U.S. District Court of Minnesota with prejudice, barring him from refiling his suit against the airline. Some of the reasons cited for the dismissal including Rabbi Ginsberg’s complaints being preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 due to complaints being “relate[d] to airline prices and services” and failure to demonstrate a material breach of contract.

 

Northwest Airlines’ defense was simple … the airline exercised its “sole judgment,” as outlined in the WorldPerks General Terms and Conditions to determine whether or not a passenger had abused the program, and if that abuse of the program warranted the “cancellation of the member’s account and future disqualification from program participation, forfeiture of all mileage accrued and cancellation of previously issued but unused awards. “

 

Now Rabbi Ginsberg is appealing his case because he believes the District Court’s conclusion that the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 does not preempt his claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

 

This should be an interesting case between Rabbi Ginsberg and Delta Air Lines, who merged with Northwest Airlines on the 31st of January 2010 … however one question remains….

… if Rabbi Ginsberg was so unhappy with Northwest Airlines, causing him to constantly complain about the airline and its frequent flyer program, why did he continue to fly Northwest so loyally that he achieved top tier WorldPerks Platinum Elite status for multiple consecutive years?

 

Happy Flying!

Comments

  1. Reading your last question, my first thought was, “He must be from Minneapolis.” I was right. I used to live there, and Northwest (now Delta) has a near-monopoly at MSP; it’s difficult to avoid them. A sufficiently motivated person who was willing to fly at odd times and make multiple connections could probably manage a boycott, but most Twin Citians just suck it up, fly Northwest and grumble about it.

  2. Elizabeth,

    There are and were other flight options from MSP. I know of a number of MSP people who chose to fly United and American, flying MSP-ORD then onward. When I spent a year commuting out of the Bay Area roughly three times a week, United was the obvious choice, but I chose to fly Delta because I preferred them at the time.

    If you hate an airline (and I didn’t hate UA, I just preferred DL), you find an option that works rather than being so miserable.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  3. Mordy,

    As I just replied to Elizabeth, there were and continue to be other options from MSP. While NWA dominated MSP, other airlines offered one-stop connections out of MSP providing comprehensive access to not only the US, but the world.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

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