2008-09-10

Man Bites Dog — Beats Airline in Dispute Over Canceled Flight!

I don't know if this is much of a personal-finance blog post, but it's too good a consumer story not to mention and link: A Flier Strikes Back (in Fortune magazine).

The article describes our "hero," Mitchell Berns—and his beatdown of Delta Airlines. Delta canceled Berns' direct flight from Las Vegas to New York City and rescheduled him for a redeye that connected through Boston, claiming "snow" as the reason for cancellation. Berns noticed that other airlines were still making the same flight as scheduled. So he asked Delta for a refund. Delta told him that weather-related cancellations were not its fault and could not be refunded. Undaunted, Berns booked a JetBlue flight that was departing at the same time as his canceled Delta flight and got home to New York on schedule.

Berns found out that the National Weather Service report said snow was expected at 5:00 a.m. the next morning, hours after his canceled Delta flight was supposed to have landed. This of course explained why he had no problem getting another flight with another airline. So he took Delta to small claims court and won a $938 judgment. Check out, A Flier Strikes Back, for the rest of the details!

Berns reported that pursuing the refund took him about four hours. This is a good reminder that it can be worthwhile to take the time to push back when a store or even an airline does not provide the product or service for which you have paid!

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