Million dollar airline lawsuit is not warranted

I'm the first person to admit that airlines treat their passengers like crap. And it's getting worse and worse. The airlines are all racing to see who can lose more money, mostly related to ever-increasing fuel costs. The passengers are merely a nuisance. Heck, they don't even seem to care if you have to sit on a disgusting toilet seat for an hour or two during your flight. (Blech.)

The one most predictable part of air travel now is that the customer is not in charge. The airlines are, and customers better make arrangements to deal with them. There is no more last-minute dash to the airport. Being assured of a seat on a flight isn't possible anymore either, as airlines frequently overbook flights and you might be the person left behind.

I'm not blaming airline passengers for being upset. But a million dollar lawsuit against Delta Air Lines because you weren't allowed on a flight and it ruined your vacation? I don't think so.
It's no surprise that the person suing is an attorney. Richard Roth and his family didn't get to Buenos Aires, Argentina on time because they were denied boarding on a connecting flight in Atlanta. They were flying at one of the busiest travel times and I'm not surprised that they weren't able to be rebooked on another Delta flight.

That stinks, but when in doubt, the airlines have the final say on who boards a flight and who doesn't. There are safety and scheduling concerns, and those will always take priority over the desires of the passengers. Yes, I've been denied boarding before too, and while I felt it was unfair, it's just a fact that these things happen during air travel nowadays.

So Roth says Delta owes him and his family money for their inconvenience, the fact that there wasn't another flight for them to get to Buenos Aires, the cost of booking new tickets on another airline, and the cost of picking up his own bags from the airport when they were located.

I believe in passengers' rights. They ought to be treated decently on an airplane. They ought to be able to fly with the tickets they purchased, but scheduling conflicts, weather issues, safety issues, and a number of other details might trump that. Sorry, but missing a flight and a party aren't worth a million dollars. There's risk in traveling these days, and customers have to accept the fact that air travel isn't a sure thing anymore.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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