Don't take "Confederate currency" when businesses apologize for doing wrong


When litigator Mitchell Berns was told by Delta that his flight was canceled because of weather, he didn't get mad. He did research.

He checked with the National Weather Service and found out the airline's excuse was a sham: Snow wasn't due for many hours.

See, airlines are allowed by law to cancel flights because of bad weather, but Berns knew at a glance that Delta was just using it as an excuse. He booked with another airline, took off, and then filed suit against Delta in small-claims court to force it to pay back the cost of his replacement flight.

Delta tried to settle the matter by offering him frequent flier miles. But as most travelers are already too aware, frequent flier miles are woefully devalued, over-issued, and flooding the travel market.

As Berns told Fortune -- and this is my favorite part of the story -- frequent flier miles are "Confederate currency." Just as Dixie once did, instead of dealing with systemic problems, the airlines are just printing more useless cash to pawn off challengers.