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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32359
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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We had full revenue, first class airline tickets recent

Customer Question

We had full revenue, first class airline tickets for a recent trip. On the return, the original flight was cancelled and we were rebooked on a later flight, still in first class. That flight was also cancelled, and another. At the fourth gate, the gate agents were giving complimentary upgrades to STATUS passengers and would not honor our first class tickets. Ended up in coach - not even together - and a total of 7 status passengers were in the first class seats.
We had paid for goods and services that were denied us by the vendor, while those same goods and services were being given away. What is our legal recourse?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

I need you to be more specific in your question(s) if you could. When we answer general ones like "what is my recourse" "what are my rights" or "what are my options" we have to give general answers and, invariably, the customer responds with "I already knew that". This type of forum works better if you ask specific questions so we know exactly what you are looking for.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Is it illegal for a commercial airline to give first class cabin seats away to status passengers (by that I mean higher level frequent flyer program passengers) and deny those seats to a passenger who has paid full-revenue cash for the first class cabin?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

It's not illegal, as in a crime, but it can be a breach of the contract with the passengers who purchased the first class tickets.

YOu have a breach of contract lawsuit along with, possibly, a lawsuit for deceptive trade practices but your issue will be the fine print that is on your ticket or other documentation from the airline. That language changes pretty often but usually it states where a lawsuit must be brought, sometimes it requires arbitration, it usually limits their damages, and often it has a list of hoops you have to jump through. The language can change from day to day or even more frequently than that so to find out what issues you are going to have you need to take the documentation for all 4 of your tickets to a local lawyer and let them review it to see what your next step will be. Normally it is going to be filing a request for arbitration, which is an informal trial through a private "judge" known as an arbitrator.