Friday, December 15, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Airline grounds frequent flier

If you are a frequent flier, the moral of this legal spat is pretty simple: If you want to continue to enjoy the benefits of accumulating bonus miles, seating upgrades and other perks, don't complain too much about lost baggage, delayed flights and overbooked planes.

That is how Minnesota Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg, a once-valued Northwest Airlines Platinum Elite member, found himself given the bum's rush from the club and into the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month. Ginsberg accused Northwest of a bad faith breach of contract. Northwest argues it simply rid itself of a serial, opportunistic whiner. Now the nine justices must navigate their way through the opaque vagaries of frequent flier programs. This may be a bumpy legal ride.

As a lecturer, Ginsberg found himself traveling at least 75 times a year, almost exclusively on Northwest. But after the rabbi contacted the airline 24 times over a seven-month period to register various complaints, Northwest dropped him from the frequent flier program, his accumulated 78,500 bonus miles were voided, and he was prevented from ever rejoining the program.

As obvious as Ginsberg's claim seems that he is being punished for speaking up, he may be on shaky legal ground. The 1978 federal Airline Deregulation Act greatly limits the types of lawsuits passengers may bring. At issue for the high court is whether Northwest's frequent flier offering is simply a discounted price program or a contract to be honored between the carrier and a customer.

No matter how the Supreme Court rules, finicky passengers need to be aware that their status as frequent fliers can be put at risk by an annoyed airline official's whim and a glare.

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Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

For three years, the only news about finances at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry was bad news: "Struggling MOSI asks Hillsborough County for $400,000 loan," one headline read, "Audit sees MOSI finances slipping," read another, and "MOSI donor ...
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Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

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Published: 12/14/17

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

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Published: 12/13/17
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Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

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Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

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Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Florida’s juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was defensive and obtuse. So it’s welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over state’s rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week won’t make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

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Published: 12/07/17