Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18