Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg has just won a small victory for airline passengers tired of being treated badly.
A consultant, author and speaker, Ginsberg flies hundreds of times per year, and counted on his Platinum status for meals, upgrades, and more comfortable seats. But three years ago, a Northwest representative called to tell him the airline was dropping Ginsberg.
"I was told that I complained too much about services," Ginsberg explains.
Now, instead of a series of small complaints from Ginsberg, the airline's going to have to deal with one big one.[jump]
Ginsberg, a 49-year-old parenting and education expert from St. Louis Park, found the explanation odd. Sure, he'd complained a few times.
"For example, my luggage would take an hour and a half to come out, and I think it's a very very reasonable thing to voice a complaint," he says. "I'm not sure why that's unreasonable."
But compared to the massive number of flights he took, he says, his complaints were actually pretty infrequent. (He declined to provide exact numbers.)
Ginsberg began to suspect a more sinister reason for his frequent-flier program ouster.
"This happened at the time that Northwest and Delta were merging," he says. "The suspicion was that they had too many frequent fliers at the higher status in their roll, and they were showing too much of a liability on a balance sheet for the accumulated miles by those passengers. So they had to creatively find ways of getting rid of people."
A few months after he was kicked out, Ginsberg sued. A lower court in southern California refused to hear the case, but just days ago, the appellate court overturned that ruling.
Now, Ginsberg's beef is likely to become the first step in a class-action case of high-mileage flyers dropped when Northwest and Delta merged.
"There could be a lot of worse things in this world," Ginsberg says. "Again, it's more in principle. I was wronged. And I shouldn't be."