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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case of SLP Rabbi Booted from Frequent Flier Program

Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg was barred from Northwest Airline's World Perks program and his frequent flier miles confiscated for complaining too much and trying to get bumped from flights.

Credit: Kosher Mountain Retreat
Credit: Kosher Mountain Retreat
A St. Louis Park rabbi kicked out of Northwest Airline’s WorldPerks program had his case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg, 52, was barred from the airline's frequent flier program in 2008 because Northwest claimed he complained too much about late luggage and tarmac delays and booked too many flights on overbooked flights, hoping to get bumped.

Ginsberg, who flies about 75 times a year to give educational lecturestold the Star Tribune the airline confiscated "hundreds of thousands" of mile-credits when they booted him from the program.

“I just wanted my miles back,” he said. “What would you do if someone stuck their hand in your pocket and took your wallet? You’d ask for it back.”

Ginsberg earned the sympathy—or, maybe, sarcasm—of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Wow, somebody’s really been given a raw deal,” Scalia said during oral arguments.

But Ginsberg's case is based on Minnesota standards of good faith in contracts, and most justices (including Scalia) signaled that siding with Ginsberg could go against the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act, which prevents individual states from making rules on air travel.

“I don’t want to have to sort these out state by state,” Scalia said.


Mike B. December 07, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Ginsberg just seems like a professional troublemaker and complainer, and seemed to "game" the system on overbooking. Delta/Northwest rightly got fed up with his shenanigans. I pity the poor folks who listen to Ginsberg's so called "educational lectures." Lectures about what? How to create hassles for companies?

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