Nonrefundable Airline Tickets
Many cruise ship passengers purchase air travel tickets to reach the cruise ship departure port and return home. The airline tickets may be nonrefundable, which is the basis for the following court case. L.G. Howell and others filed a lawsuit against Alaska Airlines after canceling their flights for one reason or another and Alaska airlines refused to refund the fare.
The suit was filed in a Superior Court in the State of Washington, which is where Alaska Airlines home office is located. Howell "alleged that the ticket contracts were void on the ground of frustration of purpose, impossibility of performance, illusory promises, substantive and procedural unconscionability, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment. " Howell added to this by claiming" that by refusing to refund, Alaska Airlines violated the Consumer Protection Act." "Phew", that certainly is a lot of charges.
The trial court, upon request by Alaska Airlines, dismissed the suit, On appeal the Court of Appeals of Washington confirmed the decision of the trial court ruling the claims of Howell were preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act and the word nonrefundable means no refund. Incidentally, Alaska Airlines had attempted to remove the case to a federal court which refused to consider it.
During 2001 I had a problem with Alaska Airlines and nonrefundable tickets. I purchased two round trip tickets to fly to Vancouver, B.C. to embark for an Alaskan cruise. About two weeks after paying for the tickets and receiving them, my travel agent informed me the flight to Vancouver had been discontinued and replaced by a flight that would have gotten us into Vancouver three hours after the ship had left port. Since this was unacceptable, the travel agent got Alaska Airlines to cancel the tickets with a promise to refund the fares.
Six months went by with no return so I took matters in my own hands. After seven months my credit card company was credited with 50% of the fare, which was not acceptable. I pointed out to Alaska Airlines that it had breached the contract I had with them. My letter resulted in another credit for the other 50% of the fare. Unfortunately my travel agent spent a great amount of time on this for a pittance commission.
The case is cited as Howell v. Alaska Airlines, 994 Pacific Reporter 2nd 901. This article is not intended to give legal advice but for educational and instructive purposes. For legal advice use the services of an experienced attorney,