British Airways booked a husband and wife from Washington DC via London to Granada, West Indies instead of Granada, Spain. They claimed their confirmation didn’t give airport codes or countries, and just said ‘Grenada’. They discovered the mixup when they boarded the flight from London back to the Caribbean.
They sued, representing themselves. British Airways successfully removed the case to federal court, where they sought a dismissal. The court ruled against British Airways, instead remanding the case back to Superior Court.
BA had ruled that the Montreal Convention applied and claims under that Convention had to be heard in federal court. Instead, the DC Circuit Court ruled (.pdf) that the claim didn’t arise from actual transportation covered by the Convention but instead from the making of the booking itself which would not be covered.. and thus the case should be returned to Superior Court and was also not pre-empted by the Convention.
We don’t know, from the Court’s order, what the substantive facts of the case actually are — only what they were alleged in the pro se complaint.
I’d be interested to hear a recording of the phone booking, although I can certainly imagine a British Airways agent making a mistake.
I have a harder time imagining passengers actually boarding a flight that crossed the Atlantic again. And it’s even stranger considering that the itinerary actually flown would have involved a change in airports in London (from Heathrow, arriving from Washington Dulles, to Gatwick where the oneward one-stop flight to the West Indies would have departed from).
At least they were flying in First for all those extra hours, even if they did miss their vacation in Spain.
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