This week an appellate court judge upheld an order to dismiss a civil lawsuit brought against United Airlines for expiring a customer’s Mileage Plus miles for non-activity. Noticing that the guy who sued United was himself a lawyer, I read on and had a whole scenario playing out in my head on how it likely started:
Lawyer: Logs in to his account and sees a zero balance. Calls United furious.
United agent: Explains the policy and offers three reasonable options to restore his balance.
Lawyer: Refuses, and lets the phone agent know, “I’m a lawyer and I’m going to sue!” Hangs up.
United agent: Takes next call without blinking an eye (and probably heard the “I’m going to sue!” threat earlier in the day).
The short version of the story is that this guy’s 64,218 miles expired in 2009, he refused three options to get them back, sued United and lost, and now appealed the decision. I’ll give him a teeny tiny bit of credit for not backing down, but if you read the facts, it’s pretty obvious he had no case to begin with. The court very succinctly and professionally shot down each of his arguments, upheld the previous ruling, and closed this summary by stating “Plaintiff’s remaining contentions lack sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. Affirmed.” I’m no lawyer, but that sounds like legal bitch-slap if I’ve ever heard one.
Separately, and also last year, another United flyer had 1.1 million miles expire. Instead of overreacting, they sought the advice of Flyertalkers and ended up successfully getting their miles restored with very little drama.