Would you sue an airline? How about putting a lien on a 777?

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All airlines are ancillary fee “drunk” nowadays. All you have to do is look at Spirit Air who just about charges you to breath air on their planes. Then you have Ryanair over in Europe. They have a bit of a reputation of being, well, slightly greedy when it comes to fees and less than helpful about refunds and the like. Why do I bring this up?

In this country, you sue 1st and ask questions later. I exaggerate, but make my point. Swedes, on the other hand, are a very anti-litigious society. So it takes a lot for a Swede to sue for anything. But, when Ryanair left one couple stranded with no way home they made their own way and wanted their expenses covered by Ryanair. Naturally, Ryanair refused and then they took the steps to sue. It looked like they were just about to win when Ryanair caved in and paid out the money request (just many years after the fact). This piece in the Local, an English/Swedish online paper, indicates Ryanair was afraid the judgment could set a precedent. I believe it!

Then there are other events that can push a flyer too far. My fellow blogger “milesfromblighty” went to small claims court in Britain over a bag issue and joked about holding a 777 until Continental paid up. That did not happen but could it?

What the airlines have in their favor is most of the time it is just not worth it. But I would not be surprised one day soon, when just one person has just had it with ancillary fees being just one to many, and then something goes very wrong on a trip, for that individual to try to actually sue and hold an aircraft as collateral until they get paid back. Would a court do this? Doubtful unless that judge, that day, is just as sick of fees as the plaintiff is.

I do think we are at a tipping point. From the frustration with the TSA (not really the airlines’ fault) to the never ending fees, travelers will only stand for so much more. I am in no way suggesting a course of action, but wow would it be funny to see the press coverage of someone trying to repo a 747! What a reality show that would make – Rene

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  1. There was a small (now bankrupt) African airline that had it’s plane impounded when they landed in EU because of late payments.

  2. There actually was a show called “Airplane Repo” that aired last year. I think there was only 3 or 4 episodes, but the guy did repo a couple airliners in Europe – France and Turkey if I recall correctly.

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