Miles to Go Before I Sue

Published July 26, 2013

Another disappointed airline customer is Hongbo Han, who was distressed enough to learn he is not getting full credit for all the miles he’s actually flown that he has sued United Airlines in a class-action suit in Chicago. He claims Chicago’s hometown airline has breached contracts with him and other members of United’s “Mileage Plus” frequent-flier program.

According to Han’s federal court suit, United calculates flight distance for purposes of its frequent-flier program as a straight line from origin to destination, rather than the “actual distance”  flown, without having disclosed that to its Mileage Plus members. In February 2013, for example, Han allegedly flew 7,276 actual miles to get from Capital International Airport in Beijing to Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, DC, but he received  “only” 6,920 miles in his frequent-flier account. In January 2013, his suit says, he racked up 7,043 miles on the same journey while getting credit for only 6,920.

The firm of Han’s Washington, DC-based lawyer, Lei Mei, has reportedly filed similar suits against Delta Air Lines Inc. of Atlanta and US Airways Group LLC of Tempe, Arizona for using “point-to-point”  rather than “actual route” distances in computing awards for their “Sky Miles” and “Dividend Miles” programs, respectively.

Source: Meribah Knight, “United accused of skimping on frequent-flier miles,” Crain’s Chicago Business, March 20, 2013

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