November 19, 2010
Judge denies AirTran's motion to dismiss
On Thursday, November 18, 2010, a federal court judge denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by local South Carolina teacher Sandie Mallard against AirTran Airways, Inc., after the airline cancelled her tickets to Mexico without notice.
The lawsuit, Sandie Mallard v. Airtran Airways, Inc., was filed in March 2010 and alleges the discount carrier's negligence, breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation cost her thousands of dollars when it failed to operate a flight for which she had already paid.
Weeks before her trip, Mallard learned of the cancellation and had to purchase alternate tickets priced at nearly $6,500 to replace the original tickets.
"The people that are providing the service think they can one-up anybody else, when in fact it's you and I, the customer, the client, allowing them to be in business," Mallard said. "This whole mindset of we can do whatever we want because we're bigger than you -- I'm just tired of that mindset. I work hard for my money."
Aviation lawyer James Brauchle, who represents Mallard, said, "Even though AirTran knew they were suspending service to Charleston, they continued to sell tickets to passengers. Clients were sent confirmation of their reservations even after AirTran decided to suspend service to Charleston."
Mary Schiavo, Motley Rice aviation lawyer and the former U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General, added, "Airlines have, for years, been trying to dodge responsibility by saying federal regulations prohibit passengers from suing to enforce their rights. The U.S. Department of Transportation clearly advises passengers they may sue the airlines, including in class actions, for failing to transport as ticketed, negligence and egregious behavior and other travel irregularities. We are honored to be able to help the mistreated AirTran passengers."
Anyone who paid for reservations to or from Charleston International Airport between December 4, 2008, and March 22, 2010 and had their tickets cancelled by the airline when it discontinued local service are eligible to become part of this lawsuit.