My family has been planning a trip to LA. I've got over 225,000 frequent flyer miles with Northwest Airlines, so I wanted to book 5 first-class tickets for our trip.
After numerous attempts to arrange such travel, I've given up on Northwest. Using my awesome power as a lawyer (as if), I'm filing a small claims action for $5000 against them tomorrow in Albany City Court. $5000 is the limit in City Court small claims. The limit is $3000 in town and village courts.
According to the airline's regular website, there are first-class seats available on many of its flights to LA, all with reasonable hours and flight plans. Such tickets are worth about $1200 each.
We'll see how they respond to this. Maybe I should make this a side-practice, representing frustrated frequent flyer customers in small claims actions against the airlines. :-)
One legal issue that concerned me was preemption. Fortunately, it turns out that the Supreme Court has held that breach of contract claims against airlines are not preempted.