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This Airline Just Got Sued by a Passenger for the Most Incredible Reason You Could Imagine

Inc. logo Inc. 2017-10-22 Chris Matyszczyk
a woman holding a wine glass © Getty Images

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Madam, did you see the label on the bottle?

Raise a glass to this litigant? Or not?

Airlines gird their loins every day, I fancy, wondering where the next problem will arise.

They hope, with some fervor, that it isn't the sort of problem that the real news media will consider entertaining enough to deserve a wider audience.

Talking of entertainment, that's something that passengers hope for on an airline.

So when Quebecois Daniel Macduff booked a flight with Sunwing Airlines, he rather looked forward to the promised onboard champagne toast.

Personally, I don't understand the attraction of champagne on a plane. Fizzy drinks are the last thing I want in the air.

But, as the BBC reports, Macduff's emotions were toasted when he was poured what he says was mere sparkling wine.

And only on the outward-bound flight.

His feelings bubbled up to such a degree that he's now suing Sunwing, which claims to be the largest tour operator in North America.

"It's not about the pettiness of champagne versus sparkling wine," his lawyer Sbastien Paquette told the BBC.

His client is more upset about the advertising.

Sunwing allegedly made much of the real champagne thing. And champagne is just a protective brand description given to fizzy wine that comes from a certain area of France.

It's not actually as if champagne is any better than half the sparkling wines around the world.

But Macduff feels aggrieved that the hype did not reflect the reality.

I contacted Sunwing and received this complimentary response: "The terms 'champagne vacations' and 'champagne service' were used to denote a level of service in reference to the entire hospitality package from the flight through to the destination experience and are not a reference to beverages served inflight or in-destination."

Ah. Oh.

But wouldn't it be reasonable for a customer to expect, well, champagne to be part of champagne service?

Sunwing believes Macduff's complaint to be "frivolous and without merit." Much as I would describe most champagnes.

The airline added this additional sip: "Anywhere that we've detailed our inflight services, we have accurately described these as including 'a complimentary welcome glass of sparkling wine' across relevant marketing materials and even announce them on the aircraft."

Is that the end of it, then? I fear not.

Paquette claims that 1,600 deflated passengers have joined his client's lawsuit. Moreover, the airline isn't mentioning "champagne services" anymore in its marketing materials.

Indeed, I Googled "Sunwing Champagne Service" and got "Our Award-Winning Inflight Service" instead.

Those who peddle hype believe it will entice. If it does, the job is only half done. You then have to satisfy.

And if there's one thing we know about airlines these days, it's that dissatisfied customers have cellphones with cameras and can pop their cork very loudly.

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


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