Can an airline refuse you as a passenger on the grounds that you have taken them to court for damages?

UPDATED: Nov 14, 2011

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Can an airline refuse you as a passenger on the grounds that you have taken them to court for damages?

I have a serious damages and defamation case against an airline due to having been refused boarding in Spain on the grounds that I “did not respect” a member of their ground staff who was highly rude and deliberately antagonistic from the outset. She also referred to me in an aside to her companion with a word I will not use here. This airline (which has a bad reputation) has the only direct route I can take to see my family. Can they refuse me transit if I take them to court, whether I win or not? Also, if I sent my story to the newspaper can they refuse to take me as a passenger?

Asked on November 14, 2011 under General Practice, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is very likely that they can do this. While airlines, as common carriers, have certain obligations to not discriminate against passegers and to take any paying passenger, they also have a broad discretion to refuse service to people whom are considered disruptive or a threat to their operations or safety--especially in the post-911, hyper-security-conscious world. If they deem you disruptive or a trouble maker or a risk, they probably can refuse you service.

Before you submit anything to a newspaper or otherwise publish it in any forum (including social media), be careful: if you make any  factual assertions which are negative and which are not provably true, you could potentially be sued for defamation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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