Should we tell people like Howard Uman to get lost?

Yesterday’s update from the trenches of consumer advocacy sparked an interesting debate. Do we leave consumers who don’t have a case to fend for themselves?

I ask because some of you apparently believe we should. If consumers are unaware of a company policy or aren’t following the rules, we should tell them to get lost. Nicely, but firmly.

Beat it. We only help deserving consumers.

Is this enough compensation? A $150 voucher for denied boarding in Bremen

Ted Oehlerking’s flight from Bremen, German, to Seattle, via Amsterdam was canceled all the way down the line. Although his airline, KLM, put him on the next available flight and upgraded him, it didn’t offer him any financial compensation for the delays.

Thing is, under EU 261, the European airline consumer protection law, his airline owed him €250 for the denied boarding actions and delays — and perhaps more. Here’s the full text of the rule.

It’s worth taking a closer look at how a regulation like this can affect air travel, since the Transportation Department is on the verge of creating a similar set of rules for the domestic airline industry. And it’s worth asking if there’s ever a point when enough compensation is enough.

A subsequent email to Delta Air Lines, KLM’s codeshare partner, generated a form-letter apology, agreeing that Oehlerking and his wife were, indeed, subject to EU compensation rules. It offered him either a €250 in cash or a €350 voucher for the canceled flights. Is that, plus the courtesy upgrade, enough?